Those of us that wish to build ever-growing cash flow and wealth would do well to take a minimalist approach to life once in a while. We all try to keep spending in check, but I think it would be useful to try some positive challenges on minimalism from time to time.
So, here’s a sporadic series of articles outlining some challenges that we can take to improve our financial situation and even more importantly to increase our appreciation of other aspects of life.
Minimalist Challenge #3: De-clutter
Minimalist challenge number three is to pick one room where you live and to completely clean and de-clutter it.
Many people have homes where “stuff” is stored in every nook and cranny, under every bed, in every closet, and in every drawer. Physical clutter leads to mental clutter, and mental clutter leads people to look back one day and wonder why they haven’t accomplished some of the major things that they once planned to do in life. When we phase out stuff that is not important and that weighs us down, we are free to focus our energy into actions, passions, and goal completion. I prefer to focus on achieving rather than maintaining, so I make sure my maintenance is low.
-Pick a room and clean and de-clutter it. How far you want to go is up to you, but the change should be somewhat dramatic. Focusing on a single room at a time is common advice because it works. It starts paying off right away, and makes sure that an endless cycle of action without completion doesn’t form.
-During the process of de-cluttering a room, you may end up having to move stuff to other rooms which will temporarily make them a little more cluttered. This is fine, because you have to start somewhere.
-Try making piles of things found in the room, with one pile of things you’re going to get rid of, one pile of things you need or want to keep in that room, and a third pile of things you are going to move to another room.
-If you find that you’ve been storing stuff that you haven’t used for years, ask yourself for each object if you’re really ever going to use it. And then, if you say yes, ask yourself again. If you’re not seriously going to use it, get rid of it.
-It’s best to get a family member or friend to help you with this. Ask them to be more stringent and harsh than you when it comes to getting rid of your stuff so they can constantly offer a second opinion about whether you really need to keep something.
-Ideally, this challenge should be repeated for every room in your house, over time. During the process, stuff will be moved from one room to another, but you should never move things back into rooms you’ve completed. Eventually stuff runs out of places to hide.
-Having a streamlined living area makes a person reluctant to bring more clutter into it (and therefore hopefully makes people less likely to buy stuff they don’t need).