One In…One Out…

Are you familiar with the “one in, one out” decluttering method? I am a big fan of decluttering – you might even say I’m a bit obsessive. It’s a simple way of keeping the amount of things you own under control. Every time you bring something new into your house, swap it for something you no longer use or want. The trick is you must discard the no longer useful thing immediately or it won’t happen at all. It can be the thing you are replacing with the new item, or it can be totally unrelated. The point is to avoid the build up of “stuff” in your home and in your life. I guarantee that we all own too many things and would be happier with fewer tangible items to store, move around, and ultimately forget about.

I could go on and on about decluttering your home, but what I really want to tell you is that you can apply the same exact approach to the non-tangible commitments in your daily life. You know, all those requests you say “yes” to even if you only wanted to say “yes” to half of them! While we are always practicing the art of saying “no” respectfully, we will still feel obligated to say “yes” to things we’re not totally thrilled about. This is where you start practicing the art of making tradeoffs. When you make a new commitment to someone, or even to yourself, ask yourself “what other obligations do I currently have that can be postponed, delegated or removed entirely?”

And just like that…one (commitment) in….one (commitment) out. Here are 4 ways you can (and should!) swap “out” an existing commitment:

  • Reassess | Maybe a previously made commitment doesn’t need to be done anymore!
  • Postpone | If your existing commitment has time constraints, can you negotiate with yourself (or those involved) to allow more time to meet said commitment?
  • Delegate | Is there someone else who can step in for you or who you can share the responsibility with?
  • Pause | If you’re struggling to find a tradeoff, ask yourself (again) whether taking on this new commitment is really worth it. Is it something that energizes you and is worth sacrificing something else that you previously made a priority?

Better yet, I challenge you to remove TWO things for every one you add. This also goes for all the unwanted stuff lying around your house. Make it a habit and soon enough you’ll have more time (and less stuff) in your life.


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