Reader question… “A friend told me that I should always purge an item if I buy something similar, even if the item to be purged is still in good condition or if I am still using or wearing it. The example she gave was that if I buy a new shirt I need to get rid of a shirt I am currently wearing. She also said I should start purging one item every single day. I’ve done some searches and I see that this is common advice but the concept seems wasteful to me. If you don’t mind me asking, what is your take on this ‘one in / one out’ idea? Do you personally purge something if you buy something new, and do you personally purge one item every day?”
It’s important to save for retirement. It’s sensible to have an emergency fund. It’s essential to live within your income and not go into debt. But where did the idea come from that people who are frugal and live simply… can’t… or shouldn’t… have nice things? Or that they should feel guilty if they buy something new?
I spent more than three months one year in an enforced almost immobile position because of complications from a back injury. When I finally started to recover and could be up and around again for part of the day, the recommended at home therapy was to walk as much as I was able to. As a surprise, my husband decided to build a walking path that would trail around our property and wind past the nearby wooded area. He took great pains to ensure that the surface of the walking path was smooth and level and that the path would take me past the garden areas that I love and had missed so much… alongside the little babbling brook and past all the froggy activity going on around our small pond. His thoughtful surprise turned my daily (sometimes very difficult and painful) exercise routine into something I could actually look forward to because there was always something new going on somewhere for me to see and enjoy.
I have a friend who almost never telephones me unless she is doing something else at the same time. Sometimes she’s preparing or eating dinner, sometimes she’s driving somewhere, sometimes she’s doing housework, and sometimes she’s washing dishes. Often she becomes so preoccupied with the other thing she is doing that she forgets what she is saying or what I have answered, and the sounds of chewing, traffic, running water, or clanging dishes are very distracting. This woman is a good friend and I’m very fond of her, but I wish just once she would devote her full attention to the conversation she has initiated. I doubt that this will ever happen, though, because she is very much into multitasking. And she’s always feeling frazzled and in a rush.
When you are faced with an important decision, it’s always a good idea to gather information about the possible options and to use that information to evaluate the possible consequences. Analysis paralysis happens when you spend too much time analyzing that information and second-guessing all those possibilities… when you literally can’t make a decision because that excess of information actually prevents you from moving forward.