Got another book recommendation for y’all!
The More of Less, by Joshua Becker. Where that headline came from, and which should be the official bumper sticker of all minimalists, haha…
“Maybe the life you’ve always wanted is buried under everything you own!”
How good is that?? Similar to the book, Essentialism, I raved about the other month, this is another one that helps get your mind right and back focused on finding your MORE out of life by saying no/less to everything else that doesn’t match our priorities. Namely, our stuff.
Joshua sent me an advanced copy of this a year ago (so disregard that “not for sale” label on the cover, it’s def. for sale and can be found on Amazon!), but for whatever reason I just let it languish in my book case until I finally heard its calls over the weekend to pick it up and start reading.
It was the best gift I got on Father’s Day, outside of this gem :)
Most of you already know what minimalism’s about, but just like reading personal finance articles over and over again, the more you soak up the more it motivates you to keep going.
And if you’re fan of Joshua’s popular blog, BecomingMinimalist.com, you’ll enjoy his book even more – especially if you don’t know the story behind his epiphany which led him down this “less is more” track! You never know where inspiration will hit you!
I won’t go into the details of the book here (particularly because I’m only into chapter 5 at the moment ;)), but I did want to share two things from it that I think will strike close to home.
The first is an incredible set of stats on consumerism in our country here, and probably elsewhere in the world as well. This is the bad side of the equation:
- We consume twice as many material goods as we did 50 years ago in the U.S.
- The size of the American home has also nearly tripled in that same time frame!
- (And contains about 300,000 total items each – WOW)
- On average our homes contain more televisions than people
- 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park their cars inside
- And 32% only have room to park one car inside
- The home organization industry is now an $8,000,000,000 industry (that’s 8 BILLION!), and even scarier – it’s growing by 10% each year
- 1 out of 10 Americans rent off-site storage – the fastest-growing segment of commercial real estate over the past 4 decades
- And of course, we all know by now that most people can’t afford a $400 emergency, and that their average credit card debt hovers around $15,000.
Now on the plus side, there is a way out there to help curb a lot of this. And that’s where this minimalism movement comes in. It’s not the only way, of course, and it means something different to everyone, however it’s a pretty straightforward way. After all, the less you buy the less you need to maintain/declutter/stress out about, and of course spend!
Which leads us to the 2nd thing I want to leave you with – the good part.
The 12 main things minimalism gives you
This is what the entire book revolves around, and why people have been practicing minimalism for thousands of years despite many of us still not catching on ;) Probably because it was buried under everything we own! (See what I did there?)
Here’s what minimalism can give you:
#1. More time and energy — “Whether we are making the money to buy them, researching and purchasing them, cleaning and organizing them, repairing them, replacing them, or selling them, our possessions consume our time and energy.” So naturally, the less we own the more we’re freed up to spend our time elsewhere.
#2. More money — If you’re not buying up the world, you’re able to save the world! (Ooooh, maybe that should be the new motto instead??)
#3. More generosity — On top of being able to save more, minimalism also gives you the opportunity to do more for your fellow man. Whether financially or by giving more of your time to what you find most important.
#4. More freedom — the main thing we’re all going after! FREEDOM!! And the less you need to live off, the less you need to reach it. At least in terms of financial freedom. Remember our Challenge Everything mission? It was all based around exactly this. The more expenses you cut, the more freedom you gain.
#5. Less stress — “Imagine two rooms: one that is cluttered and messy, and another that is tidy and sparse. Which one makes you feel less anxious? Which one makes you feel calm?”
#6. Less distraction — Everything around us competes for our attention. The less stuff trying to steal it from us, the more time we’re able to focus on what matters.
#7. Less environmental impact — This is one trade off that’s often overlooked, especially by me, but it’s a great reminder that the less we consume the less damage we do to our world. Not including chocolate or beer – which are always binge-worthy ;) Another thing that’s pretty cool here is when you sell or donate your stuff to someone who can not only use it, but enjoy it! And how cool is that? Turning something you’ve labeled as “junk” just sitting there taking up space, now off to a good home where someone can appreciate it? It’s beautiful!
