Use “The Minimalists’” 90/90 Rule to Help You Declutter

published May 4, 2017
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

No matter how much you want to live more simply, it can be hard to part with your things. First of all, if you have a lot of stuff, where do you even begin? And what if you need these things again for some unforeseen hypothetical situation in the future? Will you be kicking yourself for throwing them out now?

One simple system might help you sort it out: the 90/90 rule from Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, the duo behind The Minimalists.

The 90/90 rule is an easy to follow process that requires you to ask yourself two questions about objects you’re unsure about keeping: First, have you used this thing in the past 90 days? And if not, will you use it in the 90 days ahead?

If your answer to both questions is no, it’s probably a safe bet that you can get rid of it. And by strictly following the 90/90 rule, we bet you’ll get rid of quite a bit of clutter and feel a lot lighter in the end.

The 90/90 rule can help you ruthlessly purge a ton of your unnecessary belongings, but the true value of the principle goes a little deeper than that. According to The Minimalists, the concept is really meant to move you in the right direction—to help when letting go feels just about impossible. It’s like they explain on their blog: “Rules can be arbitrary, restrictive, boring—but they are often helpful when we hope to make a change.”

On that note, it’s also important to remember that this rule can be flexible—90 days may just not be applicable to some of your possessions, and that’s okay. For example, seasonal clothing and accessories (and really, anything else that you might only use during a certain time of the year—think anything holiday-related). In those cases, you can extend the 90/90 rule for as many days as you think necessary. Millburn and Nicodemus explained that it’s totally fine to turn that 90 days into 120 days, or 6 months, or whatever, so long as you’re honest with yourself about whether or not your possessions make you happy or serve a purpose.

Interested in learning more about the minimalist life? Check out The Minimalists blog, or the duo’s documentary, Minimalism, available now on Netflix.