Minimalism [1 In, 1 Out Rule]
[1 In, 1 Out Rule]
SUPERHUMAN SCORE: 8.6
“Where’s all your stuff?”
This is often the first question my GF and I get asked when visitors enter our Vermont home.
The next comment is typically about the peace and calm they feel.
Backstory: We moved up here in 2020 during the pandemic (from NYC).
It was an incredible opportunity to declutter and intentionally design our space.
Now we couldn’t imagine living any other way.
In every edition of System Sunday, I assess the featured system across four superhuman dimensions: impact, setup, maintenance, and aesthetics.
Unlike your typical product review, I focus on factors that influence personal growth. Get to know the evaluation system.
Minimalism is the disciplined pursuit of less.
Why is minimalism important?
- An uncluttered space cultivates an uncluttered mind.
- You can avoid the hedonic treadmill—pursuing one pleasure after another without experiencing any material change in happiness.
- If you own less, you have more options and freedom. Have you ever felt that a possession owns you rather than the other way around?
Perhaps you agree that minimalism is desirable.
But how can you actually achieve it?
Let’s dive in.
The first step is to declutter.
Here are a few tactical questions to help:
- Marie Kondo encourages us to ask ourselves, “Does this spark joy?” Eliminate the things that do not. The inevitable result? An environment that makes you happy.
- In behavioral economics, the endowment effect describes our tendency to value possessions beyond their market value (contributing to our inability to get rid of items). A helpful question to eliminate the bias: “If I did not own this item, how much would I pay to obtain it?”
- And, finally, one of the best pieces of advice I got from a mentor: Think of your possessions like curating a museum. What you choose to exclude from the experience is just as influential (if not more) than what you choose to include. So, ask yourself, “Would I want this in my museum?” Act “as if” you’re a curator, and it becomes surprisingly easy to start curating.
OK, you have everything you need to declutter.
Now you’re ready for a plan to stay minimalist.
Minimalism is a dual discipline.
It’s crucial to manage both inbound and outbound possessions to enjoy equilibrium.
- Choose Quality > Quantity. Purchase less; love every single item more.
- If you purchase one item, then donate, toss, or sell another (1 item in, 1 item out rule).
- Algorithms to Live By offers guidance on what to throw out via the Least Recently Used (LRU) Principle: “Evicting the item that’s gone the longest untouched.” Past usage is a strong predictor of future behavior.
I’m not saying it’s easy, but it IS worth it.
As Steve Jobs once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
BRINGING IT HOME
TL;DR: How to Go Minimalist
- Declutter: Get to Baseline
- Manage Inbound Items with Quality > Quantity
- Manage Outbound Items with 1 In, 1 Out Rule
- Enjoy equilibrium
Your environment is either creating clarity or complexity.
Make minimalism your path to clarity in 2023.
All systems go,
P.S. If you’re enjoying the free newsletter, it’d mean the world to me if you share it with others. System Sunday just launched, and every single referral helps. Thank you!
- Share System Sunday on Twitter , LinkedIn, Facebook, or via email .
- Or, share by copying and pasting the link: https://systemsunday.com/all-systems-go