3 time rule to declutter

“Let’s keep it just in case….”

This is THE most commonly used phrase among us.

“I have too much stuff”

That’s another phrase we tend to hear.

In short, given that there are so many things around us, it is very important to remove them. The principal reason for me to do so (and this applies to many people too) is to simplify the life to find what’s really important for everyone. So I would like to share “3 time rule” which I learned from books, others and my own experience.

Why is it problem to keep many things?

The more stuff you have, the harder to find what you need. On the other hand, if you have the least staff possible, it will be much easier to find it, which can save your time.

The very typical phrase mentioned above “Let’s keep it just in case….” is not necessarily true since that it is pretty rare to come across that case.

The space is limited in general (unless you have enormous house and never move out).

Of course, there are certain things related to your memory, but if that is not used in you life, you can take a photo instead of having real material.

What do we need to do?

Simply speaking, we need to leave stuff.

Who should do it?

There is only one person who can and should do so. That yourself, not others.

How to do it

What exactly is the “3 time rule”? It is very simple: if you didn’t have strong need at least 3 times per year, it is probably fine to throw away. There can be an exception, but the less exception you have, the better you can organize your space (thus your life!)

What? Every year? → “YESI!”

But what if I will need something I threw away?  → “You can buy it again, but it is quite rate that it happens, since you don’t use due to a lack of need.

Then voila, it’s my rule I apply in my daily life, and it works very well, and it even changed my life since more and more I know what I need.

Some exceptions

There are some exceptions such as requirement to keep things for your work. For example, 2 months ago I forgot my hard disc in a restaurant, and I didn’t have a need to use it up until recently. For my surprise, the store person kept it for 2 months.

In addition, my project donors also require us to keep relevant documents for 5 years (although there will be no need to use it in general!)

That’s why some exceptions can be allowed, but still, throwing things away we don’t need could make us happy in the long term.

My experiences

I used to be very unorganized. What changed me wee moving experience (9 times in the last 10 years, which also helped to prove 3 time rule), kitchen job, performer, teacher and project manager. I would probably write the detail on those experiences in the future.

The learning of this time 

It is better to throw away as many things as possible to simplify life to find out what’s really important for your life, and the 3 time rule can help us to do so.


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