Have you ever looked around your home and become overwhelmed by all the mess and the STUFF? Do you look through your very full closet at all of your clothing and felt like you have nothing to wear? Have you asked your kids to clean up their toys and they’re unable to do it – not because of their attitudes, just because it was all too much? Joshua Becker, professional minimalist (basically) and writer, might tell you he knows how you can solve these issues, plus many other day-to-day frustrations: by owning less. He discusses his path to minimalism in his book, The More of Less.
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Minimalism is nothing new, but it’s not a concept most American households entertain. Our current way of life is more like… maximalism. But our materialist ways are wreaking havoc on the world—AND OUR HOMES. And probably even our sanity. I have experienced, firsthand, that having fewer belongings makes organizing and household management SO MUCH EASIER. It makes sense if you think about it: If you’ve only got 10 shirts, organizing your closet and “maximizing your space” isn’t even really necessary.
The More of Less
The More of Less by Joshua Becker is worthwhile and eye-opening. The book provides a dose of reality that many of us could benefit from, even if we have no interest in becoming a minimalist. Becker knows the ideas of minimalism can overwhelm — he’s not encouraging you to make your home barren or deprive yourself of necessities. Instead, he calls his type of minimalism “rational minimalism” which is a lot less intimidating.
Joshua Becker’s path to minimalism began as he was spending his entire weekend cleaning out his garage. After a conversation with a neighbor, he realized he had too much stuff, and that stuff was taking over his life and his free time, preventing him from spending time on more important things — like playing with his son.
In The More of Less, Becker takes us through minimalism from start to finish. He starts by sharing benefits of minimalism. Some benefits are obvious, such as, if you buy less stuff, you’ll have more money. Other benefits are less obvious, such as having more time and freedom, making less of an environmental impact, and leaving less work for someone else when our lives are over.
Benefits of Minimalism
I can attest that having fewer belongings means less cleaning for me. Buying fewer items makes big purchases, such as vacations or a new deck, a lot more achievable. Finally, one of my favorite byproducts of minimalism — spending money on QUALITY instead of quantity. It’s so much easier investing in a pricey pair of boots when they’re the only ones you own, you’ll wear them often, and you’ll have them forever. It takes the guilt out of spending because it’s intentional.
Tips on Minimizing
After listing the benefits of minimalism, Becker takes you step by step through reducing your belongings.
He suggests starting small by eliminating duplicates — do you really need two can openers when you reach for the same one every time, anyway? Gradually work your way through your home, saving the hard-to-part with items, such as family photographs or books, for last.
Create Limits and Rules
Creating limits and rules for yourself and your belongings often proves helpful for aspiring minimalists, according to Becker. Only keep as many socks that will fit in a shoebox, only keep as many pots that will fit in one cabinet, only keep as many books that will fit on two shelves. Limits can feel arbitrary, but can help make the job of minimizing more direct.
Experiment with Minimalism
Becker also suggests doing some minimalist experiments. If you’re not sure whether you can live without something, try living without it temporarily. Put the questionable items in a box and write the date on it. If you find you need something from the box, get it, return it to its place in your home and move on, knowing that item belongs. If, after a few months, you find you have needed no items from the box, let the box go, confident that the items inside will serve someone else better than they can serve you.
Change Your Habits
When you’ve decided you need less, and you work to empty your home and life of unnecessary items, it’s important to change your habits to continue down that path. Be aware of how advertising tempts us and stores lure us in with big sales. Remind yourself that you know better and determine to do better.
Thoughts on The More of Less
I enjoyed Joshua Becker’s The More of Less. In fact, I liked it so much I read it twice, most recently just before Christmas. The book was motivating and allowed me to see my home and life with a more critical eye. While reading, I itched to put the book down and tackle my dresser drawers, my closet, my collection of gift wrap bags, my Christmas decorations, and a storage closet in the basement (so far). I also had one of the most minimal, and stress-free, Christmases that I can remember. Maybe it’s just a coincidence because my kids are getting older and life is getting easier, or maybe it’s not.
Regardless, I plan on continuing to go room by room through my house, keeping only the items that I truly use and need. I have donation pick ups scheduled and I’m doing a No Spend January — these combined efforts should give me a good head start towards simplifying. I’m also looking forward to reading other books on minimalism, namely Clutter Free with Kids and The Minimalist Home, also by Becker.
Minimalism doesn’t have to be restrictive, and it doesn’t have to be extreme. Whether minimalism appeals to you or just sounds interesting, reading up on the topic can be beneficial for everyone, even if simply makes them more aware of their surroundings and belongings. Having too much directly affects your home, your future, and your habits. Do yourself a favor and borrow it from the library today!
For more information on minimalism and Joshua Becker, you can check out his website Becoming Minimalist.