If One is Good then Four Is Better. Right?

If One is Good Then Four is Better . . . Right at

I had a flashback to my pre-blog mentality recently. My daughter opened an ever-so-cool train case that I knew contained photos. It has contained those photos for a very long time, and I hadn’t opened it in a very long time.

But . . . if I were looking for those photos, I would look there first.

I didn’t know it also contained these:

Photo - If One is Good, then Four is Better, Right

Four CD holders. I vaguely remember buying these at a garage sale. I’m sure I was excited they were like new. I’m sure I was excited there were four!!!

Because that was my old mentality. If one is good, then four is better, right?

Or six. Or eighteen. Basically however many I could find at some amazing rock-bottom price was exactly how many I needed.

Exactly how many I never knew I needed.

It didn’t ever occur to me that there was a limit to anything. Ever.

I’m sure that over the past four years of slob-blogging, I’ve run across those four, brand-new, still-never-used CD holders. I probably stressed and fretted and decided to keep them just in case I ever needed them to get my CDs organized.

But now I have a spot (an actual, designated spot) for all CDs, so I know for sure I don’t need them. So this time, they were easy to declutter. Zero angst.

It’s one of the reasons why I love re-decluttering. The second (or sixty-seventh) time I declutter a spot is so much easier.

--Nony get-how-to-manage-your-home-without-losing-your-mind-wherever-books-are-sold


  1. 1

    The only time I disagree with this is scissors… You can never have too many pairs of scissors

    • 2

      Yes, and nail clippers and black sharpies. Those things disappear faster than lightning around here. But, this is a good philosophy for 99% of household items.

    • 3


    • 4

      For certain items, I will say that the correct amount to have is “you always know where to find one of them quickly.”

      My list starts with tape measures. I think I should add another pair of scissors to the house. I seem to be down to keeping track of one pair of nail clippers but I think a good tossing will reveal more. I would include flashlights, but I think I have so many that I could home one in each room when I think we would only need two small metal-body and one large lantern.

  2. 5

    What a great feeling! I’m applauding your “zero angst.” I still have so much anxiety about getting rid of things–though it gets better with every trip to the thrift store. In my 1200 sq foot apartment with 5 people living in it, I have (not exagerrating) at least 5 laundry baskets and 4 hampers. Because they were on sale. Or always filled with junk to “go through later” so I NEEDED that many. At least 3 of the laundry baskets are broken. And I still can’t bite the bullet and get rid of them–because of the “what if.”
    I am still reading forwards–in January of 2011 now! So excited to read more of your journey! Thanks (again) for being so honest!

    • 6

      Wait a minute….5 laundry baskets and 4 hampers with 5 people doesn’t seem like enough to me. OK. I just proved that I belong here with Noni. I am a slob.

    • 7
      Elaine in Ark says:

      Getting over the Angst of Tossing is one of the most freeing thing I know. My sister is going to move in with me, and she asked if there was room for our parent’s drop leaf table. I told her no, and asked her “if you get rid of the table, will you forget Mom and Dad”? She was OK with that.

      Of course, I still have to hit her with “there’s not enough room for Mom’s old china”, which was handed down from my great-uncle. It’s almost 100 years old, and the glaze is cracked on almost all the pieces. I’m concerned about lead in the clay that was used back then, so we don’t eat off these dishes any more. I have a display of a place setting on my etagere, so I don’t feel any emotional need to keep the other eleven settings, plus serving pieces. (There’s a woman at the local farmer’s market who makes all kinds of things with broken crockery, so I’ll see if she wants it.)

  3. 8

    I totally agree…I have 4 laundry baskets…two are for the dirty clothes the other two hold all my folded laundry till I get it all folded and I put it all away at the same time lol…the only thing I never have enough of….BABY WIPES…I have a 2 yr old a 1 yr old and a 2 month old so I go through those like crazy and if they’re on sale I buy the mess outta them…I actually have no clutter problems…my husband can’t seem to let go of stuff….we have army totes in storage full of junk like blankets and MRE’s (meal ready to eat) for the end of the world…sigh maybe one day I can use my storage for what it’s for…CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS….I even got rid of my wedding dress! Why keep that junk laying around

  4. 9

    In my weekend decluttering I cleared off a dresser top – it was not exactly a “zero angst” kind of job. I found a picture of my daughter – one that was a cut out photo that another parent at her grade-school pasted on a sparkly backdrop and “framed” in an acrylic stand. Once upon a time it looked nice but the picture was not one that could be put in a different frame because of the cutout styling and I ended up throwing it away. I felt guilty like it made me a bad mother or something. But I knew I was never going to display it, I only wanted to keep what was still nice and pretty… and the guilt feeling is gone now that the dresser top is all clean and clear of clutter. I displayed a different picture that is in a nice frame amd now I feel better.

