Yet another book on decluttering?
Well, sort of.
Why? Because . . .
“On average, at least in my own country, we see five thousand ads every day telling us to buy more. I want to be a voice urging us to buy less, because the potential benefits for our world are incalculable when hundreds, thousands, millions of lives are transformed by minimalism.”
That’s a lot of voices talking to us every day. To buy more. Keep more. Use more.
Joshua Becker of becomingminimalist.com is also using his voice. But he’s not trying to just sell us on decluttering. He wants us to see the joy in adopting a minimalistic lifestyle in The More of Less.
He starts by debunking two myths of minimalism:
Minimalism is about giving up everything.
Wrong, he says. “Minimalism is about living with less . . . less is not the same as none.” There are things we are meant to enjoy. And keep. Don’t get rid of everything.
Minimalism is about organizing your stuff.
You’ve probably heard before that you can’t organize clutter. True. Rearranging our stuff is only a temporary fix at best. “Organizing is better than nothing. But minimizing is better by far.”
Remember Becker’s goal for minimalism: It is “not just to own less stuff. The goal of minimalism is to unburden our lives so we can accomplish more.”
He suggests you start with not touching a thing. But asking yourself why you want to minimize. Then go from there.
Start decluttering the easy stuff. A specific closet. Or even one drawer.
“We use 20 percent of our stuff 80 percent of the time, and we use the other 80 percent of our stuff only 20 percent of the time. So within that 80 percent of your stuff that mostly just lies around, there should be plenty of easy pickings when you start to minimize.”
The book then progresses into traditional advice: make three piles (things to keep, to relocate, to remove). You know the drill.
- Wash dishes right away.
- Keep flat surfaces clear.
- Complete one- to two-minute jobs immediately.
- Take pictures of it before you get rid of it.
- Give stuff away to create new memories for others.
Other advice isn’t necessarily as conventional:
- Try keeping half for now.
- Always leave empty space in your coat closet.
- Experiment first by living without ___ (whatever) for 29 days.
- Watch less television. (So you’ll want less stuff.)
Becker also reminds us what happens when we don’t minimize. We’re still giving something away: Our freedom to fully live the life we want.
But with relationships?
Here Becker says do not be minimalistic. He says, “Choosing to invest only in the relationships that benefit us isn’t love — it’s selfishness.”
“The goal is not to remove every person from my life who does not serve me. The goal is to bring greater intentionality into each of my relationships. I want to find people who will lead me, mentor me, and love me, but I also want to keep in my life people whom I serve and love and pour my life into. Because both are required for a balanced life.”
The bottom line in becoming minimalistic isn’t to live without. It’s to live intentionally. Having less doesn’t mean settling for less.
“ . . . maybe the greatest benefit of generosity is this: generous people realize that they already have enough.”
* * *
What areas do you most like to keep clutter-free? Which areas are the hardest? Please share in the comments.
More book reviews on decluttering:
- Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul
- 10-Minute Digital Declutter: The Simple Habit to Eliminate Technology Overload
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Thanks to Blogging for Books
for the review copy of this book
- Remember What You Read—Choose One Thing per Book
- Spiritual Optimism