The Power of One

A man with one watch knows what time is it; a man with two watches is never quite sure.

Lee Segall

We are taught that more is better? Yes, sometimes more is better; more love, more laughter, more free time, more space, more silence, more passion projects, more…

 

But sometimes ‘more’ is more inconvenient. More coffee mugs, more identical T-shirts, more water bottles, more scissors, more, more, more… 

 

Do we really need more items that serve the same or similar purpose in our lives?

2 or more scissors? 2 water bottles? 2 hairbrushes? 2 identical white T-shirts? 

In the end, we cannot even use more than one pair at a time. 

There is surprising power in owning just one

The Power of One

Tell me, how many coats can you wear at once? One.

How many spatulas do you use at a time? One.

How many pairs of flip-flops do you wear at once? One.

How many cars can you drive at a time? One

How many houses can you live in at the same time? One.

 

What if you owned just one of everything?

Just imagine, if you get rid of all the duplicates you possess, you could easily and quickly reduce the number of stuff you have in your home. That’s probably not realistic for most people who have families, but it’s an eye-opening idea. 

What if you owned just one hairbrush? One pair of scissors? One can opener? One USB drive?

If you owned just one of these items, it would be simple to assign a home for the item and have each family member use it and return it to the proper place. 

Or think about bigger items…

One bookshelf. One small closet rod. One small drawer/toiletry kit for all makeup and toiletries. 


What if you owned only one, but your favorite thing? One that fits well. One that complements the color of your skin or eyes. One that makes you smile when you’re using it?

Favorite black shoes.

Favorite white shirt.

Favorite floral dress.

Favorite sneakers.

Favorite purse.

Favorite scissors.

Favorite perfume. 

Favorite frying pan.

Favorite

 

Would you be deprived? Or sad? Or maybe relaxed and happy?

Example with clothes (we usually have the most duplicates in the clothing and footwear department). By choosing an iconic clothing style and color palette, you can downsize your wardrobe, reduce the stress of daily decision fatigue and use your brainpower for more important things.

Of course, you don’t need to have only one T-shirt, but you don’t need to have 2 similar or the same T-shirts either. One is probably enough. For others, choose a different style, color, texture, or something third you like. 

There is no solid rule that you have to stick with only one, but it’s something you should be considering as you declutter. The less stuff you have, the easier it is to keep things in order. That’s how you organize and maintain a peaceful, minimalist home.

Is One Enough?

There are many factors that play a role in how many items that serve the same purpose we should keep. I know people who only have one set of bedsheets. They wash and dry them on laundry day, and then just return to the bed when they’re clean.

I do the same with my towels. I have one small face towel, one medium for the body, and one medium for the gym. I wash them every Saturday and I’m ready to go for another week. 

Think about your shoes, bags, and accessories. It’s likely you have certain ones that only go with specific outfits. Are those your favorite? Are they necessary? Do they bring you a great deal of joy?

By identifying my style and colors that complement my skin and eyes, I was able to eliminate a lot of extra outfits that only went with certain pieces, and also didn’t look the greatest on me. 

 

One may be enough for me, but not for you. If this is the case, feel free to add extra items to your life, but be careful not to fall into the same trap you were in before. 

If you have a family, I understand having several plates, glasses, forks, knives, towels, but think again if you need two food scales, two sets of measuring cups, two pairs of scissors, two hairdryers, etc., or you can share some items with other family members.

The Benefits of Owning Just One

  • We only own our favorite of each object 
  • We take better care of each item
  • We can own higher quality, and longer-lasting items (sometimes with a better design too)
  • We enjoy using our things more
  • We spend less time cleaning
  • We can quickly identify if something needs to be repaired or replaced
  • We use our favorite items all the time
  • We buy things with increased intentionality
  • We have designated space for each item so we never lose them 
  • We have more space to proudly display our one favorite thing
  • We can learn to be content with what we have because we have enough

How to Avoid Duplicates

  • Have a designated space for each item
  • Keep things visible (if possible) 
  • Shop only with a list
  • Keep a list of what you have (optional)
  • Laugh when you still end up with two nail clippers (Anyone needs one?)

One is Powerful

If you’ve ever tried to do just one thing at a time, then you know that one thing gets 100% of your focus, energy, and attention. When you finish it, you’re probably more satisfied with the final result, but if you’re used to jumping from one task to another, you may never know your full potential for accomplishing great things.

The same with physical possessions. When you decide to own only one of each item your life won’t only be simpler and calmer, but you will also be happier and more content.

One may be the loneliest number, but is also the easiest number to manage.

Courtney Carver

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