#8. Higher-quality belongings — This is another great trade off too, also overlooked by others when they assume minimalism = not having any fun or spending any money. But while you do end up saving a ton of money over time, it also frees up your budget to spend MORE on quality stuff or long lost dreams of yours! And what would you rather have at the end of the day – a dozen cheap things or 1-2 AWESOME things? Even if you spent all your minimalist savings on things you actually care about you’d be better off.
#9. A better example for our kids — If you think marketing is bad now, imagine how it’s going to be when our kids are older! When the internet is embedded in everyone’s eyes and controlled by Amazon! ;) Better to start setting those examples now while they’re young and impressionable (and hopefully listening to you).
#10. Less work for someone else — This one’s turning a more morbid corner, but it’s certainly a concern: when you die, someone will be spending gobs of time trying to sort through all your stuff and figure out what to do with it. And many of YOU out there have even gone through this yourselves and recognized what a boondoggle it was! Now imagine if your loved ones already combed through it all and only left the gems? You’d appreciate that dead loved one of yours even more! ;)
#11. Less comparison — I like this one in theory, but Lord knows we still compare regardless of owning a million things or a dozen things. And minimalists can take it even further and compare/compete the other direction too – seeing how much LESS they own than the other! Comparison can go a number of ways, haha… But yes, wrapping your mind around what’s truly important to you and what’s not will still advance you pretty far in this comparison game, even if it doesn’t completely fix it.
#12. More contentment — The point of it all in the end – to be happier! And to appreciate what we do have/keep without “needing” more and more over time. Just think about all those times growing up how happy you’ve been?? And that was with a lot less stuff or wealth than you have today more than likely too. I don’t know where we got lost along the way, but man – good thing for books and the internet :)
Here’s a picture I drew 8 years ago when I first stumbled across minimalism:
Pretty accurate, eh? ;)
I’ll leave you with one more quote from the book that I think sums it up perfectly:
The beauty of minimalism isn’t in what it takes away, it’s in what it gives.
Something good to think about as we go into the world today… Lots of different ways to achieve happiness out there, but I can confirm this one’s a pretty direct (and relatively easy) path. You don’t have to do anything except get rid of stuff!
(And of course hold onto all which brings you joy :) The point isn’t to deprive yourself of stuff, just not to over do it!)
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Minimalism is great for consumers….people who never make anything. But what about *makers*, the people who actually create?
You can’t build anything without tools, and tools take space.
It’s something I struggle with, and I’ve yet to find a perfect answer.
I am a “maker” and I teach people to make things. I am also a diy kinda gal when it makes sense for me to do so. I don’t put tools in the same category as “stuff”. Tools, when they are genuinely needed (not just cool gadgets) are essential items and give us a lot of satisfaction by not causing us more stress. Can you imagine trying to unscrew something using just your fingernail or cooking dinner every night just using a spit over the fire in your backyard? Tools are not things you get rid of for a minimalist lifestyle unless someone else is replacing all the work you do.
I’m with you guys. Tools need to be in a different category altogether. It really shouldn’t be a problem for most of us. They should fit in the garage if we don’t clutter it up with jet ski, kayak, an extra TV, freezer, etc…
The beauty of Minimalism is that, like our finances, we all have our own path.
If there is something in your life that brings you value, then by no means should you get rid of it, even if that means keeping a garage full of tools. There are always going to be extreme minimalists that live out of a backpack, but for the vast majority of us, we have families, hobbies, or jobs that require us to own significantly more.
Minimalism is not deprivation. It’s about living a more meaningful life.
The other tricky part is *hobbies*. Especially the collectors out there. I thank my lucky stars the only thing I’m drawn to collect are coins! Both in the bank AND in physical form ;) If they don’t fit in my cigar box it’s not coming home with me.
