Instead, we’re about to walk you through The Purge, which is going to be just as effective as an insurance fire when it comes to becoming minimalist. You may also end up increasing your personal feeling of freedom and enjoying more of the things already around you.
This mission will take a full day of your time, and potentially even two. This makes it a great weekend project. Add it to your calendar and take it seriously: open the windows, crank up the music, and keep the TV off. Let’s roll.
STEP ONE: OUTLINE EVERY SECTION OF YOUR LIFE IN A LIST
Everyone is different, but many of us share common sections of our lives. For our CNQR’rs, we’ve created an excellent starting point for this list. Remember, your mind, body, and life are all included in the minimalism purge. Customize this list by adding or removing sections relevant to you.
How does your list look? If you have kids, you might have to add in additional rooms. If you are living with family, you might not have as much control over the home. This list may seem overwhelming at first, but with an entire day you’d be amazed at how far you can go.
STEP TWO: GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP AND START WORKING THROUGH THE LIST
Here’s how the purge really works:
2b. Eliminate AGAIN
3. Clean & Organize
Let’s use an example. Everyone has a bedroom, so we will start there. In the gather phase, make a mess. Take it all out of your closet, empty your drawers, and throw it all on your bed or in the center of the room.
Now, eliminate. And seriously, eliminate. Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, says to pick up every single item and hold it in your hands. If it does NOT bring you true, deep-down JOY, toss it. If you haven’t worn it in a month, toss it (or donate it of course, but put it in bag and put it in your trunk. Don’t hang it back up saying I’ll donate this later). Even if it has a little sentimental value, does it really make you happy to own it?
We’re talking about getting rid of 90% of the things you own.
And after that, eliminate again. We guarantee there was something you were on the fence about, and decided to keep. Go through it one more time, and try and throw out a few more things.
Finally, clean & organize. Vacuum the carpet and wipe down the furniture before putting things back. Each thing needs a place. One shelf for your books, one section of your closet for your shirts, one tub for your sports equipment. Then, take a moment to survey your kingdom, and move onto the next section.
So, how does this work for more intangible things? For your goals or your learning, the process is exactly the same. Write down a huge list of the things you want to accomplish. Take out what isn’t going to help you live a happier and healthier life, and combine the things that could work together.
Then, pick just ONE goal to start working towards each day, and organize your schedule to find a place for your habit. Choose just a few meals to pre-cook on Sunday for grab-and-go through the week. Write down a strength metric like pullups on a whiteboard, and just do one more every single day.
Get through ALL of this in a weekend. Imagine flopping down on the couch on Sunday night with everything in order.
STEP THREE: CAREFULLY VET EACH NEW THING THAT COMES INTO YOUR LIFE
The Purge is a one time thing, but becoming minimalist is a lifestyle. Every day, there are more commercials, more promotional products, more coupons, more entertainment, more decorations. You’ve got to be a ruthless gatekeeper for your life.
There are a few cool hacks to make this process of vetting a little easier. When online shopping or in a physical store for a high end item, don’t buy it that day. Walk out of the store, sleep on it, and see how you feel tomorrow. Buy quality products that you will take care of and don’t need to replace often. Feel comfortable saying no to social or work engagements that will make you feel too busy or not able to be your best.
We hope you go through The Purge, and even return to it once a quarter or once a year. If you’d like to take the fast track to becoming minimalist, check out the Minimalist Living Checklist. Inside The Minimalist Living Checklist, we’ve created an exact list of every item a person might need to live an extremely freeing life. If you want to skip all the difficult work of sorting through each item, just work through the checklist and toss everything else.