Usually picking favorites is bad. In the realm of parenting, for example, it can result in years of awkward holiday gatherings and large therapy bills (except for, you know, that one kid). In the world of education, being the teacher’s pet is like holding a one-way ticket to Wedgie-ville. But in the world of organization, picking favorites is not just okay, it’s encouraged.
Today’s post continues my series of Rosie-isms, which dispense some of my tried-and-true organizing advice. Rosie-ism #4? Pick your favorites.
For an example, let’s look in your closet. Perhaps you love black cardigan sweaters. I mean, who doesn’t? Those things are versatile and perfect for those of us who live in the Midwest where the temperature can vary 30 degrees or so in one day.
But how many of those lovely little black Mr. Rogers-esque ditties do you really need? All of them, you say! I wear all of them! I’m sure you do, but I’m guessing there is one that is prized above the others, one you always reach for first, one you only pass up if it happens to be dirty. (And, if we’re being honest, you might have even snatched it out of the laundry hamper to wear once or twice…shh… I won’t tell.)
If you want to be organized, I recommend that favorite black cardigan sweater be the only one you own. Maybe–if you are a true purveyor of black cardigan sweaters–it can have a runner-up, but for most of us, just one is fine.
But what if it wears out?! you say, in a bit of a panic. What will I do?!
Well, my friend, unless you live in Antarctica (where I’m guessing cardigan sweaters are not much help… you might as well just go for the full sweater there), you can just go to a store and buy a new one. Better to wear things you love and wear them out than to keep lots of mediocre clothing that just hogs your closet space.
Having favorites is great not only because it frees up space in your home, but also because you’ll naturally start to buy higher quality items. If, for example, you own just one favorite pair of jeans (which I do… I recently took the just-one-pair-of-jeans plunge and have no regrets!), you’ll make sure those jeans are the best jeans you can get your hands (err, butt) on. Because they are good quality, they’ll last for awhile, and when they wear out, you’ll be ready to replace them with another high-quality pair.
Besides the extra closet space (always a bonus!), I pick closet favorites for three main reasons:
1) Style: You don’t need to be a fashionista to realize that high quality = style. I get more compliments on my clothing now that I only wear my faves.
2) My Wallet: I spend a lot less money on clothing now that I buy only a few quality items as opposed to of lots of ill-fitting “deals”. These “deals” were usually grabbed spur-of-the-moment from clearance racks and usually didn’t fit my body or my style. Thus, the money spent on them was no “deal” at all.
3) The environment: Americans put about 10.5 millions tons of clothing into landfills each year… ouch!
Picking faves is great in your closet, but this principle applies to many areas of your home, including, but certainly not limited to:
The kitchen utensil drawer – Pick your go-to spatula and 1-2 wooden spoons and call it a day.
The toolbox – Holy screwdrivers, Batman! Unless you’re training a band of octopuses to repair your plumbing (which would be really cool, let me know if you figure that out), you can probably minimize to the 1-2 you reach for all the time.
Kid things with wheels – I limit my kids to 1-2 things with wheels (bike, scooter, etc.) When they outgrow it, we trade up for the next size.
Athletic shoes – If you exercise often, your feet will thank you for investing in a high-quality pair and replacing them when they wear out. The same goes for other types of shoes: winter boots, high heels, sandals, etc.
Spouses – It goes without saying, but if you have more than one spouse, you owe it to all of them to pick a favorite and move on.
I hope I’ve helped you realize that picking favorites is good! I’d love to hear how some of you minimize down to your favorite things.
Rose Lounsbury is the Dayton, Ohio area’s up-and-coming professional organizer. She also only has one spouse, and he is her favorite. After blogging about her own journey toward a minimalist lifestyle, Rose was inspired to start Less, a minimalist-minded professional organizing company. If you’d like Rose’s help with an organizing project at your home or office, please call her at 937-626-9030 or email her at [email protected]