Thanks for the book recommendation, I have to add it to my list.
Minimalism is something I am working on. I always seem to want more but I don’t NEED more. I have to remind myself that I am living perfectly fine without all my wants.
That’s the hardest part – fighting all the advertising and marketing and telling yourself that what you have is enough!
Thoughts from The Tamale:
I have been following Joshua for a number of years, and I love his stuff. I have 5 kids, so minimalism can be ‘confusing’ at times, as you have stated Mr. Tako. That’s because there is a section of the movement where the goal is to get down to 100 items in life, or live out of a backpack. For these individuals, those could be great goals. For a father of 5, or ‘makers’ not so much. (If you count each perler bead, I am in the 10,000’s already!)
“The beauty of minimalism isn’t in what it takes away, it’s in what it gives.” I am sure being a ‘maker’, just like anything else, you can let acquiring tools and equipment get out of control. Or you can maintain control, be resourceful and make sure each tool is needed, and valuable to you, contributing toward your final goal instead of detracting from it.
You may end up with many more items than another minimalist, but less than the typical maker, and you would still be true to the spirit of minimalism.
Omg it drives me crazy to see people park their cars in the driveway and then see it’s because of junk filling the garage.
I just can’t comprehend that. The only time that happens to us is when I’m doing construction on my house and I need a staging area for a week or two.
We have a town-home and use our garage for storage. We’re currently working on a reno of our kitchen, but longterm, I plan on having our garage as a gym/activity area. It’s not going to be our car storage section. Doing this lets us have an additional room that doesn’t need all the heat. Additionally, we have street parking and our cars fit in our driveway.
Long story short is that I don’t know if it’s right to judge someone who’s in a different place than you are. Or at least it doesn’t help anyone. We all have different levels of comfort and what works for you doesn’t work for me!
I see this all the time too! WHY? Folks. WHY?
That’s it ,I’m returning my Retro Air Jordans this week! Say no to clutter!
Haha… just like you’re going to return all your fancy watches??? ;)
Sometimes I go through my house and wonder why I need certain things. Do I have them just because I have the space for them? When I hike I only bring what I can carry and even then they say “bigger bag more stuff” so I carry a small bag (working on a post about what long distance hiking taught me about minimalism). I heard in a documentary a psychologist say when we pack our bags we are packing all of our fears. Bandages for if we fall, medicines for if we get sick, tarps for if we get stuck outside at night. But you can’t prepare for everything. Our houses do the same. We pack it full of our fears. We save and buy and over prepare for that just in case event. Often times it never comes but what does come is a new idea about what else we can prepare for and so we save and buy and over prepare. It’s endless! ;)
FASCINATING WAY OF LOOKING AT IT!!! I’ve never heard that before!
I’m reading Essentialism now. It totally is correct. The best part about that book was the distinction between saying No and someone saying yes for you instead. If you don’t choose ahead of time, someone’s going to choose for you whether you like it or not, so saying that you want to be spontaneous is pretty dumb.
Josh Becker’s stuff is fantastic. I feel like we go through bouts of “lets get rid of everything” to “let’s just relax” and I’m OK with that. It’s definitely not a complete decision, but we’re generally headed in the right direction. At least I hope so!
I’ve been thinking a lot about that “other people saying yes” part for you too. You know where it’s most prevalent for me I’m finding? MY EMAIL! Think about it for a second…. Everything in there is from OTHER PEOPLE asking you for something whether big or small. And every time you answer one of them they got you to prioritize them over your own stuff.
Freak, right? :) (If only I didn’t feel so bad ignoring people!)
If you didn’t get all that e-mail, how would you know how popular you were? ;)
I’m pretty ruthless with e-mail subscriptions, but I totally feel unloved sometimes. It’s scary how those stupid e-mails trying to sell me something affect me like that!
