Rules can be arbitrary, restrictive, boring—but they are often helpful when we hope to make a change.
Whenever we attempt to simplify our lives, we often get stuck before we get started. When faced with a hoard of possessions—some useful, others not—it is difficult to determine what adds value and what we’re holding on to just in case, which makes letting go nearly impossible without some sort of rules to move us in the right direction.
Here’s one that has worked for us: Look at a possession. Pick something. Anything. Have you used that item in the last 90 days? If you haven’t, will you use it in the next 90? If not, then it’s okay to let go.
Maybe your rule isn’t 90 days. Maybe it’s 120. Maybe it’s six months. Whatever your rule, be honest with yourself. If your material possessions don’t serve a purpose or bring you joy, then they are likely in the way of a more meaningful life.
Read this essay and 150 others in our new book, Essential.