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I’ve been getting more into Minimalism lately, and it has helped me in a lot of ways. I’ve been able to simplify my life, save money, give stuff away, and clear out more time and space for activities that are in line with my core values (e.g., health, relationships, meaningful work). Today I want to talk about one of the key barriers to living a minimalist life: Just in Case.

Just in Case

Most of you probably know what I’m talking about. You might have clothes you never wear, but you don’t want to get rid of them just in case you might want to wear them in the future.

Or your garage might be filled with tools you never use, but you don’t want to give them away or sell them just in case you have a project in the future that you might need them for.

Or maybe you find yourself packing way more than you need when you go on vacation, just in case you might need something while you are gone.

You can’t be a Minimalist if you’re locked into the Just in Case mindset.

Just in Case and Anxiety

Usually the Just in Case mindset has to do with anxiety. Like the Boy Scout motto, you always want to be prepared. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are missing the article of clothing, tool, or whatever, that you need. The problem with this mindset is you end up living a cluttered life, full of stuff you don’t use on a regular basis. The stuff is sitting around your house, just in case.

Unparalleled Access and Convenience

One thing that has helped me drop the Just in Case mindset is to realize that in our day and age, you can purchase pretty much whatever you need quickly and easily. If you need that particular article of clothing a few years down the road, you can buy it online and get it the next day with Amazon Prime. Or you can borrow it from a friend. The same is true for all the random tools in your garage. If you need medicine on your vacation, there’s a Walgreens or CVS pharmacy on almost every street corner. We live in a world of unparalleled access and convenience.

The One-Year Rule

Here is one way to ditch the Just in Case mindset: If you haven’t worn or used something in the past year, give it away. Pack lightly on vacation, and buy whatever you need. Being prepared for every circumstance might have helped you 50 years ago, but now it just clutters your life. Give up your Just in Case items and embrace minimalism and simplicity.

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