  5. 10

    You could have used those for activity books for traveling in the car. I have seen something similar where the parent did connect the dots, tic tac toe, or finish the picture on a piece of paper. Then insert the paper into the plastic slots, give the child an erasable marker and you can use your handy books over and over again. Good to have handy in the car, in the doctor’s office or anywhere else you need your child to be quiet.

  6. 11

    Thank you for your encouragement, and the “keep goings”and “it’s alright, you’ll get it, there is hope”.

  7. 12

    My thought is that you need as many as you use! I have quite a few measuring spoons, measuring cups, kitchen scissors and glass measuring cups. I use them ALL. I don’t feel a bit guilty about having that many. But there are other things I don’t need multiples of. So if you use them, keep them. If you don’t, get rid of them.

    Way to go, Nony!

    • 13

      I agree about measuring utensils, funnels, multiple cooking pots.

      I have some measuring scoops that live in canisters, a small collection in a drawer that is not culled for duplicates nor added to for imitating a set, and an industrial-sized food container where the rest of my scoops live in a “find before you start” place.

      A lot of my cooking dishes don’t live in the kitchen. Also not all of my dry goods. For some philosophies, I have too much. From the philosophy that you can’t overfill the kitchen without crippling your ability to use it, I’m fine.

  8. 14

    Alright this is a pet concern of mine. If one cleaning chemical is god, then 2 is definitely NOT better.

    PS Thankyou for the banana slicer review link, laughed a lot.

  9. 15

    Great job! I am still struggling with the mentality that just because 1 is great or helpful does not mean that 2 or 3 or more will be even better… Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. 16

    Well Done! I know there are tons of creative things you can do with any given object (some good ones even offered by my fellow commenters) but good for you for recognizing that the potential of an object needs to be weighed against what it’s presence is taking away from your home.

    I have a special request for a podcast. We are a military family who are about to be sent over to Germany. This is my first real PCS (the fancy-shmancy term for a military ordered move) and I am coming to grips with the fact that we will be giving up our 2,000+ square foot house with generous (if not overstuffed) closets and garage for a much quainter European home that could be as small as 1,300 square feet with no closets or garage and minimal cellar/attic storage. The weight of all our stuff matters too as we are allotted only about 9,000 pounds of household goods. We will have to pay a dollar or two per pound over that figure – so it literally pays for me to ditch as much clutter as possible in the next 70 days or so.

    I’d love to know how you would tackle this. I mean, I get that at the core of this it really is just putting one foot in front of the other and just DOING it, but like most large-scale projects the biggest thing is keeping up the motivation.

    …And perspective. I do have to keep reminding myself that my efforts are about cutting the absolute sinking feeling of complete overwhelm at the other end of the move. Expecting that when I unpack our house it will be perfectly clutter free and zen-like is being dishonest about my slob brain and the personalities of my family members.

    On the upside, I have managed to get a good chunk of progress done in the last few months – about 500 pounds have been kicked out of my home so far. I’d like to at least triple that before the move.
    One thing that has helped is to use your declutter questions. Though I’ve added a question to your two, which is “Is this something I want in my new home in Germany?” You would be surprised how often the answer is a resounding NO!

    Any advice, tips, commiseration, or perspective you could add would be wonderful motivation. Thank you Nony!

    • 17

      Hmmm. I’ll think on that one!

    • 18

      For anything that isn’t sentimental, how much would it cost to buy a new one? This is both for stuff that you would want in Germany and stuff that you would want after getting back.

      I’m not sure if it would work for PCS, but I thought if we had to go overseas, I would prefer to stick everything in storage and just buy new essentials when we got there.

    • 19

      Just remember that electronics have a different voltage in EU than in USA…so I would just focus on clothing, personal pictures, favorite mementos, books…either sell, donate or store the rest, if you are returning to the US within three years or less…..

