Minimalist Living: A Book to Start You on Your Journey
I just finished reading (and living a little bit of) Minimalist Living: Decluttering for Joy, Health, and Creativity. I'm so glad I read it.
I found this book to be both enlightening and refreshing. At about 100 pages, it was a quick read, and in only 10 chapters author, Genevieve Parker Hill, helped me understand minimalism, several of the most important reasons to consider minimalism, and how to go about achieving and maintaining my own minimalist lifestyle - as defined by me and my personal needs.
Here are a few of my biggest take aways and ideas that resonated most with me personally:
1) Becoming minimalist takes action, and it can be a long process. I liked that the author gave "permission" to take the time needed and that different people's styles of getting there might take longer or shorter periods of time.
2) Reasons for becoming minimalist include joy, health, and creativity, all things that are very important to me. In fact, I have found over time, I that I need space to feel and be creative to truly feel joyful or healthy. It was exciting to me to see that these things that are already important to me could be achieved - at least in part - through minimlist living.
3) Making choices to remove "stuff" related to things I don't care about makes room for the things I am passionate about. This is quite possibly my biggest gain from this book. I have been thinking for months about de-cluttering to simplify my life, but I was stymied by my craft closet. It's an unwieldy beast full of inspiration and ideas and projects in progress. I love it! This book helped me realize that crafts are one of my passions and my overfull closet is therefore okay (although it wouldn't hurt to organize it). By de-cluttering in other areas, I can create and maintain space for my crafty passions. It is so freeing to learn this!
This is one of the books recommended by Genevieve Parker Hill. Who doesn't like 101 tips and tricks about anything? Organization is easier and more fun when we have also decluttered. This book is a great way to get started.
4) Meaningful items have meaning because of the emotions they stir in us. The author provided quite a few wonderful ways to keep the emotions and stories without necessarily keeping the item itself. This has also helped free me from some ties I'd had trouble cutting. For example, in going through my closet, I found a 20-year old t-shirt commemorating an art show where my uncle's pottery was featured. I had kept it to hold onto the memory, fearful that I might lose my memories of his beautiful art. After reading this book, I realized I have 3 pieces of his pottery on display in my home, and I didn't need to keep the t-shirt I would never wear.
Hill's book dispelled many myths in my mind about minimalism. In the past, when I heard that work, I pictured a white room with white furniture and nothing on the tables. Maybe there was a blue painting on the wall for a splash of color. It was plain, bland, and boring. Through this book, I am beginning to see how very exciting minimalism can be.
What Have I De-Cluttered Since Reading This Book
I really did take this book to heart. Here's my proof and it feels so good!
- My Closet - I cleaned 5 boxes of clothing out of my closet. I didn't even realize I had that much and now it all fits. No more closet monster!
- My Bookshelves - I was able to clean out enough books (that I was never going to read anyway) to empty 2 shelves. It made space for more important things that had been lying around the house.
- My Kitchen Cupboards - I filled 2 boxes with kitchen dishes, gadgets, and more. There's even a little room to reorganize to make frequently used items easier to get to.
- My Crafts - I was able to pick out several projects I was not likely to finish. As a result, some high school students who needed (and possibly couldn't afford) projects for classes had some good materials to work with.
I won't lie. There's a lot left to do, and it is a slow process. It's worth it to me though!
I Feel Lighter Already
I got so much out of this minimal book that I had to sit down immediately and write this review. I used many of the tools and thought processes outlined in the book to understand my passions and reasons for moving toward minimalism. Through Hill's prompts, I have begun the process of sorting and "editing" - as she calls it - stuff from my life. It is exhilarating as I see each room and each calendar day slowly begin to take on the shape that fits the life I want to lead.
Best of luck on your journey too, and I hope you'll take the opportunity of reading this little book to help you get started!
"By letting go of the good, she'll experience the great."~ Genevieve Parker Hill ~