Individuals must eliminate the things in their lives that do not really matter so they can focus on the things that do matter. In order to do this they should first examine why they have accumulated unnecessary objects, people, or impulses in the first place. Desire is often the driving force behind unnecessary accumulation. While some desires are rooted in rational thinking, many people are consumed with satisfying a wide array of expendable, irrational desires, usually resulting from advertising or the compulsion to impress others. Problems arise when the effort involved in satisfying these desires takes people away from working toward what they truly value, or worse, distracts them entirely and leads them down an ultimately unsatisfying path. To avoid this, people must deliberately manage their desires. Creating an objective awareness of what is important and what is not is essential.
There are three main areas individuals should examine when eliminating the unnecessary:
1. Possessions. The first step in better managing unwanted desires is for individuals to make lists of their existing possessions. They should then review what they own within the context of what is really important to them now and in the future. Next, they must remove all irrelevant personal items. They should start in their bedrooms and working from room to room, taking special care to de-clutter and organize their spaces. They may want to give discarded items to those in need rather than selling them as this consideration tends to help people part with things.
2. Relationships. A similar process must take place regarding people. Individuals must take inventory of their personal relationships with the objective of better understanding if the relationships help them become the people they want to be. Each relationship will likely fall into one of two categories: toxic relationships or relationships that should be cultivated.
3. Responsibilities. Individuals should also take inventory of their personal responsibilities in order to identify any unnecessary responsibilities that take up their time, attention, and energy.
The key concept in all of these steps is simplicity. People should look for the essential elements in what they are trying to achieve and then come up with creative ideas for making things simpler