The "net stuff" rule - it's one I've long believed in, and one I've regularly broken.
What it involves is simple, and difficult in the way that all truly simple things are: my net possessions should hold steady or decrease over time. To achieve this, every time I acquire something I ought to get donate/recycle/bin something else.
In 2014 I filled bags and bags and bags with books and shoes and clothes and jewelry and indeed sometimes with other bags. I lugged these to Goodwill and to Dress for Success and gave them away to strangers on the internet.
I can do this because I don't need anything. As far as the worldly goods bit of Maslow goes, I am sorted.
As Tracy Moore wrote at Jezebel, "getting rid of things requires the having of things. If minimalism is a kind of voluntary thing-poverty, then real poverty is involuntary minimalism."
I can embrace minimalism because I can afford it. It is easy to forget that choosing to eschew possessions in the name of happiness and serenity is a luxury. It assumes that, among other things, should you find you do need something you have the ability to replace or acquire it at the moment that need arises. It assumes that the quality of the items you do choose to possess tend toward the durable rather than the disposable.
But if you are in the position of being able to choose which watch you're going to wear today, and with which pair of shoes - you might consider the net stuff rule as an experiment in identifying what you really value. And what you're afraid of letting go of.
This post first appeared as en edition of The Galavant Times, An OG TinyLetter.