From time-to-time, I’ll think about this post I read on Apartment Therapy back in 2010. For whatever reason, the post stuck with me. The advice in the post espouses The Rule of One, which breaks down like this:
Keep the things you own (especially technology) down to only one.
I like the idea, but am still trying to figure out if I can apply it to everything in my life. I certainly need to have more than one shirt, for instance. But, in other areas, could it make sense for me? I especially like this insight:
Listening to music? One iPod. One speaker set … Hold on to that one item for as long as possible.
Like I said, it’s impractical for me to apply the Rule of One to all aspects of my possessions. I have several baseball hats and I like to wear them all, so I don’t imagine I’ll ever get rid of all but one of them. But, a quick glance at my iPhone reveals a problem. I have seven weather applications. I’ve also got four note-taking apps and four camera apps. Yes, each does something unique, but honestly none of them is markedly different than the other. I don’t need all four camera apps, for instance, and should decide on one “keeper.” The rest are clutter in that they consume precious storage space on my iPhone and clutter my mind, as I must stop and choose one every time I want to take a picture.
I also like Nguyen’s advice to “hold on to that item for as long as possible.” My Internet buddy Patrick Rhone of Minimal Mac has written about this topic several times. In an article called “The Season of Stuff,” he gives good, pre-emptive uncluttering advice for the holiday season:
You can pledge to get rid of an amount of stuff equal to the amount you receive. You can let those who love you know that you do not want more stuff but want something less tangible instead (breakfast in bed, money for a favorite charity, etc.). Ask for specific stuff you really truly need that will add years of value to your life on a daily basis.
Now, if you have superfluous tech that you’d like to get rid of, don’t just bring it to the dump. There are several ways to recycle it responsibly:
- Donation. Is there a group, organization or school nearby that would love to have it? Give them a call.
- Best Buy. This American big box store will accept three electronic items per household per day for responsible recycling. It’s free, and no-questions-asked. You didn’t have to buy the item there to recycle it there.
- Seek a local alternative. For example, Free Geek is an Oregon-based service that takes your electronics, similar to Best Buy’s program. Search around to find something similar in your area.
Look at the tech you use every day and decide, is any of this superfluous? Can I follow the Rule of One in this area of my life? If so, unclutter the extraneous items and enjoy having fewer distractions.