    • 20

      Last year, I moved from Texas to Toronto, Canada. I had been living independently in apartments as large as 1200 sqft for years, but knew I’d be moving to a less-than-400 sqft apartment I’d be sharing with my husband. As in, he already had some furniture and there was no way all my stuff could fit. We also had limited funds to ship everything and ultimately settled on a single U-Box from Uhaul. This pretty much meant almost no furniture, no large appliances, and absolutely no clutter. There were a few frustrating decisions, like selling off my relatively new washer/dryer set for a measly $100 and because I’d have to return to using a shared laudrymat.

      It was pretty painful overall, but it came down to a few questions:
      1) Do I really need this item?
      2) Would it be cheaper to replace it or ship it?
      3) Is it sentimental AND do I need it right now with me or can it stay with my parents a while longer?
      4) Does it fit in the new space?

      Only a few expensive items (like a big screen tv) came along, but my shipping container was pretty much filled with crates and crates of books (majored in literature and then became a middle school English teacher with a personal classroom library), a dresser full of clothing, kitchen pieces (glassware, dishes, pots and pans), a few sentimental things, and a few small pieces of furniture I knew would fit and be helpful.

      I ended up scaling down almost 75% of my possessions. I got rid of a ton of clothing that didn’t fit, was worn out, or I didn’t like anymore. Lots of linens stayed behind too because I knew we’d have a different size bed.

      To date, I have only one box I’ve left unpacked/unused and that’s my box of tupperware. At about 8 months into living here, I’ve rarely found the need for them and we’re already talking about decluttering even more. We don’t have enough room on our bookshelves (he’s a reader too) and that’s causing the spaces to look uncomfortably packed. In areas of the apartment where we found an equilibrium, it’s really nice and you feel relaxed. But it was a long struggle to get to where we are now. It would have been easier if both of us had less stuff!

      So, as painful as it might be, I guess my advice is to get rid of more than you think you should. Don’t try to get exactly 9000lbs, go for less! This isn’t airline baggage where you high-five random strangers when your luggage weighs exactly 49.9 lbs. There will always be opportunities to add new treasures to the home, but it’s hard to throw things out. If you start in your new place with a sense of “ah.. it fits and I can breathe” instead of “oh **$@ where do I put it all?!” you’ll be much, much happier.

    • 21
      Colleen P says:

      Andrea-I hope you don’t mind my answering, because I have done this-we lived in England for six years. The up side is-you’re going to Germany, homes on the whole tend to be a bit bigger there than in England ( our living room/dining room on base was a 9x 24 room), and the one off base wasn’t much bigger.

      OK, first things first-your household appliances can just be put in storage, because they will have to run on transformers (which are expensive, heavy and limited), and that drastically shorten the life of your appliance. You can contact FMO (furniture or furnishings management office, I think is what that stands for) to be issued appliances when you get to your duty station. (sorry it’s been a few years). Usually there’s an on-base thrift store where you can get small electronics like clocks, lamps, etc.

      Next important consideration-Germany has seriously strict recycling laws, so eliminate as much of anything recyclable as you can before you get there, because if you decide to get rid of it there it is going to be a lot more difficult to get rid of and may cost you money. Purge like you have never purged before. If it’s paper and can be scanned and stored on a thumb drive then do it. You’ll have to carry your most important papers with you-birth certificates, passports, etc. The base legal office can likely provide you with a list of papers that you need to have, and those that you don’t. Most paper manuals can be discarded, because the information is all available online from the manufacturer, and paper adds a lot of weight. If you have sentimental letters and card, store them or get a family member to hold onto them for you.

      Keep in mind-Things get damaged in shipping, and things get lost-if it means a great deal to you, don’t let them pack it up, do it yourself, and either mail it to yourself or have someone mail it to you when you get your PSC address. OR, keep it here in the US with someone you trust to keep it safe for you.

      If you have oversized furniture, I would try to either store it or find it a new home-the room sizes are very good, the doorways are very narrow, as a rule. If you have a California King size bed, it might be a good idea to downsize-getting the box springs upstairs will be difficult in certain situations. You don’t want to find the perfect house and then not be able to get your furniture into it.

      I’m sure there’s loads I’m forgetting, I’ve been back stateside for nearly a decade now, but I hope that helps! 🙂

  11. 22

    Ugh! You just reminded me of all of the CDs I really need to go through. I haven’t used CDs in over 2 yrs so why can’t I get rid of them?

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