One in, One out.

Jason Chatfield
2 min readJan 9, 2023

A rule for life. For everything.

I have a finite amount of time. of attention. of space.

I live in a tiny Manhattan apartment, so I own exactly 100 things. I’ve stooped about every item of furniture in my home, so I have to use a very strict rule to keep that number at 100.

If I bring something new into the apartment (like that neat new mirror with a knob on it), I have to throw out something else to keep the equilibrium.

If I buy a book, I have to throw out a book. (believe me, this makes it way harder to buy books on a whim. You really have to want to buy the book if it means throwing out one of your keepers.) The same goes for crap I buy on Amazon. (I have a trick for making this more deliberate.)

The thing is, this rule has now gone from a physical rule to a mental and chronological rule:

  • If I subscribe to a new podcast, I have to unsubscribe to another one.
  • If I say yes to one commitment on my calendar, I have to say no to another.
  • If I take my dog out for a walk and he poops, I have to feed him breakfast.

You get it.

Try it and tell me if you find it useful.

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Jason Chatfield

New York-based Australian Comedian & Cartoonist for the New Yorker. Obsessed with productivity hacks, the creative process, and the Oxford comma.