Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Rule #2 When something new comes in, something old goes out.

It's been established that we 
have a lot of stuff in our lives.
We are, after all, living in the age of affluence.
The amount of things that come into our lives on a daily basis is almost staggering.

If you're wondering what can possibly 
be done about it,
try this exercise.

Picture in your mind 
a large table like this, 

whose only job, for two weeks, is to hold
all of the things that are brought into 
your home during that time.
Everything that comes in from
a trip to the grocery store, 
a trip to Costco, 
a trip to the mall, 
a stop at a yard sale or thrift shop, 
a quick run to Wal-Mart or Target, 
 or an emergency trip to Walgreens.
Don't forget the things that show up at your doorstep from Amazon 
or Lands End 
or Overstock.com?
And what if there is a birthday at your house 
or a holiday associated with gifts coming in 
during those 2 weeks? 
Picture it all in your mind....
2 weeks worth of stuff piled 
on the big table.
Is it even big enough to hold it all?

Here is a ONE DAY shot from my house
This is from a trip to Costco,
a stop at the mall (new shirt/necklace :))
a stop at Goodwill for jeans for my kids,
a new cookbook from Amazon,
a new throw blanket from Marshall's,
and a few household supplies from Target.

One 4 hour period brought all of this IN.
For a total of 27 items.

And even though 3/4 of what I brought in 
(about 20 things)
is "use up-able," 
meaning it's going to be consumed 
in some way and not staying permanently, 
1/4 of it (on the left side of the table) 
or about 7 things
are staying for good.

now back to your exercise.
Are your shopping trips and the influx of your stuff much different than mine?
Probably not.

If the picture above is ONE DAY's 
worth of incoming stuff,
go back to your imaginary table and picture how much is coming into your home in a 2 week period and mentally pile it on your table.
Think for a minute about a typical week 
at your house and where you go 
and what you buy. 
Picture what other things come in from other sources too like what your family members bring in or what things people just drop in your lap (or on your doorstep :) 
Put it all on the table in your mind.

consider how much is going OUT 
from your home
in a 2 week period. 
Think about how much you get rid of,
if anything?
And that's a good question....
does anything leave your home 
on a regular basis? 
Or does it all just come IN?

Just like in my home,
I am guessing in your home
probably 3/4ths of what is coming in 
is consumable 
and not staying permanently. 

But 1/4  is. 

And therein lies the problem.

It's simple math actually...

more items come in on a daily/weekly basis
then ever leave

so our spaces and homes fill up.

And pretty soon a 2100 square foot home 
isn't big enough. 

And we find ourselves saying 
"How is it that when we moved into this house, 
we had plenty of space and even some to spare? And now it's full to overflowing, we have to rent extra space (aka a storage unit) and we can't even fit any of our cars in our garage?"

It's simply because you let too much in
and didn't make enough leave.

You didn't follow
Rule #2

As in,
when you get a new 

and yet you kept the old one too.

Why get a new one if you already have one?
Maybe you got it as a gift?

Maybe you found it on a super clearance sale
and couldn't pass it up?

Maybe your mom/sister/friend
passed it down to you?

The point is you already have one and are
getting another one??
So now you have TWO.
(remember the math?)

To reiterate my point,
let me share with you the story of 

I was once teaching a Dejunking and Organizing class for our local community school and I shared the Stuff Management Rule #2 with them too. I told them that when something new comes in, something old goes out and on this particular day I used the example of a bathrobe. I shared a made up scenario that Mothers Day came and a nice big beautiful bathrobe was wrapped sweetly in a box and presented to you by your husband and children. It was sweet of them to think of you, buy a gift (in your size even!) and wrap it up. The problem is: you already have a bathrobe that you like just fine. What are you doing to do now?

When I suggested that one of them needs to go...
(when something new comes in, something old goes out)

one of the women in class piped up "But what if one of your bathrobes is dirty and in the laundry! Then what would you wear?"

She was serious.
My answer was this:

What did you do when all you had was your one and only bathrobe before Mothers Day and it was in the wash? Or what did you do when you went on a vacation to an exotic (or not so exotic) place and didn't want to bring your bulky bathrobe in your suitcase? 

You certainly didn't curl up and die, did you?
Maybe you wrapped a towel around your body instead? 
Maybe you ran naked to the underwear drawer?
Maybe you brought your clothes to the shower room and got dressed right away?

I don't know...but I know you survived.
And you will this time too...and all future times when you don't have the extra bathrobe because it's in the wash....
(or anything else that you got rid of so you could follow Rule #2.)

What if you get a new __________ or ____________ and you say"But Kim, I really like my old ___________  or _____________ better than the new ones I just received," (like in the Mothers Day bathrobe story)
I will refer you to my post about "Gifts" 


and tell you....your Mothers Day gift did it's job--you felt loved and appreciated, right? so quietly ask your husband or kids for the receipt (or take it back for in store credit) and pick out something else!

Whatever you do, remember
 Rule #2 
When something new comes in, 
something old goes out.  

To help you see what I am talking about, besides bathrobes...
here are a few examples from my own life:
I received a really wonderful cookbook from my friend, Lori, for Christmas this year so I got rid of 2 smaller cookbooks when this new one came in so that there would be plenty of room in my recipe books cupboard.

See how my recipe books cupboard is full? That means that when a new recipe book comes in, one of them has to go? OR the new one has to go back to the store!

Here's another example:
My husband recently said to me
"My footie socks from Costco are all stretched out. Next time you go, can you please buy me some new ones?"
So I did.
And when the new socks came in, the old ones went OUT.

Here's an even more recent example:
I bought the juice pitcher on the left a while ago and it really STINKS--as in it makes us mad almost every time we use it. The pour spout hole in the lid isn't big enough so water comes out all over the place. And the lid comes off way too easy.
So, for Mother's Day, my two youngest kids went to the store and found me the gorgeous, heavy glass pitcher on the right. 
Isn't it great?
And you can bet, I'm not keeping the old one! 
Good riddance!!

Or someone gave my daughter, Carly, a hand-me-down jacket (the Abercrombie one on the left). It was perfect timing as the jacket on the left is getting just a little too small.
So, in with the NEW and OUT WITH THE OLD! 

And last but certainly not least

My well-worn black pumps on the left have been a favorite but, as you can see, it was time to replace them. (I'm not even showing you the worn out heels.) I've had a lot of great years and outfits with those pumps so when a new pair of shoes like this comes in, it's important to not let any sentimental attachment talk you into keeping the old. Let it go! Marie Kondo would tell you to say "thank you for your service wonderful black pumps" and then let them go. I don't take it quite as far as talking to my stuff but I do love the part about letting it go.  


it's such a good idea to remember

That way, you keep your home from filling up!
It's simple mathematics.

Next Post:  Rule #3   Too much of a good thing is still a bad thing

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