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Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that since having the most traumatic week of my life (OK, slight exaggeration) decluttering an entire house to be able to travel the world with just a backpack, I’ve been a true minimalist convert.
Since the start of the year, I’ve written about my experience with decluttering your life, 10 simple ways to start a journey towards minimalism, and the importance of tackling your mental clutter as well as your physical environment.
Suffice to say, I love reading about new ways to simplify life – both physically and mentally – and so when I stumbled across the highly popular book Simplify by Becoming Minimalist’s Joshua Becker, I had to buy it and see what he had to say.
A Little Background
Simplify was released in 2010 and has since sold tens of thousands of copies across the world. While yes, I’m late to the party, thankfully minimalism is a lifestyle that has no time limit. It’s not a trend – it’s a way of living that is never too late to start.
I bought Joshua’s book for two reasons:
- I’m a big fan of his blog and have seen both Simplify and his other book Inside Out Simplicity mentioned by multiple minimalism bloggers all over the internet. In my experience, if enough people are talking about something, it’s worth at least a look.
- I wanted to see if I was doing minimalism ‘right’. I sort of forced myself into this way of thinking by decluttering my belongings in the most stressful way possible. It’s interesting to read someone elses experience and the (admittedly much better than my own) advice they can give to others.
When it comes to books, I’m definitely a fiction girl. However, reading Simplify resonated with me so much that I wanted to share some thoughts on it with you all. I know many of you who read this blog are similarly intrigued by the minimalist lifestyle – so read on if you’re thinking about buying some books to help you on the journey.
Simplify addresses what Joshua calls the 7 guidelines to minimalism, based on his family’s experiences since discovering and pursuing the lifestyle in 2008.
These include points such as how to make it work for you and persevering when you feel overwhelmed. It’s 77 pages long, available as an eBook, and costs just $2.99. I read the whole book over 2 evenings, and found it extremely easy to read. Joshua writes in a conversational, familiar tone that makes the book easy to pick up (figuratively – since it’s an eBook!) and scroll through whenever you want to touch base.
One of the points that the book covers that really hits home for me is about defining your own journey.
At times, I’ve felt almost like a fraud talking about minimalism because while I’m living out of a backpack, I’ve got clothes waiting for me at home and I know I’m going to struggle to reduce them. I love fashion, and I love my clothes. Cutting the number down would be good, but I’m extremely reluctant to continue living with about 12 items of clothing when I’m in a more settled environment.
Simplify made me realise that’s OK. It reinforced the idea that minimalism is about only living with the items that are essential to you – not cutting down every single element in your life to live on as little as possible.
“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.
For me, this was my biggest take away from the book. I can continue a minimalist journey and not feel like I’m doing something wrong every time I buy a new top or splash out on a more expensive meal. Just like, if it works for you, you can keep the clutter that means something to you and focus on clearing the rest. Shape your life so you don’t even notice what’s not there anymore.
Decluttering: Where to Start?
The book also covers some really useful advice for when you come to declutter your home.
When my housemates and I cleared our rented home out, we had about 5 days to leave it completely empty and it. was. chaos.
After about 3 years in that house with multiple people moving in and out of it, the entire home was full of clutter. I don’t even want to think about that garage anymore.
So my introduction to minimalism was of the “I am never, ever getting into a position where I have to do this again” approach.
Simplify suggests a much more rational approach that honestly makes way more sense and is far more sustainable than the way I decluttered my house. If you’re overwhelmed by what to declutter first and how to do it, I’d recommend the book purely for guiding you through that process.
This is definitely a positive within a negative, but the book didn’t so much teach me anything new so much as reinforce what I’ve already been thinking.
However, I’m not disappointed that I didn’t come away with a dozen more tactics to declutter. I’ve already been through that stage and am now thinking about how to make this a habit so I don’t suddenly acquire more junk when my circumstances change (as in, if I move into a house etc).
It’s great to read a book that resonates with your mindset and convinces you that yeah, this is the way to live your life. If you’ve been into minimalism for a while, it’s worth reading just for the sheer amount of head-nodding you’ll find yourself doing as you read.
I bought Simplify because of all the hype I had heard about it, and I’m so pleased not to have been disappointed after reading it.
If you’re looking for a detailed guide to starting a minimalist journey and decluttering your life, I would highly recommend Simplify – the mix of useful information and genuine notes and stories from Becker’s own experience make it much more than just a how-to manual!
You can buy the book here for just $2.99 and download it directly to your laptop.
Have you read any other great books on minimalism, decluttering or making life simpler? Leave me your recommendations below – I would love to hear them!