One of the reasons that I undertook minimalism as a new way of life is because it has many benefits, both known and those that I would not realize till later would be something that I need desperately. Simplifying your life is not a matter of throwing everything away and starting off with nothing (which is what most people figure is what it is all about). Minimalism for me has been freeing. Allowing me to get rid of ONLY the things in my life which bring me no joy or bring me no value, and of course there are many ways to go about it.
The Minimalists (Josh Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus) have many of their own ways, but even they tell those of us who watch their documentary or listen to their podcasts that we should take their template and find our own recipe. For me I have taken one of their major rules, something that they call the 90-90 rule. This means that if there is something that you have not used within the last 90 days (3 months) or you do not see yourself using in the next 90 days, then get rid of it, because if it is something that much later you will find value in, you can just go and get another one. For myself, the rule is more 720-720. Every two years (starting in 2017) I go through all of my things and put them to that test. Have I used this since (per the first example) 2015 or do I see come 2019 that it will have a use? No? Then it goes…and you have to be willing to let go of it. In 2017 I got rid of 200+ books. Many of them were books that I knew I was not gong to read, they did not bring me much value and when you really break it down, in 2017 I was 21, and in my early 20s where I may move a lot during the next 10-15 as my life gets better, I did not want to have to haul all of these books with me as I moved (and I since have moved both in 2018 and 2019). I then repeated this process of Minimalism again in 2019 and will again come the summer of 2021.
So, that is all fine and dandy, but what is it that I mean when I say “cut out the noise” as per the title of this essay? Well, the above thing with the simplifying is more of a “known” benefit, the cutting out of the noise is more of a hidden benefit. The Minimalists refer to “noise” as decisions made or decisions to be made. When there is a lot of noise, it means that there is a lot of internal noise, a lot of things rattling around in our heads when thinking to ourselves “what do I want to do”, for me this is a constant. I have a million thoughts in my head at a time, and the one thing that I needed the most, was Minimalism (little did I know) as an outlet for getting rid of many of the things that were just cluttering my space, and finally allowing me to get around to the things that I really want to do. Being able now to focus on those that I get value from and being able to keep my attention because now nothing in my space goes untouched.
In the beginning it will be very hard because you will feel some sort of attachment to everything that you line up to throw away, but if you keep telling yourself that as soon as you have chosen it, it is “already gone” even before you toss it for real, you will feel a sense of relief, and the declutter is not to be thought of as a “loss of stuff” but a gaining of peace of mind and a cutting out of the noise