How to Use Pareto's 80/20 Rule For a Minimalist Home

by Simplify

The 80/20 rule is also known as Pareto’s principle. It’s named after the Italian economist Pareto, who discovered that 80% of the wealth in Italy belonged to 20% of the population.

Since then, researchers have learned that the 80/20 rule applies in so many circumstances. 20% of drivers cause 80% of accidents. 20% of criminals commit 80% of crimes. There are so many applications of the 80/20 rule. Is it possible to use this rule as a fast track to minimalism?

Managing your life with Pareto’s principle doesn’t come naturally. We look at our myriad life goals: being a better parent or spouse, managing our finances, having an organized home, cooking healthier, and anything else we want to accomplish, as mutually exclusive goals. We think we need to devote equal time to accomplishing all these goals.

What if there were some 20% of activities that could help us accomplish 80% of these goals? Decluttering may be one of those activities. A clutter-free home gives us the mental space to be better parents and spouses.

Minimalism helps with making smarter purchasing decisions and managing finances. If decluttering can actually help accomplish all our goals at once, it’s worthwhile to get started on it right away and laser focus on decluttering for the next few weeks. Remembering the 80/20 rule can put you on the fast track to minimalism.

Decluttering a home

The 80/20 rule also provides perspective during the decluttering process. According to research, we use even less than 20% of the stuff we own, even more than 80% of the time. One study uncovered that the average American only uses 6% of the items they own on a regular basis.

We wear the same clothes. We use the same kitchen products. We brush our teeth with the same toothpaste. Day in, day out. Most of our stuff doesn’t support our goals. We could declutter 90% of it, and not even miss it. This perspective can help us make tough choices.

80/20 Rule of minimalism

Decluttering and getting started on minimalism can be overwhelming, but it’s worthwhile. What have you done to start your minimalism journey? Let us know in the comments.

For more minimalist advice, discover the top minimalist multipurpose items to have around the house or this guide on how to embrace minimalism in 2023.

To see more videos, check out The Minimal Mom YouTube channel.

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 1 comment
  • Cso51108026 Cso51108026 on Jan 17, 2023

    Love Pareto! So wise!! When I first started my journey, and I am nowhere near finished, I began by adapting an Amish principle: have nothing in your house you know neither to be useful or beautiful. For example, I had 3 sets of measuring cups/spoons. One was an antique set of pewter ones I rarely used because they were too pretty. My Amish neighbors would tell me, "That's ridiculous! They were created to be used! And as a bonus, they are lovely to look at!" I got rid of all of my other sets and now only use these. I had multiple blankets, etc., but the handmade quilts my mother-in-law made (she was a Master Quilter) seemed too special, until my father-in-law reminded me, "Quilts are meant to be used..."

    So, I started my journey with making sure the things around me that are useful (blankets, measuring cups/spoons, etc.) also bring me joy... because they *are* beautiful, and they were *meant* to be enjoyed. AND used. :) ~Chrissie