The fear of missing out is scary.
It is so scary that it has penetrated every aspect of our lives.
Fear of not having.
Fear of not knowing.
Fear of not doing it right.
How about the fear of regret?
“Why didn’t I do something that will last?”
“Why did I waste time and money on this?”
“Why wasn’t I as bold as my dreams were?”
This article will not try to convince you to quit your job so you can sail the world.
It will not try to convince you to leave only one shirt in the wardrobe, so you don’t waste time on choosing a daily outfit.
Neither will it try to convince you to boycott “the evil capitalism” and survive on self-sustainment.
Instead, this article will give you the basics of decluttering your life in three steps.
Because guides on minimalism should be minimal, don’t you think?
You know the famous saying that the first step to solving a problem is realizing that one exists?
There are many signs that there is a problem in your life.
You might feel emotionally spent, stressed, distracted, self-doubting, empathic and lifeless.
You likely think that something is lacking while the problem is that something is in excess — stress.
You just have too much of it.
The journey to freeing your lifestyle begins with the admission that you are packing more than you can fit.
Pinpoint your “wasters”
Sit down and go over your typical day.
Can you give up activities that do not fulfill you?
Perhaps, cut out expenses that are burning a hole in your pocket without bringing you joy?
The assessment part of decluttering your life is all about the purpose behind your current way of living.
Of course, it is hard to give up on any habit let alone a bad one.
But once you find the time to break it down and define its purpose, giving it up becomes a breeze.
To make finding a purpose easier, ask “who.”
Who benefits from this behavior?
Is it you?
Or do you try to impress somebody else?
If it’s so, are you receiving the same effort from the other side?
Henry Ford said that
vision without execution is just hallucination.
Boy, was he right!
After pinpointing your “wasters,” it is time for the fun part.
Do it without the ifs
The “what-if” combination is an unmatchable adversary to the clutter-free lifestyle.
“What if I get invited to a throwback party? Then I will need this pair of jeans that I haven’t worn in five years.”
“What if there is a zombie apocalypse and I can’t get to the store? Then I will need this bag of complimentary hotel shampoos.”
If you did the assessment part right then you should be ready to stand up to the “what-if.”
The beginning is the hardest
I remember when I had to part with a favorite shirt for the first time.
It was worn-out, poorly fitting and misshaped.
I kept it in the back of the wardrobe “just in case.”
One day, with a pumping heart, I committed to throwing out all the stuff that I hadn’t used in a long time.
I reluctantly got into the elevator, my hand holding a bag full of “just in case” clothing.
Before I knew it, I was standing in front of the trash bin contemplating the wiseness of the act that I was about to do.
My hand raised.
The bag wiggled as if trying to go back to the back of my wardrobe.
“I am stronger than you,” I yelled, as a swift move of my hand threw the impostor where it belonged.
Full disclosure: I didn’t really yell at a trash bag at a public place.
It was liberating.
Like the feeling you get when you end up a toxic relationship.
After purging my garments, I moved on to other stuff.
Souvenirs, accessories, gadgets.
If an item brought the “what-if,” it was definitely going to go.
You’ve pointed finger at your “wasters” and eliminated them.
You are halfway there.
What’s left is commitment.
And it’s easier than you think.
Remember I told you the beginning is the hardest part?
Once you feel the liberation of not assigning artificial importance to objects, it becomes way easier to put a value on “experiences, not things.”
However, while it might seem that once you throw out your first “what if” object it is all downhill from there, beware.
Overdoing your lifestyle liberation might quickly turn into emotional bulimia.
Living a minimalistic life is not about giving up emotions, feelings or attachments.
Rather it is a way of assigning them whenever and wherever they matter.
In other words — lifestyle liberation is about prioritizing your attachments so you can gain more fulfillment from objects that are worth it, while simultaneously giving up high-attachment/low-value objects that require more maintenance than they can provide joy.
The line between what goes in the “stay” vs. “go” folder might be very thin or very thick, depending on your situation.
As Tim Ferris puts it in his bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek think about
are you having a breakdown or a breakthrough.
You can drop the sandbags that keep your lifestyle flying low by following three steps: assessing “wasters,” eliminating them and maintaining your achievements.
Remember, though, to keep a balance.
Dropping off too much will leave you hanging above the clouds, with a lost sight of the ground.
You don’t want that.
A white room with a few colorful accents is way better than a blank white space that looks the same from every angle.
Have you defined your “wasters”?
What are you doing about them?
Share your experiences in the comment field below the article.
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Also published on Medium.