I’m reading Essentialism right now. How could I not, after your recommendation and a glowing one from Miss Montana? Add A Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins and you’ve got a trifecta providing a perfect road map to life.
Thanks for the review and the peak into the book! As I go make coffee I’ll ponder what the heck is in my kitchen drawers while searching for the coffee scoop.
Glad to hear! I’d be surprised if it doesn’t infiltrate your thoughts going forward :)
I’ve read Joshua’s stuff for a while now and read this book about a year ago. Minimalism, like personal finance, is all about choices too. No one will ever minimalize the same just as not all of us will save, invest, or spend the same. I highly recommend Joshua’s works to help you figure out what’s important to you. I’m hoping to start Essentialism this weekend.
Awesome Father’s Day gift btw!
Love this! Minimalism is such a fascinating subject for me, and as much as I blog about it and try to achieve the lifestyle, it always feels like there’s more to cut down and create more freedom.
Thanks for the recommendation – will check the book out!
I’ve been indulging in the concept of minimalism a few months ago, when I started listening to the podcast of The Minimalists, and loved it!
I liked how much the minimalism community resembles the FIRE community. For example: living more frugally, finding things/experiences that add a value to your life, and enhancing the freedom that building wealth will give you.
Haven’t read the book (yet), but is my reading list. As well as other books about minimalism. Hope to catch on with it rather soon!
Yup! Big cross over into FIRE, which I think is why both movements are growing so well right now… Once you find one you kinda sorta get sucked into the other :)
Frugality and minimalism go hand and hand for me. I don’t believe we all really need that much stuff, we are just being told we need more to be happy. Don’t waste money on things you don’t need but spend money on things that bring you happiness!
I read this book last summer and have found myself wanting to re-read it lately. While I am not 100% into minimalism for the sake of minimizing, I am 100% into mindfulness when deciding if I want/need to take on another responsibility. I also appreciate Joshua Becker’s message and writing much more than others that write about this subject. This is one book I will probably end up buying at some point. Just to have around when I feel like I need a reminder.
Agreed on his style – much less preachy/almighty like some others in the niche.
I sadly fit into some of those stats at the moment, our garage is a disaster right now :) – fishing stuff takes up too much room.
Surprised to see the off-site storage numbers being so high – I wonder how many of those start off as the temporary solution and are just never remedied
I haven’t had as much time to read as usually do lately – getting way behind
We came to the States with 3 suitcases 4 years ago.
Couple of month ago we moved from to a new place and we found out that our 3 suite cases has become more like a moving track for Studio/1Br
Even though we’ve been doing better than an average family of 4, after we moved to a new house we sold and donated almost 1/3 of our stuff and created a couple of new rules for buying carp we don’t actually need.
Loved the picture you drew years ago hahaha. We have been lucky enough to realize early on in life the rat race is not worth it. We love living in our small house and a simple life. We have begun to minimize more and more. We would love to buy an RV down the road and travel full time over the summers when we have off.
That’s a dream of ours too :)
Minimalism didn’t work for me personally, but I agree with its premise. Basically, you only “need” a very small amount of possessions to be happy. Everything else is cluttering your life and costing you money.
Awesome read….couldn’t agree more with your list of 12! My mother died 9 years ago and that is when I started questioning stuff! I have changed my life to doing more experiences and less of buying stuff and shopping. While I miss the shopping with family/friends, I found that you truly only need so much stuff and then your giving it away, doing a garage sale or moving it around in the basement. Stuff was wasting my time and energy. My husband will call my simplicity the need to satisfy my OCD….but it really is great not to “NEED” something new all the time to make you feel happy :)! Happy Day!
Agree with your comments. I’m connecting with friends by experiences, lunch & an outing; dinner & musical — rather than shopping. Probably spending same amount, but not bringing stuff home! MIL died 2 years ago, and FIL has been on a clean out kick ever since — he’s decluttered; I’m thrilled that he has taken on this task of decluttering and ridding himself of extra stuff -amazing how clean the house stays!
