The More of Less by Joshua Becker goes beyond a call to declutter, downsize, or organize. Becker focuses on the reasons to live with less. “Minimalism” he writes, “is about what it gives, not what it takes away.” A step towards minimalism, no matter if it’s just a baby step, can add so much more than you lose.
Not convinced? Here are some of the benefits he lists of owning less stuff:
More time and energy
I’m not a minimalist, but I’m constantly moving toward owning less, though I’m inconsistent. I cannot give up my shelves of beloved books. I have way too many shoes. I cannot part with my collection of 20-plus scarves even though I wear a scarf maybe twice a year. Does Becker offer help for conflicted folks like me (and maybe you)?
Yes. The parts of the book I most appreciated were the practical suggestions on how to get started if you’re not ready to donate or throw out hundreds of possessions. Start with easier categories. Save the books for last (or keep them all, your choice). I found it easy to go through those countless tiny bottles of hotel shampoo and old make-up samples and toss the lot. My history books still sit proudly in place.
Another suggestion is to experiment. If you’re not sure you want to give away those sweaters, put them in a box or closet out of sight. You can choose a period of time or just leave them there indefinitely. See if you miss items you’ve put away. This method works well for me, as it eases the drastic step of giving away many of my clothes at once. I put aside a load of older winter clothes for some weeks. I did pull out a red sweater (my favorite color and I missed it) and eventually gave away the rest of the items. Some people try counting items to keep or to donate. Others like to count the number of days they “experiment” before making a final decision. Try different plans and go with what works best for you.
Becker’s book has both philosophy and practical content. What I appreciated is his encouragement to tailor any kind of cleaning out of your possessions to what you can tolerate. What he’s advocating is “the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them.”
Did you wonder what the photos have to do with simple living? I went outside my front door while thinking about this book and looked around at how uncluttered nature can be. A brilliant yellow bloom cheers us. The deep green of a succulent is beautiful without any other color or ornament. A palm is so intricate yet uncomplicated. And one white orchid is infinitely lovely. These are images of the more of less.
How about you? Are you dabbling in minimalism? A happy owner of clutter?