One in, one out - Yankee 2.0
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Yankee 2.0

One in, one out

I've read about the "one in, one out" policy in the past. This is where a person (or a household) decides to curb stuff by deciding to get rid of one thing for each new thing that enters the household. This is typically done with something that the person has "issues" with and the person replaces like with like --  clothing, shoes, books, albums, cat figurines -- anything that's threatening to become excessive.

Whenever I used to think of this concept, it would scare me. That's right -- it would scare me. The idea of having to get rid of material goods in order to get more material goods was terrifying. "What if I'll need something in the future?" I thought. "But I love those new shoes just as much as the old ones -- I want both pairs!" I told myself.

But just the other day, I needed new sneakers -- really needed them. My eight year old sneaks had a hole in the sole. So I went to a thrift store and got some nearly new ones for ten bucks. I took a little stroll down the skirt aisle and saw a lovely white linen skirt. I'm a big fan of white linen skirts. I thought, "this white linen skirt is nicer than my current white linen skirt. I'll try this one on, and if it fits, then I'll have two white linen skirts, great!" But all of a sudden it struck me -- why would I need two? For absolutely no reason. And then I got it -- I understood the "one in, one out" policy. I have every material thing I could possibly ever need (except a Scooba). I am having a tag sale next week to get rid of excess stuff and I have vowed not to get to the point of having excess stuff again -- so why would I buy another white linen skirt when I already have one? Well, this white linen skirt was newer, nicer and fit great. It cost $4.99. My old white linen skirt probably cost about that when I got it five or six years ago and it shrunk a little such that the lining was showing. So I decided to get the new skirt and promptly put the old skirt and old holey sneaks in a bag to bring to the thrift store (will anyone want holey sneakers?).

And the "one in, one out" policy has begun and is unidirectional. I can certainly put one out without bringing one in, but when it comes to clothing, shoes, and housewares (not books, which I don't consider consumer goods), when I buy a new one I will put an old one out. And if the thought of having to get rid of something in order to get the new one bothers me, I'll put the new one down and walk away.



Cheryl said:

Please reconsider donating 8 year old shoes with holes in the soles to a thrift store. Someone has the unsavory job of sorting through clothing to determine what can be shelved and what needs to be hauled to the dumpster.

Sadly the majority of items they receive are unfit to be shelved because they are too soiled, worn or torn.

I read a news story a while back about some children who were afraid to visit America. They'd received soiled clothing that had been donated, and had reached the conclusion this was how Americans dressed/smelled.

May 30, 2011 7:20 PM

Cheryl said:

My husband John posted the previous comment. He put John B. for the name but said it came up as mine. We are a one computer couple. Sorry for the confusion.

May 30, 2011 7:44 PM

Anne Cross said:

Hi Cheryl and John -- Thank you for your comments. I just sort of assumed that the thrift stores had some recycling way of dealing with things they couldn't sell, but your comment prompted me to look further.

I found that Nike will take any brand of old sneakers/trainers/running shoes and recycle them -- you just drop them off at any Nike store (and their site has a find by zip code feature): http://www.nikereuseashoe.com/

And I also found a charity that takes gently used or new shoes (even half a pair!) to distribute to people in need: http://www.soles4souls.org/

I hate the idea of adding more stuff to the landfill if the stuff can be used in some way!

May 31, 2011 8:47 AM

Cheryl said:

I leave him alone and he eats in front of the computer and posts, without realizing I'm logged in. doh!

I too would think something would be better than nothing. Even if they get something not sale-able they could offer it in a freebie bin or something. It would be nice if some of what we discard could reach homeless people.

May 31, 2011 4:18 PM

Anne Cross said:

We actually do have a free clothing place for homeless people in our community -- people drop off wearable clothes and anyone can choose whatever they like (and it's overflowing, they sometimes stop taking donations because they get so much stuff).

The good thing about the Nike sneaker thing is that they'll take holey old shoes, no matter what the condition, and use the pieces to make new sneakers. So I appreciate the feedback -- I'm bagging up my old holey guys to bring to the Nike store next week (when I'll be driving right past it, coincidentally!)

May 31, 2011 8:23 PM

timzagain said:

One in, one out is scary at first. I was hanging onto things "just in case" and found myself surrounded in clutter.   One in, one out ensures that the clutter doesn't increase, but it doesn't do anything to reduce it.  So I stepped it up - one in, two out. The clutter is a lot less as a result.

June 5, 2011 9:20 PM

Anne Cross said:

Hi Tim -- one in, one out is working for me so far (it's only been about a week), and I got rid of LOTS of stuff at the tag sale, and gave whatever didn't sell away. I think I'm at a good balance point of stuff -- one in, two out might make me wind up with too little!

I've been watching episodes of Hoarders, and I hear the people with that disorder going through the same thought processes I have about the potential acquisition and the potential de-acquisition of stuff. I am not in any way in a hoarding household, but I don't want to one day wake up and find myself overwhelmed.

June 6, 2011 6:31 AM

timzagain said:

I am not planning to do one in, two out indefinitely!  When we were forced to move last year (repeated flooding made our home unihabitable), I became acutely aware that we needed to be a lot more selective about what we were going to keep.  Evacuating was made that much more difficult because we had too much stuff.  Now, in our new home, we just don't have the space for a lot of the "just in case" stuff we were keeping!  

Once we've got it down to a level we're comfortable with, I'll revert to one in, one out!

I've watched Hoarders for the first time recently!  Now THAT is scary!  We are not nearly that bad yet and I hope we never get there.  

June 6, 2011 9:52 PM

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