Rules to Live By for a Decluttered Life

It’s clear that keeping a clean, decluttered and organized space can assist with alignment and goal achievement, but how does one go about creating and maintaining that space? We’ve gathered some of the most critical habits that can help you to declutter your life.  Implemented on an ongoing basis, these rules can ensure that you maintain a clear and uncluttered space.

Ensure each and every item you own serves you. Every item you own should be of value to you, either assisting you in achieving your goals in one way or another, or helping you to be prepared to conquer the world emotionally, spiritually or intellectually.

Calculate opportunity cost in relation to your income. Seriously, take your annual income, divide it by the number of hours you work in a year (for a full-time employee, that is 2,080 hours per year). This is your current rate of earnings (per hour). Now, put your purchase into a context relevant to your money. Is that $300 leather jacket worth 10.5 hours (a day and a half) of your time spent working? Are those new sneakers actually worth the effort it will take you to earn their cost?

Focus on experiences over things. While everyone needs certain critical items to exist, we can be emboldened to shift our concept of what brings us joy from items to experiences. In doing this, our spending habits change. How can a trip or exposure to a new cultural experience (or new learning) grow your awareness and better inform your happiness? Is the item you wanted more important than the experience you could have had as an alternative?

Keep a 30-Day Rule on New Items. Take your time to evaluate whether you need these items, or whether you simply want them. How will owning this product– going through with this coveted purchase– improve your process or enhance your wellbeing? If the answer is “it won’t,” or “I don’t know,” then it’s ever clear that you are in the “want” category. This does not diminish the purchase, but it does reclassify it, and make your 30-day wait even more important. After that time is over, if you still want it as badly as you did at the beginning and you are willing to sacrifice the money for that, go ahead and purchase it.

Keep a 1:1 ratio of in/out. Think of your space as a bucket of water, filled almost to the top: as you bring things into the house and (drop ice into the bucket), you would need to remove something from the water to ensure that your bucket does not overflow. While it may not be visually clear that your space is overflowing now, note that the water in your bucket is your space to breathe, think, and create. The ice is but a clutter taking away from that space.

Everything has a purpose. Because the items in your bucket are taking away from your space to breathe, they should each have a purpose that not only aligns with your goals but also furthers your wellbeing.

Everything has its own space. So everything in your home has a purpose, but does it have a place? If its place cannot be established, then its purpose should be questioned. Could something already present offer the same use or benefit?

Clear it out before you replenish- cabinets, clothes (use them). Before you begin to add things to your closet or to your pantry, be sure to exhaust the resources you’ve already gathered. Use what you have before you go out to purchase more?!

Fix it and research your way through. Things break. Material rips and wears through, soles become worn, and items snap and break off. These are things you’ve determined to have purpose, though, and that you’ve invested in purchasing, owning, placing, and maintaining. Why not patch, resole, or otherwise repair the item you’ve found such great use for? Doing so will not only extend the utility of your items, but it will save you money: sometimes fixing a computer or sewing on a patch really does render an item good as new.

Buy what you like. Even though you’re living a clutter-free, or even minimalist lifestyle, doesn’t mean that you have to live in deprivation. In fact, depriving yourself of the things you enjoy only shortens the lifespan of your lifestyle. Consider ensuring that the things you keep in your life are things for which you not only find a purpose, but that you enjoy.

Apply these rules to your relationships, too. Surround yourself with people who bolster you and encourage your success. When you consider adding people, give them a waiting prior to be sure they really are permanent fixtures. Use the term “friend” judiciously and for those who’ve earned it, hold them close. When you limit the access people have to you– counting your true and closest friends on your fingers– you also limit drama in your life. You’ve ensured that every single person has a role and a purpose, and every one is worth investing in wholly and without reservation.

Peace of mind, clarity in your energy expenditures, and freedom to live as your best self.  



What habits have you found most helpful in maintaining the clarity in your space?

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