If you’ve been around simplify 101 for a while then you know I believe there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all organizing solution. This is why it can be incredibly frustrating if you try to follow someone else’s organizing idea to the T. Quite simply, what works for one person may not be the best answer for you.

One of the organizing “rules” I’ve used from time to time and have recommended to clients is the “one-in-one-out” rule. This is a helpful guideline for clothes closets, especially if you love to shop for new clothes, shoes, and accessories. The way this rule works is that for every article of clothing you buy, you come home after shopping and remove one item from your closet. It’s a terrific system if you have the right volume of clothing for you (enough clothes without being overwhelming), and also if you have the discipline to use the rule. (That second one can be tricky.)

New rule:  One out, one in. | simplify101.com

If you’re looking for a simple way to maintain order in your closet, and the one-in-one-out rule doesn’t work for you, here’s a new rule to consider:  one-out-one-in. With this rule, instead of removing items from your closet after you shop, you give yourself “shopping credits” by letting go of items before you hit the mall or log onto your favorite clothing website. Then for each pair of shoes you donate, you give yourself permission to buy a new pair. Some for sweaters, shirts, skirts, purses, dresses and so on.

This new rule has a couple of sneaky little advantages. First, by going through your closet and removing items before you shop, you become reacquainted with what you have, what you love, and what you need. This makes your shopping trip more intentional, and could help you avoid coming home with yet another pair of black pants when you already have plenty. Second, if you find yourself struggling to let go of anything because you truly love the clothing hanging in your closet, the urge to shop may come and go without a penny spent or any unneeded items being brought into your home. It’s a win-win all the way around.

What do you think of this new rule? Have you tried or created your own new organizing rules before? Which ones worked for you and which ones weren’t the right fit? Let me know in the comments section below.

Happy organizing!


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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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