Remove the Clutter by Asking, “Is It Beautiful or Useful?”

Getting rid of the clutter is easy. You just carry it from home. It is more difficult to define what counts as a mess. If you are not sure that you can part with something, ask: “Is it beautiful or useful?”

As minimalist lifestyle site The Art of Simple explains, this handy phrase gives you two options for storing anything. Obviously, if something is useful, you need to save it. However, most of us have things that we keep to ourselves and for personal reasons. They may not be practical, but we find them beautiful. If your trash falls into one of these two categories, that’s enough to leave it behind. As for the rest? Give it up.

Get rid of absolutely everything that does not give life in your life. I ask myself a question about everything with my four walls: “Is this thing beautiful or useful?” If so, I will keep it guilt-free. If it’s not beautiful or useful (for me or for someone who lives with me), I ask: why am I saving this? Do I feel guilty about letting go? Am I holding on to “just in case”?

Of course, even then you will have to judge what really matters. If you try hard enough, you can probably find beauty in this fourth pair of toenail clippers in the bathroom, but deep down you know you’re kidding yourself. If you approach this mindset with some moderation, you have a convenient way to get rid of the trash while preserving what matters.

Three Truths About Decluttering: An Invitation | The art of the simple


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