This week, we’ve been talking about how to decide what to keep when we are decluttering. So far, we’ve covered The Container Rule and Decide Before You Start. Today, we’re going to chat about a twentieth century Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. (Stick with me, I promise this has something to do with decluttering. I’m not trying to secretly give you an economics lesson).
The Pareto Principle:
The reason we’re talking about some guy you’ve probably never heard of whose been dead for a century is the principle he came up with in 1906: the Pareto Principle. This might sounds like some obscure thing you’ve never heard of, but I bet you are actually familiar with it and didn’t know it.
Also known as:
It’s also known as the 80/20 rule (does that sound a little more familiar?). This rule was initially applied to wealth distribution, but over time it’s been applied to all kinds of different areas, and the basic concept is this: eighty percent of effects come from twenty percent of causes.
If you are wondering what that has to do with decluttering, it’s this: we use 20% of our stuff 80% of the time
That means that EIGHTY PERCENT of what we own mostly doesn’t get used. That is a whole lot of stuff. And that stuff is taking up a significant amount of space in most of our homes.
Is it true?
You might be shaking your head, thinking “no way.” But think about it.
Do you have a kitchen drawer crowded with tools? Maybe there are five or six mixing spoons in there, but there is ONE you like best. Do you ever skip over the other spoons, taking extra time to look for the one you prefer? If so: why are you keeping so many backups? Keep the one you like and one just-in-case. The rest can go.
Is your makeup bag or vanity full of products you never use, making it hard to find the few you actually love? Toss the stuff you never reach for—it’s just getting in the way.
Stop letting your stuff control you
Don’t let such a huge percentage of your space be taken up by stuff that never actually gets used.
We’re finishing up week two of my 32 Days of Declutter challenge—whether you’ve been participating from day one or are ready to jump on in today, I’d love for you join me. You can find all the daily prompts on Instagram. It’s time to take back control of your stuff instead of letting your stuff control you.
Read more in my decluttering series here:
I Spent Good Money On That · What if I Need it Someday? · Getting Rid of Stuff: Emotional Attachments · 32 Days of Decluttering Kickoff · Clutter is a Thief · Clutter Makes it Hard to Find What You Need · The Container Rule · Decide Before You Start