10 Easy Rules To Own Less Stuff

10 Easy Rules To Own Less Stuff

By decluttering our spaces and being mindful of our purchases, we can reduce stress, save money, and create more room for the things that truly matter. In this blog post, we’ll explore ten easy rules to help you own less stuff and enjoy the benefits of a clutter-free life.

Rule #1: One In, One Out

The “one in, one out” rule is a simple yet effective way to keep your possessions in check. Whenever you bring a new item into your home, commit to removing one you no longer need or use. This rule helps maintain a balance and prevents the accumulation of unnecessary items. For example, if you buy a new shirt, consider donating or selling an old one you haven’t worn. By following this rule consistently, you’ll be able to keep your belongings under control and avoid the temptation to hold onto items you don’t need.

Rule #2: Regularly Declutter

Decluttering is an essential part of owning less stuff. Set aside time regularly to review your possessions and identify items you no longer need or use. You can start small by tackling one room or area at a time, such as your closet or kitchen drawers. As you declutter, ask yourself if each item serves a purpose or brings you joy. If not, consider donating, selling, or discarding it. Establish a decluttering schedule, such as once a month or every season, to stay on top of clutter. Regular decluttering sessions will help you maintain a clutter-free space and make letting go of unnecessary items easier.

Rule #3: Be Mindful of Purchases

One of the most effective ways to own less stuff is to be mindful of what you bring into your home. Before making a purchase, ask yourself if the item is something you genuinely need or if it will add value to your life. Avoid impulse purchases by waiting at least 24 hours before buying something you’re unsure about. This cooling-off period will give you time to reflect on whether the item is worth the money and space it will occupy. Additionally, consider the long-term ownership costs, such as maintenance, storage, and eventual disposal. By being intentional about your purchases, you can avoid accumulating items that will eventually become clutter.

Rule #4: Prioritize Experiences Over Things

Instead of acquiring more possessions, prioritize experiences that bring you joy and create lasting memories. Invest in activities that align with your values and interests, such as travel, learning a new skill, or spending quality time with loved ones. Regarding gift-giving, consider experience-based gifts, such as concert tickets, cooking classes, or outdoor adventures. By shifting your focus from material possessions to experiences, you’ll find greater fulfillment and reduce the need for physical items that can contribute to clutter.

Rule #5: Embrace Minimalism

Minimalism is a lifestyle that emphasizes owning only what you need and value. By embracing minimalist principles, you can simplify your life and create more space for the things that truly matter. Start by identifying your essential possessions and letting go of items that don’t serve a purpose or bring you joy. Embrace a “less is more” mentality by focusing on quality over quantity. Choose versatile, well-made items that can serve multiple purposes and stand the test of time. As you adopt a minimalist mindset, you’ll need less to be happy and content.

Rule #6: Borrow, Rent, or Share

Before purchasing an item, consider whether you can borrow, rent, or share it instead. Many items, such as tools, books, and formal wear, can be borrowed from friends, family, or community organizations. Renting is another option for items you only need temporarily, such as camping gear or party supplies. Sharing resources with neighbors or joining a local sharing economy can also help reduce the need for individual ownership. By exploring these alternatives, you can access the items you need without the burden of long-term storage and maintenance.

Rule #7: Digitize When Possible

In the digital age, many physical items can be replaced with digital alternatives. Consider digitizing documents, photos, and media to reduce physical clutter and make your files more accessible. Scan important papers and store them securely in the cloud or an external hard drive. Convert your music and movie collections to digital formats, and opt for e-books instead of physical books when possible. By digitizing your belongings, you can free up physical space and make accessing and organizing your files more accessible.

Rule #8: Follow the 90/90 Rule

The 90/90 rule is a simple guideline to help you determine whether to keep or let go of an item. Ask yourself two questions: Have I used this item in the past 90 days? Will I use it in the next 90 days? If the answer to both questions is no, you can likely live without the item. This rule is beneficial for evaluating clothing, kitchen gadgets, and hobby supplies. Applying the 90/90 rule lets you quickly identify items taking up space without adding value to your life.

Rule #9: Practice Gratitude

Cultivating gratitude can help you appreciate what you already have and reduce the desire for more possessions. Take time each day to reflect on what you’re thankful for, such as your health, relationships, and experiences. Focusing on the abundance in your life will make you less likely to seek fulfillment through material possessions. Practice gratitude by journaling, sharing your appreciation with others, or simply taking a moment to acknowledge the good in your life. You’ll need less to be happy and content as you develop a grateful mindset.

Rule #10: Regularly Reassess Your Possessions

Owning less stuff is an ongoing process that requires regular reassessment. Set aside time periodically to evaluate your possessions and determine if they still serve a purpose or bring you joy. As your life circumstances change, so will your needs and priorities. Be willing to let go of items that no longer align with your current lifestyle or values. When assessing sentimental items, consider keeping only the most meaningful pieces or finding creative ways to preserve the memories without holding onto physical objects. Regularly reassessing your possessions ensures that your belongings continue to serve you well and don’t become a source of clutter.

Case Study: Marla’s Path to a Clutter-Free Life

Marla, a 42-year-old high school teacher, had always struggled with clutter in her home. Despite her best efforts to stay organized, she was constantly surrounded by piles of papers, unworn clothes, and unused household items. The chaos in her physical space began to take a toll on her mental well-being, leaving her feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

One day, Marla stumbled upon the concept of minimalism and decided to try it. She started small, dedicating just 15 minutes a day to decluttering her space. Marla focused on one room at a time, systematically sorting through her belongings and keeping only the items that truly brought her joy or served a practical purpose.

As Marla continued her decluttering journey, she discovered that the benefits extended far beyond a tidy home. She felt more focused and productive at work, as the clarity in her physical space translated to a clearer mind. Marla also noticed that she was saving money by being more mindful of her purchases and avoiding impulse buys.

Embracing minimalism became a transformative experience for Marla. She learned to let go of the things that no longer served her physically and emotionally. By simplifying her life and surroundings, Marla discovered a sense of peace and contentment she had never experienced before. She realized that true happiness comes not from the quantity of possessions but the quality of experiences and relationships in her life.

Key Takeaways

  • Owning less can lead to a simpler, more fulfilling life.
  • Use the “one in, one out” rule to prevent unnecessary accumulation.
  • Declutter regularly by identifying unused items and setting a schedule.
  • Be mindful of purchases and avoid impulse buys.
  • Prioritize experiences over material possessions.
  • Embrace minimalism by owning only what you need and value.
  • Consider borrowing, renting, or sharing instead of purchasing.
  • Digitize documents and media to reduce physical clutter.
  • Apply the 90/90 rule to decide whether to keep or let go of an item.
  • Practice gratitude to appreciate what you have and reduce your desire for more.
  • Regularly reassess possessions to ensure alignment with lifestyle and values.
  • Owning less is an ongoing journey requiring effort and a mindset shift.
  • The goal is to curate possessions that support values and bring joy.
  • Minimalism leads to greater freedom and peace of mind.
  • Start implementing these rules today for a clutter-free life.


Owning less stuff is a journey that requires intentional effort and a shift in mindset. By following these ten easy rules, you can simplify your life, reduce clutter, and create more space for the things that truly matter. Remember that the goal is not to deprive yourself but to curate a collection of possessions that support your values and bring you joy. As you embrace a more minimalist lifestyle, you’ll discover the freedom and peace of mind of owning less. Start implementing these rules today and take the first step towards a clutter-free life.