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The Rule of One

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I had three pairs of sunglasses… and none of them were great. All of them had been purchased spontaneously or had come to me by chance. I had the pair I bought in Tokyo for twenty dollars because I forgot to pack sunglasses, then there was the pair I bought at a gas station on a road trip to LA, and the random pair someone left at my house. My brother, Max, who always invests in the best, asked me, “why don’t you follow your own advice and get one really good, high-quality pair and ditch the rest?”

Of course he was right. After we spoke, I went to Nordstrom and tried on several pairs, and then invested in a beautiful pair that fit the shape of my face and had just the right amount of UV protection. The new sunglasses even came in a beautiful leather case which now lives in my everyday handbag, so I always know just where to find them.

And here’s the part I love the most – when you only have one high-quality object, you take care of it, you treat it with respect, and it’s super easy to keep track of it.

This whole episode got me thinking, how could I apply this rule of one to other areas of my home and life?

Beauty Products

This one is a game changer.  Instead of cluttering up my bathroom with dozens of drugstore products, I love splurging on one high-quality item at a time: one nice shampoo, one nice bottle of lotion, one mascara. This rule allows me to invest in really high-quality products and eliminates so much waste and clutter. Now I save money and have nicer products!

Kitchen Gadgets

Listen to me now! You only need one wine opener, can opener, garlic press, lemon zester – you get the picture. The rule of one can help you streamline your kitchen and simplify your life. Have five wine openers? Pick your favorite one and donate the rest!

Wardrobe Essentials

I can’t tell you how many times I have bought cheap versions of an item, again and again, until I finally splurged on the item I really wanted in the first place that was “too expensive.” Example – say, you don’t want to spend $100 on really nice workout leggings so you buy a pair for $30. Then you don’t really like them, or they fall apart, so you buy a few more pairs to try. None of them work out, and now you’ve spent nearly $100 for three items you don’t like or wear. Wouldn’t it make more sense to invest in one nice pair from the start? I think so. Try applying the rule of one to your closet, and you’ll quickly elevate your wardrobe and streamline your space.


This year, my mentor urged me to pick one goal for the year. My brain went a little crazy wanting to argue with her, but now, in retrospect, I have to admit she was right. This year my goal was to create a virtual program and use it to help women all over the world. It was a lot of work, and took most of my energy and attention, but I did it and it was worth it. I can see now that if I had added on the other five goals I had wanted to include, my energy would have been scattered and less focused. Pick one goal. Nail it. Then, and only then, move on to the next one.


Try this: Pick the most important task for your day, the thing that really has to get done no matter what.  Just one thing.  What is it?  How long do you think it will take you to complete it?  Find a block of time in your day that will accommodate the time needed for this task and put it in your calendar.  Make it a different color than your normal entries.  Set your intention that no matter what, you are getting this one thing done, and when the scheduled time arrives, get focused and do it.

Have you ever tried the “Rule of One”? Where can you apply it to your life?

Images: Vivian Johnson Photography 

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6 comments on “The Rule of One

  1. Thank you for this post. I had my lazy day planned and now rethinking it.

    I have two pair of sunglasses (Vuarnet, which I LOVE and the proverbial gas station pair which have lasted numerous years and love the shape). I could see buying another great pair of sun glasses and leaving the Vuarnets in the car. To me, sunglasses are utilitarian and at times having an emergency pair on hand is important for safety reasons (driving).

    Weeding out my home and having one is actually scary (what if I run out…)!

  2. This is both hilarious and brilliant! Thank you! While i do have multiple sunglasses for the many places/settings for which i need them, the best ones were found (and two of those were fancy 🙂 But yes, less really is more, and it’s so true when packing a suitcase, too.

  3. I do love this concept and yet I have the scouting mentality about being prepared. I’ve gotten in jams and haven’t been able to find a replacement quickly. So, not having some back-up makes me nervous. I agree that it’s more likely that I’ll take care of items, but then, my kids are often responsible for the damage. Maybe there are some things that are important that need back-ups? Just a thought…and wonder what those things might be…

    1. Hi Jennifer!

      Of course it’s up to you what you keep and what items you invest in to have as “back-up,” but I want to suggest that you can also choose to believe you will be totally fine even if things do get lost or damaged. What if you trusted that you will always have exactly what you need?

  4. Hello
    I got to your blog through Brooke Castillo Podscast, which I loved.
    I have a question on glasse. I love this accessories and I have more than one, but I realo love all of them. However I dont have an Idea how to stock them. Any advise on that?

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