The American dream is a trap, but freedom is within reach.

There are many voices which strongly encourage us to bring things into the home - our needs, wants, and our exposure to marketing (the process of promoting, selling, and distributing a product). But few and far between are the voices which encourage us to remove thing from the home.

Just as the Roman Empire brought a common language and prevalent roads which facilitated the spreading of the gospel, America is full of efficiencies and opportunities, which can be used in a beneficial or harmful way. It takes a deliberate effort to counter the strong influences of society.

The minimalism mindset

This mindset is necessary not in order to live an austere life, but rather:

Getting down to it

When purging, I use the test of "do I use it frequently" and "can I live without it". You will have to come up with your own interpretation of this concept.


Be aggressive with getting rid of what you don't need. One technique is to pull everything out of an area and then only put back what you really need, like clothes in a closet. When you are waffling on a decision, think "someone else would appreciate this item much more than I would." Don't analyze how to dispose of things at this time. Move those things to a different room. Fine tune what is left and organize it. When I process an area for the first time, I love it when I can get rid of at least half of the items - the remaining items are much easier to organize and consolidate. Otherwise you are just moving things around from one place to another.

Do you keep and wear boring clothes? Do you rotate between wearing items of clothing so each item feels wanted and not left out? I have done this, but I suspect that my clothes don't have feelings.


If you are able, shift your thinking around selling items which have value. Try to expand the kinds of things you are willing to give away - be willing to give away items which are more valuable. It's faster to give things away than it is to sell them, and it also feels better. It takes a long time to earn $200 by selling $20 items. I remember when I gave away a nice framed mirror worth $60 - and that felt like a stretch. Instead of hesitating to give something away because it has monetary value, let the value encourage you to give it away, so someone will be even more blessed.

I like to try to give things away in this order: Benefits Swedish Death Cleaning

This is downsizing your things in anticipation of dying. But you can start at any age. I wonder if this kind of cleaning is more effective while listening to Swedish thrash metal. Minimalism is not about death, but about living a better life. When you have fewer things, you can focus more on the people in your life.

Waiting Period

If you find an item that you are waffling around, put it in a box in the garage with a label "give away after X date" with a date that is 6 or 12 months away. I found this helpful with some spices and obscure single-purpose kitchen utensils.

And Then?

You have to decide what the minimalist mindset means to you, and then you can begin to take the steps to change your life.

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