Not Tied to the Past


Soon after becoming minimalist, I minimized my office. In doing so, I made a deliberate decision to throw out anything related to my previous place of employment 8 years ago. This included books, materials, trainings, etc. Working at a local non-profit serving local teenagers, it occurred to me that youth culture has changed so much over the past 8 years that even the things effective 8 years ago are just not as effective today. New problems call for new solutions. And so I got removed them. And in doing so, I discovered an important benefit of minimalism: Freedom from being tied to the past.

Clutter keeps you tied to the past. Your thoughts tend to dwell in the past as the things around you force your mind to reminisce. Solutions tend to be rooted in the past as the things around you conjure up the same old thought-processes. Additionally, our minds are tied to the past because there is no available space for anything new.

Minimizing my workspace (and life) forced me to recognize the problems of today and solve them with solutions for tomorrow.  Some might say – you have to release the past to create a better tomorrow. And this benefits every area of our lives.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. Tori says

    Wow- very insightful! I’m reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert… the struggle to be “present” instead of brooding about the past and worring about the future. Revolutionary idea to connect that to de-cluttering and minimalism- thank you!

  2. Julia says

    I have just stumbled across your blog and decided to read through from day one to the present (not all in one sitting, of course!). I recently spent some time in the home of one of our pastors and was delighted to see what minimalism looks like in person! Because of his highly visible position and teachings that take him all over the world, he has had to clear the clutter in every area of life to stay sane, centered, and focused in the present and on the truly important. Although not in as much demand as he, I am inspired to do the same!

    The biggest area of our home that is consistently cluttered is my husband’s office. You see, he was a youth pastor for 10 years and is now in seminary full-time and he saves every book and every piece of paper (either unfiled or thrown in a pile). He is a self-proclaimed messy and his office space (and nearly any space of his) looks like a tornado hit. This post of getting rid of old resources and anything from prior church(es) struck a chord with me. He will occassionally compare himself today to what has happened in the past (not all good situations) and just recently made the realization that he needs to stop and let it go and focus on who he is now. I think getting rid of the physical baggage (clutter) may be the last step to getting rid of the emotional and mental baggage.

    Thanks for sharing! I am excited to keep reading on!

  3. di says

    Old work-related material seems to have little bearing today, because technology and cultures are always advancing. Current online material offers so much more.

  4. di says

    The only sentimental things I hold onto are my families heirlooms and photos. I pass them onto responsible grandchildren.

  5. says

    One of the thoughts that helps me with decluttering is what (apart from my family) I would take if I had to leave my home suddenly. For me it would be family photos, important documents and my jewellery. Furniture,clothes china and utensils are easily replaced. This thought helps me to get rid of loads.I just love being a minimalist. Thanks Joshua.

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