One In One Out


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You didn’t save the ferns from last summer…did you?  Probably not.  If you did how many times did you sweep up those miserable tiny leaves?  To me, there are two perfect days in a Boston Fern’s life.  The day we proudly admire the porch ready for summer and the day we get to toss them in the trash!  It’s a love/hate relationship but one with a lesson.   It’s the One In One Out theory in reverse.


Every fall we ditch the plants and posies that have served us so well.  In gardens and in our planters they have been show stoppers and proved to the world we have two green thumbs.  We tried some new things and counted on old favorites to make it thru the season.  When the time comes to say farewell there is no remorse because we know we can replace them again next year when we need them.  It is cut and dried.  In this case its One Out One In.  This is a system that works for nearly all of us.



What happens when we try to do too much?  To have too much to take care of?  Perhaps we filled up every pot we had in the garage that we could not bear to part with for some reason at the end of last season?  We can’t maintain them all and they become a job instead of a joy.  

Why do we do this?  Some of these were simply the pots that the plants were grown in before arriving to their new homes.  You might even still have a stack in your garage from several seasons….even after learning you did not need them all last year.   I used to do it for several reasons.  One, the recycle/reuse movement translates into do not waste.  Waste goes in the trash.  It’s a hard mindset to break unless you are honest and admit you are not going to plant your own seeds, grow you own flowers and reuse all of these pots.  Second, after I accepted the fact I was not going to reuse them, I am lazy and it is much easier to stack them in the garage for my husband to deal with (or not sometimes).  These kinds of stunts, on all of our behalf, lead to a monster clean out the garage day where no one is happy.  No matter how beautiful the planters look, we lose a whole day of admiring them hauling stuff to where…the trash!


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This photo is from a fellow blogger, Sacramento Street.  This  shows a nice way to reuse some of the clay pots your babies may have come in this spring.  She took the time to create a system that she could reuse.  Herbs, when used often, do have to be replaced.  The ones I buy at the market usually come in either compost pots or plastic.  How nice to have a set spot, something that is part of the decor, to rotate these delicacies in.  This is another One Out One In with purpose.  The time, energy and money spent lives on and becomes a happy habit to look forward to.

One last photo about spring gardening, and mostly because I want to repeat the wise words of Ashley Organizes (Her Post It Takes a Village)

“Organized clutter is still clutter.”


How many pair can you wear in a season?  Unless you’ve got the only kids in the universe who like to garden rather than text (can’t do with gloves) you might be able to use the One In One Out rule here.


Every year we get a lot of calls in the spring with clients considering summer renovation projects.  No one calls us when their homes are running at warp speed and taking care of all their needs.  They call us because there is a problem to address.  A situation that can be improved on to make life run smoother day to day.

The very best project outcomes are the ones where everyone is motivated to maintain their accomplishments.  You have worked so hard on your project to clean up and clear out your “stuff”.  The storage space is set and the balance of stuff is organized with systems that allow for the amount of items you really need.  It was a lot of work.  How wonderful if it never had to be done again.

The One Out One In example with our spring flowers does not work for everything.  It is too hard to keep track of and implement daily.  However, One In One Out is a breeze once you get into the happy habit.


How many times are your hands full heading into the house.  ALWAYS Reverse – how many times are you carrying an item out to dispose of or donate?  SELDOM  Might this work if you start?  Could you try it with these kinds of items?

  • Clothes, Shoes and Accessories – Buy new things, use the bag to place the equal number of items in to put in your car and drop at Goodwill the next day.  Apply this to everyone in the family.
  • Sheets, Blankets, Bed Linens and Pillows – Most of us do not need all we have on hand, or have inherited when someone else cleaned out!  Social Programs and Animal Shelters are great places to donate.
  • Towels – Unless you do not have laundry in your home…you probably need far fewer of these than you have crammed in places.  Plus, these things wear out and get dingy quick.  There is nothing like new towels several times a year.  TJ Max here we come!
  • Candles – How many partially used do you have around.  Use them all the way and get new.
  • Pillows and Accessories – Really any home decor items.  What about trading with your friends?  The new cookie exchange!
  • Spices – Buy smaller and store only the ones you use.  It’s great to ask a friend or neighbor for an odd one you need.  They have the same over abundance as you do.  Spices have dates to also consider.
  • Freezer/Pantries – This is a hard one but very rewarding.  Be creative and try to spread out shopping days until you can see (many) empty spaces in the freezer and pantry.  Be creative and use what you bought.  I needed a jumpstart and donated the things I bought on impulse to the shelters.  Now we do not throw away any food.  We keep spares only on the items we know we use repeatedly.
  • Cups/Glasses/Travel Mugs and Water Bottles – Our motto is a full cabinet or a full dishwasher…not both!
  • Plates and Bowls – Ditto!
  • Pots/Pans/Bakeware – We all have our favorites.  Pretty sure when a new item jumps in your cart (online or otherwise) you will have a pan at the back of the cabinet to donate.  Do you still have some of your mothers that she replaced?  Sidenote:  Be careful giving adult kids the one thing going out.  You don’t want to be an accomplice to starting the cycle in their homes.
  • Makeup and Toiletries – This one seems simple, but it can be another hard one to break the habit of keeping partial things.  If something is not working, you don’t like it, or are too lazy to use it (moi) then ditch it.  It’s worth the $20 or so to get it out of your site and aid in a smoother routine in the morning.
  • Books and Magazines – No explainations here except to think of them like the newspaper.  Read it and get it out of the house.  If you are digital (good for you) then you probably need to follow the One In One Out to free up storage space.

It’s nice not to have to spend whole days, or surges of energy, organizing the same areas over and over!


You may have noticed the little Goodwill bag at the begining of the post.  Personally, I use Goodwill nearly every week.   I’ve received articles about how perhaps funds have been misused, or they are not as in tune with the needs of some groups and communities.  I have no opinion on this.  I simply use them because they have more locations and are open later in my area than other donation places.  My opinion is that regardless who I choose to donate to, or if I simply choose to trash things, the idea is to keep our habits in action so we can maintain what we have worked so hard to create.  A home that works with us and not against us.  Our perfect LBD!

Don’t forget to tidy up your front door so your ferns look fab this season!

An Open Door Policy




Now you can share LBD via text!

6 thoughts on “One In One Out”

  1. I mix perennials in my flower pots. In the fall they find a permanent place in my garden.

    1. After 35 yrs in the design business, we have learned the ways that work and it really works best if its a habit, day to day. For me, too much stress to do it all at once! Thanks for your thoughts. Laurel

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