What is the "One In, One Out" Rule in Minimalism?

You may have heard of the One In, One Out Policy in controlling people's movement, but have you heard of the One In, One Out Rule in minimalism to help you manage your possessions?

When I first moved to Metro Manila, all my possessions could fit in my backpack and a duffle bag. However, when I returned to the province, I had to rent a moving van because my possessions greatly increased in my four years there.

Have you also experienced a similar event when your possessions take hold of your home and start losing control of your clutter because you never throw anything away? If so, the One In, One Out Rule can help you.

What is the One In, One Out Rule?

The One In, One Out Rule in minimalism is a simplification process that you can apply to control your possessions.

The idea is that every time you intend to buy something new, you should also discard something old or undesirable. Doing this will help you maintain the number of your possessions.

For instance, whenever you decide to buy new shoes or shirts, you should only do so after discarding one of your older shoes or clothes.

This will help you be more mindful of how many pieces of possessions you hold at any moment so you can avoid buying additional storage spaces to satisfy your new purchases.

The One In, One Out Rule is not Decluttering

It's important to note that the One In, One Out Rule is not a decluttering strategy because, as you can see, you're only replacing your current items with new ones.

So, this rule will only be a supplement once you have completed decluttering and removing the items you no longer need and want.

Why You Should Implement the One In, One Out Rule

Here are some advantages of implementing the one-in, one-out rule.

1. It will keep your item count fixed.

You need to know your sweet spot in terms of the number of items you want to possess at a time to maximize them. You can be more mindful of your possessions using the one-in, one-out rule.

For instance, I always have four types of shoes: running shoes, walking shoes, leather shoes, and "everyday" shoes. I will only buy a new one if one of them requires replacing.

2. You won't need additional storage spaces.

By following the one-in, one-out rule, you can maintain a fixed number of items in your inventory. 

You will also not require additional storage spaces to house your excessive items, most of which will never be worn or used again.

For instance, all my clothes still fit in my Orocan Durabox that I bought in 2015. I consciously maintain how many pieces of clothing I have to avoid overflowing my storage box. Thanks to this rule, I also developed the first in, first out strategy on which clothes to wear.

3. You will have an easier decision time.

There is something called the Paradox of Choice, which says that as your choices grow, your decision becomes harder. So, by implementing the one-in, one-out rule, you can limit your decision time because you have fewer options.

4. You will know when you need to buy something new.

Our items have a life cycle. They will start as new that we'll want to use every day. Then, they will be less frequently used as they get worn out. Finally, they will soon be passed on, donated, or discarded.

So, when you use the one-in, one-out policy, you can determine when is the right time to buy something new because some of your possessions will fall on the priority list or get discarded, opening a new slot to take in something new.

Final Thought:

The One In, One Out Rule is not an absolute command that will work for everyone. It will also not work for everything because there are items that are best stacked and bought in bulk. However, it is a good starting point for managing your possessions.

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