Introduction, One-A-Day Thing Diet

An everyday system, TM, is a simple, commonsense solution to an everyday problem, grounded by a pun or metaphor. Propose/discuss new systems here.
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Introduction, One-A-Day Thing Diet

Post by afeman » Sat Oct 06, 2007 8:06 pm


I just stumbled on this website and find it spooky how much it lines up with various preoccupations of mine: simple rules enforcing moderation, the madness of driving to a gym, equipment-minimal home exercise, the paradox of choice, audiobooks... yeesh.

I haven't gotten into the other forums, but I should note that the shovelglove was the original draw, and I've been experimenting with kettlebell exercises using a barbell, plus some other easy (or rather accessible) approaches that kettlebell promoter Pavel Tatsouline hawks.

A poster some time ago mentioned systems for attacking clutter. I have one that I've been using for a few years that has worked well for me, though I didn't name it until now. Call it the One-A-Day Thing Diet. I get rid of one thing every day, and write down what it is in my day planner. If I get something new, I put it in parentheses that day and get rid of two to make it up. Sometimes I've gotten months behind or months ahead, but it's always evened out. I started in 2001 and have gone from a tightly packed 24' moving van to a loosely packed 14' one. That's about 6*365 things I've gotten rid of. Whooda thunk?

This system was inspired by an observation on Philip Greenspun's website that the fewer things you have, the less exposure you have to lawsuits. This was not a particular concern of mine, but annoyance reduction was, and living in apartments and moving every few years left me pulling my hair out and screaming, "How did I get so much *crap*?" You're supposed to purge before moves, but I didn't want to wind up getting rid of things under duress. Greenspun mentions the story of a lawyer who set a limit on his possessions at 100 (shoes count as two), but that seemed to arbitrary, and I wanted to ease into it.

One interesting effect is that things that you couldn't part with earlier seem less attractive as you work your pile down.

Your thoughts?

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Post by ThomsonsPier » Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:03 pm

I like your uncluttered thinking. I will probably try this; parts of my house resemble a tip and I'm sure I don't use half the stuff that's lying around. I think my hoarding instincts are left over from when I was a poor student.

I'd change the name were I you; the One-A-Day Thing Diet would seem to imply that you're eating your junk rather than throwing it away...

It's a trick. Get an axe.

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Re: Introduction, One-A-Day Thing Diet

Post by urbansix » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:03 pm

afeman wrote: If I get something new, I put it in parentheses that day and get rid of two to make it up.
I love that! We have been doing something similar to limit the amount of toys the kids accumulate - for every new toy they receive, they get to choose an equal old toy to be donated or disposed of, to make room for the new. Some of those decisions can be hard for a kid, but the new toy usually wins. Still it merely maintains the status quo. Your superior 2 for one idea moves the clutter in the right direction. (Don't know if my kids will like it, but it'll be used as a threat at least hehe :lol: )

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Post by reinhard » Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:02 pm

nice idea...

I've found that recording "Financial Confessions" has reduced both clutter and spending over the last few months. Though with two small children, to some extent, the task is hopeless :-)

The principle of introducing a limit to crowd junk out is useful even (maybe even especially) with non-physical things. Like my 3x5 index cards for daily tasks -- anything that doesn't fit has to wait till tomorrow. Great pacing tool. I've extended "task throttling" to bigger picture stuff too, which I'm hoping to get a podcast about later this month.

I've enjoyed reading Philip Greenspun's technical and non-technical stuff for many years now. His now defunct company used to be across the street from my house.


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Post by roseha » Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:48 am

This is a great idea, I just thought of adding de-clutter to my Habit Cal! Even one thing is something - I have been in my apartment over 20 years and sometimes I come across things I didn't remember I had. At times like that I know I should toss but doing it is the hard part. Maybe I should make it 5 a day? To make up for all the junk mail that comes in :)

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Post by afeman » Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:08 pm

roseha wrote:Maybe I should make it 5 a day? To make up for all the junk mail that comes in :)
I realize you're probably kidding, but I find that pacing yourself makes it much easier. You can also get ahead and have some crap you've thrown out "in reserve" for dry spells, when you're not inspired.

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