This post originally appeared on Medium.
I'm not a hardcore minimalist, but this small space I've lived in for 4 years has kept my life pretty simple. And this simpler life is much more aligned with my environmental values — small living means a smaller carbon footprint. You end up thinking carefully about what you buy or bring into your life when, for instance, acquiring a new pair of shoes means you have to get rid of a pair you already own in order to fit them in the closet.
If you feel like simplifying your own life, here's a quick list of a few things I've learned to live without. Simplify starting here. But beware, it's addictive. Pretty soon you'll want to downsize to one of those tiny cabins. At least that's where I'm headed.
1. MemorabiliaThat cheap medal you got for completing the half marathon two years ago, the eiffel tower shot glass someone brought you from Paris, that copy of your college graduation announcement that you've saved. You don't need any of these things. Because guess what? Without them you'll still remember what it felt like to train for that half marathon or to have graduated from college. None of those memories are going anywhere. Donate or recycle this stuff — you won't miss it.
2. T-Shirts (and Other Clothing You Don't Wear)I'm not talking about those soft, perfectly fitted T-shirts you love and wear all the time. I'm talking about what's down there in the bottom third of your dresser drawer. Those logo-boasting shirts from events or places, which were likely all given to you for free. You don't need a T-shirt in order to prove you went to that conference, worked at that tech company, or volunteered at said event. Donate these or turn them into a craft project. Your dresser drawer is happiest when it contains only the clothes you wear on at least a monthly basis. The rest is clutter (or memorabilia, see above).
3. CDs and DVDsThis one's a no-brainer. You don't need these anymore. All the music and movies you want are on the internet now or can be stored on a hard drive. So rip them and make some space on your shelves. Bonus: most urban recycling centers accept CDs and DVDs in your blue bin.
There are three types of books worth keeping around longer than it takes you to get through the last page. First, books that have strong sentimental value (is there an inscription on the title page, does the book have a history?). Second, books that are signed by the author or are otherwise valuable to you (like my signed copy of The Virgin Suicides!). And lastly, books you plan to read soon or that you reread regularly (I reread Gary Snyder's The Backcountry every year). That's it guys. I suggest you sell the rest to your local used bookstore. Get store credit for them and go there or the library next time you need a book to devour.
5. Sporting Equipment
6. Bags and BaggageYou only need one suitcase, one bag, and possibly a purse (or two). Even if you're fashion-conscious. Spend some dough on these few things so you get quality stuff that will last you a while and look good. All those other bags and duffels you have crammed into each other under your bed will be happier at Goodwill. Nice bags that you just never use anymore can be sold to thrift stores like Buffalo Exchange. Done and done.
7. Kitchen Gadgets
8. Things That Are Neither Useful, nor Beautiful
I have a few strange items taking up space in my tiny apartment, like an old window hanging on my wall that I found in the Presidio, its white paint chipping to reveal a layer of blue underneath; on my desk there's a piece of driftwood from a beach in Canada and a large chunk of obsidian from the Eastern Sierras. All of these things are beautiful and unique, and they remind me of what I love in the world.
Do not get rid of those things. If anything, make more space for them. Those are the objects that inspire. And without all that clutter, they get to shine for us that much more.