Monday, July 27, 2009

One In, One Out - A Month Later

Actually, it's been closer to a month and a half since I decided that for every durable item that comes into my house, another durable should leave. This was partially a way for me to become more conscious of my consumption, and partially a way to keep my house decluttered. When I wrote about my plan here, I admit I was feeling pretty confident, arrogant even, in how it was going to work out. After all, I admire simplicity in the house and like to think that I'm not that much of a consumer....I figured I'd have no problem keeping myself from accumulating. I actually thought that I'd probably only acquire a handful of items (if that), that I'd purge stuff I didn't use anymore, and that I might even end up with a clean and elegant house.

Sigh. I know, those of you who know me personally and have visited my house are probably rolling on the floor with laughter right now. I might admire simplicity and aspire towards it, but here's a picture of my dining room right now. In my defense, we've just returned from a trip and haven't unpacked much yet.

So, you already know the clean and elegant house hasn't happened, but how did I do with accumulation and purging? Well, it was closer than I thought it would be! Somehow there was a great sale on some clothing that I actually needed, I went to a store where I could replace a kitchen scale that had broken the month before, my grandmother gave up a deli-slicer, etc... Oh, and we won the centerpiece at a wedding we attended! All in all, from June 16 to July 24 I picked up 18 more items that will be in permanent residence. However, I also got rid of 21 items. The outgoing items were a combination of old computer equipment (sent to the hazardous waste depot), actual garbage (broken pair of sunglasses), and a bunch of other items that I either sold on craigslist, gave away on freecycle, or donated to a charitable organization.

There were days where I ended up buying items where I'd rack my brain over what could go away. Some of the choices were a lot harder than they should the pair of jeans that I've had for almost three years and have never worn because the don't fit me and are unlikely to ever fit me. That was actually a tough choice to give away. Or the tiny pink satin purse that came with some nail polish and I've had for years...way too small to be useful but as soon as I decided to pitch it, I started thinking "well, maybe if..." I've got to say that I don't miss any of the departed items though, and in a few cases I'm pretty glad they're gone and being put to good use! AND when I was going through my closet I found clothing I'd forgotten about that did fit me, and looked good.

I have to admit that knowing I was keeping track of items in and out did actually make me think more about items I was considering buying. Having to think about what would leave the house acted as a check on impulse buying and made sure that I: a) really wanted whatever it was; and b) had a use for the item.

Will I continue with a One In, One Out policy? I think I will, but I won't track the items quite so closely, instead I'll just have an In column and an Out column with checkmarks. If the In starts getting ahead of the Out, I'll know that that's not the direction I want to go! Though if I really want to end up with a neat and uncluttered house, my sister suggested I might want to adopt a One In, Two Out policy for awhile! I'll probably also need to work on organization. :)

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