the weekly spark: Practice One In, One Out

If I’m not disciplined about it, I can be the queen of holding on to clothing that doesn’t suit me, doesn’t fit, isn’t my style, or doesn’t reflect who I am anymore. So more than a decade ago, after a day spent cleaning (and purging items from) my closet, I came up with a new rule for myself.

From that day forward, I adopted a “One In, One Out” policy. If I purchase something new for my wardrobe— shoes, slacks, a jean jacket, or whatever—I have to get rid of at least one item from my wardrobe. I don’t have to swap shoes for shoes, but I do have to acknowledge that I don’t really need so much and let something go.  I   The practice helps me be more deliberate about keeping a wardrobe that reflects who I am at the moment while also encouraging me to be thoughtful about my shopping.

Once I have chosen the items to remove from my wardrobe, I decide whether or not it’s a good item for consignment, whether my sister would like it, or if I should donate it to the local clothing closet (I love Lydia’s Loft and Crisis Assistance Ministry) or Goodwill.

This week, think about the items you have purchased or received for your wardrobe in the last month and count ’em up. Yes, even count the $4.99 T-shirts from Target. Then, head to your closet and do a purge, pulling out at least that many items to be donated, consigned, or given away. Then, practice the One In, One Out rule next time you make a purchase.


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