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?” –Dani W.

My answers to your questions… no, and definitely not! :o)

Personally, I prefer to purge for a reason… when clothing becomes worn, faded or no longer fits… when an item breaks or is no longer wanted or needed… or as our circumstances or interests change. This is a gradual purging that happens naturally and for an obvious reason. Purging without a reason, except to fulfill some arbitrary number of purgings in a given period of time, seems artificial to me, and I agree… wasteful.

I do understand how some people… especially someone new to the idea of simple living, someone wondering where or how to begin with the decluttering process… can see rules like these as the perfect answer. I still think it’s a mistake for the emphasis to be on numbers.

My suggestion? Instead of concentrating on numbers or rules… before you bring a new item into your home or consider purging one you already have, give that item some serious thought. Ask yourself two questions. Is this something I need… is this something I value? Purge the item if your answer is no… if your answer is yes, find a place for it in your life.


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