The Magic Number

The Magic Number

The Magic Number is a term used across a variety of contexts – mathematical, sporting, and programming, to name just a few. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “a figure regarded as significant in a particular context”. Today, we’re looking at it in the context of stuff. Importantly, your stuff. 

Whether it’s the number of shoes you own, platters for entertaining guests, or kids’ drink bottles, determining the magic number is a great tool to use in decluttering and organisation. 

So how exactly do you determine the magic number of any particular item? Well, firstly, it’s important to dispel the myth that there’s just one right number. We all lead different lives which means we all have different needs. Those needs will impact the magic number in different ways. Ultimately, it comes down to a little idealism mixed with a reasonable dose of reality.

Let’s look at these scenarios:

ONE / 

IdeallyGary and Diane’s magic number of mugs may be four. There are just two of them at home that enjoy a morning cuppa and an evening tea. Once used, their mugs are loaded into the dishwasher with the rest of the dishes, and each night they put the dishwasher on. The next morning, Gary and Diane have four clean mugs ready for use again. 

Add realityDiane has a lovely friend that drops in a couple of times a week wanting a chat over a late morning coffee. Gary has also started to get a little forgetful of late, resulting in a missed dishwasher cycle from time to time. So that they aren’t caught without clean mugs, Gary and Diane decide it’d be helpful to have two additional mugs. Therefore, their magic number of mugs is six. 

TWO / 

Sarah and Jay lead busy lives juggling full-time work and two active school-aged boys. As parents of boys know, there’s rarely a day when a uniform can be worn a second time over. Ideally, their magic number of uniforms would be three per son. However, Sarah and Jay want to maximise the time they spend with their boys after work, so they choose to wash weekly, with all loads completed over the weekend. Therefore, their magic number of uniforms is five per son.   


Frank and Pearl are downsizing their 4-bedroom family home to a 2-bedroom unit with a great view. Close to shops and transport and with no yard to mow, they’re looking forward to having more time with friends and family. Pearl is decluttering her linen cupboard and deciding how many towels they really need. She decides that one each in use and one each in the cupboard would work well for them. This way, even if a relative staysover, a spare towel will still be available. Her magic number of towels is four. 

As you can see, working out the magic number isn’t as simple as following a specific formula. It’s more so finding the point where minimalism and your lifestyle intersect. This way, you’ll have a solution that truly works best for you and your family. 

If you’d like to find your magic number with the help of one of our Professional Organisers, simply give us a call on 1300 737 121 today! 

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