Simplify: A Magna Carta

If you’ve read my post on magna cartas, or know what they are, then you already know where I’m headed with this post. If not, here’s a recap: When you start a new project, you make two lists. The first is what you want, the second is what you don’t. Do more of the things on the first list, and avoid the things on the second. There’s a bit more to it than that, but them’s the bare bones. Today is about my mantra to simplify: a magna carta for how I practice minimalism.

Simplify: A Magna Carta

People read some book or watch some talk show segment and get some specific idea about what minimalism is. They think they need to throw out everything they haven’t used for six months. Or maybe they put every inanimate object that doesn’t “speak” to them in a pile in the middle of the flood. They can’t own more than a hundred things. It’s about moving into a tiny house on the back of a trailer outside of Portland, Oregon. You do the think that the person who wrote the book or got interviewed on the talk show or did the TED Talk presentation did.

Yeah, no. Minimalism is just a tool to help you get rid of stuff you don’t need so you can make space for what you do need, and more importantly, for the things you want. “Stuff” isn’t just material possessions. It’s bad habits, pointless chores, and toxic relationships. It’s anything that’s eating up your time, energy, and resources that you can ditch to make more time, energy, and resource available for the things that matter to you.

Things to Get Rid Of

Let’s start with the list that should be easy, but never is. You can set your own criteria as to what, why, and how much to get rid of. It’s often based on the resource you need to expand. If you’re looking for an extra $50 a month in your budget, you look for expenses that meet or exceed that total. If you’re clearing out the garage to make room for a home gym, you know how much floor space you need to create. When you want to write for an hour a day, you get things off of your schedule to create that hour.

So maybe the first thing on this list is the goal: get rid of enough stuff to create X amount of resource. Then you can figure out what types of things you can edit from your life to achieve that. You don’t have to be extreme. You just need to fill the need. If you like the criteria you come up with, the filter you’re using, and it eliminates more, go for it. You might only need to find an extra foot of space in the closet. You decide to donate all clothes you haven’t worn in 3 years or longer. If that leave your with an extra 3 feet of space, enjoy!

Things to Keep

No one is making you sell off your comic book collection if you don’t want to. If it’s precious to you, keep it. This isn’t Hoarders. No one’s treating you like you’ve got twenty years of unread magazines and five dead cats entrenched in the living room. You’re making space for what you want. If what you want is more room for your comic book collection, that’s what you keep.

Obviously, prioritize. Keep what you need, and what you love. Keep only as many things as you use. Yes, have 20,000 comic books if that’s your thing, but do you need 6 pizza cutters and 14 bottle openers? Do you really need all of the single issues and all of the variant covers and the two different trade paperback anthologies? If the answer is yes, fine. If it’s no, edit.

You Do You

You need a magna carta so they you can define what’s important to you. Know why you need to get rid of things. Know what you treasure, and what you really can live without. Understand what you’re making room for, and focus on that rather than becoming attached to the things that need to be edited. Spending some time on a simplify magna carta before going on a spree will let you feel better about it before, during, and after your cleaning and editing project.

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After taking a hiatus to deal with some personal and professional necessities, I’m back to blogging regularly! All of the posts will adhere to the theme of simplify – create – thrive and living a simple, productive, and happy life. If you’d like to follow along, add your email to the box on the sidebar (if you’re on a laptop) or down below (on mobile) and hit that subscribe button!

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