The Rule of 1 is a very simple concept: you only need one item of a particular type to get a certain task done. It may seem inconsequential, but you’d be surprised how much redundancy you can find around your home or office once you start looking. Following this rule is a great way to reduce clutter, maximize your productivity, and avoid becoming a packrat all at once. The idea behind it is very simple, but the effects can be profound. Streamline your decision-making process by reducing your options. You don’t have to feel limited, you can always update and replace if you feel the need. But keep your space simple and you will know exactly how you will accomplish your tasks. Here are a few examples.

Office Equipment

Depending on your office set-up, you should only need one piece of equipment for your personal use. This goes for all things that you use in your office space. Staplers, notebooks, telephones, bobble-heads, whatever! Keep the clutter to a minimum by maintaining only a few pieces of equipment and avoiding heaps of decorations. This will save you time while you work, as you’ll know exactly where the one item is and if it is properly working.


Technology is a great place to practice the rule of one. With planned obsolescence, we have new computers and devices before we’ve even opened the last one we bought. Don’t fall for the glimmer of new items. Keep one device and take good care of it. This will help you keep all your date in one place and also save you money. A great example is the iPhone. It can be nice to have a back-up, but multiple devices and multiple phones can get tiresome in a hurry. Besides devices, think about your speakers or your chargers or your e-Reader or your camera. Take good care of the one you’ve got and it will pay off. How many old pieces of technology do you need in your drawers?


The rule of one can really bring together a room in your home. Besides a few special circumstances, it’s important to maximize the space you have by choosing furniture carefully. There are many packrats who fall victim to saving furniture for so long that they slowly lose rooms of their house to the creeping piles of inanimate objects. Some call it feng shui, but keeping a room simple with one item of each type will greatly improve the flow of your space. One couch, one desk, one chair, one table, etc. This is especially important with limited space, but even big spaces can become more vibrant with room to move around and appreciate the indoors.