Book Club :: Minimalism
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If we haven't met in person, I'm a minimalist by nature. I like to cook in one pot. I dislike clutter. I like things to be tidy. I dislike "junk drawers." I like matching organizational bins and baskets. I dislike things to be random. I like color coordinated everything. I dislike random colors (children's toys, for the love...). And I am constantly fighting with my family over these things - they are not natural minimalists.
Mark does not believe there is a place for everything and loves weird colors (mustard yellow, velvet blue, tools left on the counter, projects left half finished in the living room, etc.). Rory is sentimental and cannot be brought to throw anything away ever (old toys, old clothes, drawings from when he was 2, a note I gave him for valentines day, etc.). Jinora is a hoarder of literally the most random things (post it notes, rocks, leaves, broken jewelry, paint sample cards, etc.).
Now, I love them, but I would burn all of our stuff and start from scratch - every 6 months. I love to purge. It gives me life.
Side note: There is this thing called Project 333 and a lot of people (mostly women) try it out as they are pursuing minimalism. I can't participate because I already own fewer than 33 clothing items. Maybe if I count my underwear...
Anyway... we watched Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things on Netflix several months ago and I decided we needed to purge, but also I wanted to read up on Minimalism. There are at least 5 authors interviewed in the movie and I wanted to snag as many of those book as I could from the library and see if they opened anything for me. I love any opportunity for personal growth.
So here are all the minimalism books I was able to get in one go, I figured it would be great to read these right before the holidays as consumerism sets in - and I think it was. I'll let you know after the holidays whether or not that's true... Either way, here is how I felt about the following four books around Minimalism.
Minimalism Book Reviews
Everything That Remains | Clutterfree with Kids | Zen Habits | The Year of Less
Zen Habits & Clutterfree With Kids
These two books are excellent step by step guides to decluttering, organizing, and embracing minimalism. Not just with possessions, but also with shifting attitudes and ethos. While there are short personal stories, these two books are primarily guides. They lead you through the process, giving plenty of grace and flexibility, and reminding you that each person is different and your version of minimalism will be different from your neighbors.
I enjoyed both of these - but reading them back-to-back was a little repetitive because they are guides toward a similar goal. Both of the books are short and quick reads with lots of information. Clutterfree With Kids primarily focuses on how to create a life with less while including your kids, and while Zen Habits discusses that same idea, the book is more general habits to help you develop contentment and happiness as an individual rather than a family unit. If you're looking for ways to make practical changes in your life? These are the two for you.
Everything That Remains & The Year Of Less
These two are more along the lines of memoirs. Everything That Remains has a slower start, but definitely dives deeply into our systematic consumer society. I would guess it would resonate a bit more with someone who had climbed the corporate ladder and/or ever felt like a rat on a wheel - but I haven't. I still enjoyed the book, I just think it was more geared toward that demographic. One thing to keep in mind is that Joshua Fields Millburn definitely sounds like he has a thesaurus in his back pocket, which is a little distracting from the narrative.
The Year Of Less starts off stronger, probably because Cait Flanders had done several "challenges" along these same lines for herself on her blog prior to writing this book (getting out of debt, getting in shape, sobriety), and therefore writing in a quickly engaging format about this topic came a bit more naturally for her. The book did read more like a bunch of blog posts put together than an actual novel or memoir might, but was engaging and well written. Being a married mom of two, I think I am similarly not necessarily in Cait's reader demographic. There were ideas that fell flat for me, but others that I latched onto quite readily. Overall, both books are well worth the read and give a look into minimalism from a more story based perspective.
I borrowed all of mine from the library, but if I were purchasing any of them, it would probably be Cait Flanders. It paired practical advice and action with excellent story telling, making it my favorite of the bunch. Click the picture above to grab yours if you're looking at making a shift to minimalism and need some inspiration.
"What you see is a culmination of years of hard and steady work. There's nothing overnight about it."
- The Minimalists
This quote though... fire.
Did any of you have a chance to read these books?
What did you think?
Next up? ... are changes! Ah! I know I've already mentioned it, but we are shifting some things around and while I will be continuing to recommend books and media as I consume it - I don't have a "Book Club" on the docket right now! Should I? Let me know in the comments what you want to see on the blog.