Friday, March 26, 2010

How to simplify your stuff in two steps

From a minimalist standpoint, past year has been a radical change for me. I've gotten rid of so much stuff and now I would dread having to go back to a stuff accumulated lifestyle (I did not see that one coming). Getting rid of your things is one of the most freeing experiences you can imagine. The caveat is that it can also very emotion laden.

Many times I would hesitate, holding an object in my hand, just trying to rationalize and find some pseudo-excuse to keep it. This process was long and arduous, but most fell by way of the donation bin.

Here are the guidelines I've used to boil down to what I need:
Before you start clearing up your clutter, have two bins: a trash bin and a donate/sell bin.

1) Trash the obvious. We see those scraps of papers lying around, wrappers of what-not's, things that clearly should be in the trash can but are not. These things are the easiest to get rid of.

2) Out with the old. You ever had that article of clothing that just took up space under the delusion that you might where it? I have these neon orange vest, which keeps me so warm during the winter time. I've had it for three years and have worn it about 10 times. I had to be honest with myself and placed it in the donation bin.

A good rule of thumb is to think "will I use this within three months?"
If not, get rid of it. Sell it or donate it.

The key to this is that you have to be ruthless. There is no "what if's," "maybe's," or "just in case's." Either you use it or you don't.

From these two steps, it's just a matter of pushing your comfort zone and seeing what is really "necessary." This process is really great if you plan on any extended traveling.

This may seem easy, but it is a tough cookie. I'm still in the midst of culling what I own. Good luck and congrats to any aspiring minimalists who are willing to take first steps

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