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Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus help over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcast, and documentary. The Minimalists have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Forbes, TIME, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, CBC, and NPR.

5 Decluttering Tips

The Minimalists are not fans of so-called “listicles” because they are often over-simplistic, trite, vapid. Ergo, it is our policy to avoid them as much as possible.

But despite our allergic reaction, reporters and journals frequently ask us for “The Minimalists top decluttering tips” for folks considering minimalism. And so we often answer their quandary with a combination of the following guidance. (By the way, if you want to dive deeper—which we recommend—you may want to also visit our “Start Here” page.)

1. Question. Start your process by asking the most important question: “How might my life be better with less?” By answering this question, you will identify the benefits of letting go—not just the how-to, but the more important why-to. Of course, the benefits are different for each of us: for some people, they involve improved health or relationships; for others, the benefits are financial freedom or more time to create. Understanding the purpose of decluttering will grant you the leverage you need to keep going.

2. Start Small. Once you understand why you’re decluttering, you want to start small so that you can get the momentum you need. We recommend starting with the 30-Day Minimalism Game, which will make decluttering more fun by injecting some friendly competition into the mix.

3. Packing Party. Once you have momentum, let go of more stuff by throwing a Packing Party. Do it in one room or, if you’re feeling adventurous, your entire house!

4. Rules. If you need some guidance while letting go, consider the Just-in-Case Rule, the 90/90 Rule, and the 10/10 Material Possessions Theory to help you stay on track.

5. Organize. No matter where you are on your journey, always remember: The easiest way to organize your stuff is to get rid of most of it.

Watch our new documentary: Minimalism.