One In, One Out?

The ‘one in on out’ concept is something that is often discussed and talked about in the minimalist community. In my early minimalist days, I was attempting to be so strict that I actually followed a ‘one in two out’ policy as a way to try and curb any unnecessary clothing shopping. These days I’m finding the one in two out policy a lot more difficult to stick to.

I recently acquired three new clothing items (at zero cost, which is another story for another time) so whilst the price is right, I’m actually at the point of struggling to come up with what (if anything) should leave my wardrobe. Or, am I simply at the stage where my wardrobe is in fact already at its bare bones and I could do with a few new pieces?

This is something that I’m currently in two minds about. I now find myself wondering if I have removed too many things from my closet to the point where it is at times difficult to get dressed. Maybe I don’t have enough that suits my lifestyle or fashion choices. This is the part of minimalism that I find tough, mainly because there essentially are no rules. I make the rules and I follow the rules. There’s no one to keep me in line, to tell me off, or an actual rule book to follow. I must make a judgement call, but when I allow (what I perceive to be) too much stuff into my life I feel wracked with guilt as though I’m betraying myself and my own values. This is the tough part, is that it is entirely up to me what I choose to do. I’d also like to clarify that I see three new items of clothing as lots…so I’m unsure if my perception is off of what lots or too much actually is.

I find I often have perceived lifestyle envy. I look at other people and the beautiful/variety of clothing they wear and worry I’m too hard on myself, that I should let loose a little bit and allow myself a bit extra. Then I also wonder what their closets look like, what their bank accounts look like. But then allowing myself a little extra doesn’t have to mean I go wild or spend thousands of dollars (as evidenced by the three items I recently received for nothing, and brand new).

Striking the right balance is hard, I’ve been trying to live with less for quite a few years and evidently my journey is constantly changing and I’m always learning about my own limits and boundaries. Sometimes it frustrates me how genuinely guilty I feel when I do buy myself something new just because its something I wanted, yet I could go out and buy a $70 birthday gift for a friend and not feel guilty for spending the money at all.

How do you set minimalist, goals and boundaries for yourself?