In our August blog post we discussed the minimalist move and how best to prepare by planning and sorting. Now we move on to decluttering! Follow the general rules of decluttering. One of the most difficult parts of a minimalist move (and minimalism in general) is saying goodbye to things that you’ve carried with you for a long time. But just because something has been in your possession for years doesn’t mean it has value. The following guidelines will help you speed up the decluttering process and figure out what really matters to you. Don’t keep an item just because you think you should. Guilt has no place in minimalism. If you’re holding on to a pair of hideous earrings your aunt gave you for your birthday a few years ago just because you don’t want to risk hurting her feelings, let it go. There’s a very strong chance she’ll never be the wiser. Don’t keep an item that causes you misery. Everything you own should lift you up, not weigh you down. Don’t hold onto things that cause you distress, like mementos from failed relationships or clothing that you want to fit into but can’t. Those sorts of items carry heavy, negative energy, and there’s no place for them in a happy life. Don’t keep an item you haven’t used in a year and don’t plan to use in a year. Many ultra-minimalists swear by the 90/90 rule—if you haven’t used an item in 90 days and don’t plan to use it in the next 90 days, toss it. For those of us just starting out or a little less extreme in our minimalism, a year is a good marker to go by. For clothing, ditch the second half of the rule and just follow the first: if you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it. Don’t keep an item you wouldn’t buy again. If there’s an item you wouldn’t go out and buy now if you didn’t already own it, is it really serving a useful purpose in your life? Sometimes we just get used to the stuff around us without really thinking about why we have it. So think about it, and if you can’t imagine yourself going out to buy an item then you can probably safely assume it’s because you don’t need it. Consider temporary storage. It’s inevitable that you’re going to come across items that you know you don’t need but you still can’t quite bring yourself to get rid of. For those sorts of things it’s helpful to get rid of them temporarily and see how things go while knowing you have the option to get them back. Most of the time, you’ll realize pretty quickly that you don’t actually miss them all that much. This is particularly useful for sentimental items like childhood stuffed animals and books, or gifts from other people. We offer on-site, climate controlled storage to keep your belongings safe and accessible! Take a practice run at parting with these sorts of items by setting aside a box for temporary storage and setting them in there. You don’t have to actually store it, but don’t bring the box into your new home either. Ask a friend if you can keep it with them for a couple of months or just keep it in the trunk of your car. And remember: saying goodbye to these things doesn’t have to mean destroying them. Once you realize what you truly don’t need, find the items new life and new purpose by donating them to people who can appreciate them. Set goals. You can probably find a way to justify keeping just about anything if you really set your mind to it. To keep yourself accountable, set some concrete goals for how much you want to get rid of and then stick to them. You can set goals by item—say, getting rid of a third of your clothes—or by amount—for instance filling up one extra-large box with donations. Setting goals helps turn minimalism into less of a chore and more of a game, with the reward for achieving your objective that you have fewer things to carry around with you. A minimalist move doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If it’s too overwhelming to think about completely decluttering your life before a move (or if you just don’t have time to go through your items so extensively), you can do just a little bit and still make a difference. There are so many benefits to simply having less stuff, and easier, less stressful moves are a big one. So get on board the minimalist move trend and find out just how much you can gain when you lose your stuff!