One In, One Out

One In, One Out

SH will be the first person to tell you about my packrat tendencies in a generally less than affectionate way.  The terms ‘Steptoe and Son’ and ‘hoarder’ have been bandied about and if they weren’t spot on, I’m sure I’d be livid!  But in my defense I come from a long line of hoarders, make do and menders and it is in my blood.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.  I LOVE Minimalism as a concept – I really do; I love walking into friends’ houses and looking at their white spaces, clear floors and benchtops and having them say to me “Sorry, I didn’t get a chance to clean up!”

“Pfffft!!!” I say.  Or maybe I just think it – I can’t figure out if it’s rude or not.  While I do truly understand that an uncluttered space can help an uncluttered mind, I also have to make my peace with being a collector because it gives me pleasure.  You may have gathered by now that my natural habitat is in a secondhand market, but it’s also in my blood…and this tends to lead to my cluttered home.  Cluttered (or comfortable as I like to call it) though it may be, you can come in with your shoes on, drop crumbs and sit on the floor if you want to.  More recently I’ve learned to accept my crazy home for what it is because I’ve finally learned to edit it to my favorite things.

So while I will never have the Minimalist home that I crave (but would possibly never feel comfortable in) I have a rule at hand which allows me to indulge guilt-free at the Op-shop or Trash (which is important for my mental health), while preventing me from reaching total Steptoe and Son status – it’s the One-In, One-Out Rule.

If I find a great frock at Vinnie’s, I have to be prepared to divest myself of one currently swinging in the wardrobe at home.  It’s a good barometer of whether you really, really want the item, if you know exactly what you’re prepared to sacrifice in order to take something home – responsible op-shopping, you know? This rule particularly comes into its own when it come to books – my weakness.  There are books in this house I don’t even know I have, so coming home with up to a dozen books, means I have to find the same number to bag up for donating to Lifeline – and happily, generally during the process of finding an equitable amount, I get charged up and decide to grab a bunch more.  Very satisfying!

In fact, now that I come to think of it, lately when I’ve bought my purchases home I’ve been super diligent in finding items to sacrifice – to the point that there is more going out than coming in….could it be I’ve found the ultimate key to decluttering for packrats?? Or at the very least, the perfect justification to tell SH before my next Op-Shop hop?

Do you have rules to manage yourself?

One In, One Out is joining the Weekend Rewind list, this week by Maxabella loves and Life, Love and Hiccups 

About Alyson

I am a 45+ chick. I live in the country with 3 almost (apparently) adult children teenagers, 1 husband and many animals. Here's the thing: The black dog also hangs with me occasionally and, thank the baby cheeses, life is not perfect. That's OK, because I work hard to be a glass half-full person and I can't lie! I write to help my head, heart and humor...and I tell myself 'I've got this!'


  1. I cleared out about half our books over the summer. I don’t imagine I will ever be minimalist, but I have a rule in our house that if something is not either beautiful (to us) or useful, it has to go. Books which are never going to be read again are in that pile! I do find that the more stuff we cull, the lighter I feel. It just takes less energy to deal with less stuff… though I do like a good garage sale…

    • That’s what I’m aiming for Jo! My problem is the way I justify that I’m definitely going to read them ALL someday 🙂 xx

  2. Guilt manages me lol. I was only lying in bed last night thinking I need to do a massive cull of my wardrobe .. so I can buy more haha xx

    • Ha! Me too Sonia…and this is why I am motivated when I bring something home that I’m excited about…usually I can’t fit it into the wardrobe unless something leaves! xx

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