Since Minimalism May is barreling down on us, I thought I’d pass along a hint on how to live through it and happily ever after it. First of all, if you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, check out my ramblings under the Packrat to Minimalist section. They explain how I came to be a Minimalist (if only minimally) as well as my first experience with Minimalism May.
Looking back, I should have explained a bit more about the whole philosophy. The idea isn’t just to get rid of your stuff. The idea is to get rid of stuff that doesn’t add value to your life, but “value” means different things to different people. If your twenty-year collection of empty Girl Scout Thin Mint boxes makes you happy, the Minimalists would tell you to keep it. They’d most likely scratch their heads over your decision, but they wouldn’t bash yours in for choosing to hang onto your little cardboard darlings.
The problem is that sometimes we don’t really know what adds value to our lives. We’re like Old Man Warner in Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery.” We hang on to what we hang on to because, dang it, we’ve always hung on to it and never question if “it” is good or bad for us.
Luckily, the Minamalists have a rule to help with that: the 90/90 Rule. Choose a possession, any possession, and ask yourself if you’ve used it in the last 90 days or if you have plans to use it in the next 90. For the mathematically challenged, that’s a six-month window of “use opportunity.” If you can’t “yes” to either question, you should lose the item. If six months is too restrictive, choose your own timespan. Just be reasonable–and honest–with yourself. I mentioned the 90/90 Rule to the Goat the other day, and he said he’d gladly go along for the ride if 90/90 could refer to months. Taking my cue from the Minimalist guys, I refrained from bashing his head in although my hand was itching to do just that.
On a brighter note, my foray into active Minimalism last year prompted the Goat to cull his own possessions. His closet is much neater now, but what I’d really like him to do a 90/90 on–counted as days, not months!–is his half of our storeroom. I’ll let you know how it goes!
As for the picture on the right, I don’t have a clue how I missed all that stuff last year, but I know where I’ll be on May 1–and from the looks of things, several days after that! I have my starting point. Where is yours? What part of your house needs a 90/90?