At least something good is coming out of all those deaths! :)
The Father’s Day card is too cute! :)
I’m not a minimalist, but I’m pretty frugal and try to buy stuff we don’t need. It’s amazing how we’re now so blessed with all the resources and gadgets that we can gain access to. But sometimes we sadly just let them rule our lives…
I have been on a path towards minimalism (or actually moderatism which is somewhere in between) for a year now. Closet is down to 8 work shirts, t-shirt pile is down to 1 pile, jackets have been donated, etc. I am not adding to the pile. My decisions on what to buy at this point are very thought out and each item has to be used. If I have not used something for a year then it is time to get rid of it. Sell it or donate it. Craigslist has been great for helping me out with this and make a little cash.
As for environmental impact. I could not agree more. I often want to drop the size of our new home (we have been in it for 6 months and don’t use 1000 of the square feet). I guess after a year I will have to put the house on Craigslist unless we start using it!!!
HAH! Would make for a helluva blog post, that’s for sure :)
(And I like that term – moderatism. I bet more of us fit into that than others, at least while we’re on our way to one of the extremes :))
Do books count as clutter? If so I def need to reduce my collection of books, as most are already read and otherwise don’t get touched. These suckers do take up quite a bit of space, which is why I’ve been relying on the local library a lot recently. A book/clothing donation would be a step in the right direction for me. Cute clown card.
I’ve heard some people lump “books” into 1 thing, and the others who count them all as separate ones, in which case you’d be screwed :) But honestly, having a book hoard is probably one of the better hoards to be carrying around. At least they bring you something helpful! Maybe you can start “loaning” them out, knowing they’ll never be returned ;)
Love #10. My parents farmed their 60+ years of marriage; didn’t throw anything away….Dad died 5 years ago, and we’ve spent months of days going through stuff; scrapping metal; etc. Basement flooded in spring rains (first time ever) and now we’ve spent days carrying all that stuff out and sorting, disposing of or cleaning it to keep. Mom admonished me “you weren’t raised to throw things away — “
Oh man, that’s harsh :(
I had almost the same experience. My parents threw nothing away. When my Dad died and I cleaned out the garage and basement, my mother cried. I finally asked her, “name 3 things that were in the basement and garage”. She couldn’t do it. BTW, she fished stuff out of the garbage so we had to take everything to the dump.
We’re not minimalists, but at one time in our lives, my husband and I were living it. I had just graduated from basic training and was going through my A school, and since my husband was between jobs (because who knew where we were going next), he moved down with me so I could live off-base. We rented a 500 sq. ft. apartment and bought one bed, one TV stand, and one futon off Cragslist and just enough pots, pans, and dishes to get by. That was incredible – we saved so much money! But when it was over, I was ready to have more than a suitcase’s worth of clothes, enough pots and pans that I could actually really make food, and we knew our sentimental stuff like photo albums and old videos were just going to eat up space in our next place. We’re constantly working on striking that balance between minimalism and still having our house feel like a home and not a hotel.
Def. sounds like a dream ;) But totally see it getting old at that extreme for sure.
I swear that our stuff goes at it like rabbits when we are not looking and produces more stuff. It feels as if I have removed numerous garbage bags full of clothes from our closets and donated it, and yet there is still more.
I wonder if we would tend to acquire less if the true cost was more apparent – you know sort of how they say that if you have to butcher your own meat you either wouldn’t eat it at all or eat so much less of it? If we knew the cost (in terms of unfair labour practices, in terms of the environment to cart something halfway across the world etc.) of each thing we procured, perhaps our appetite would be somewhat diminished.
I would say a definite YES if we had to *make* it ourselves :) I’d be nearly naked every day of the week! Haha…
A couple of years ago (fresh out of college), I was in a rotational program with my job in which I moved every 8 months or so for 2 years. I never got more than 60 days notice that I was going to move, and I usually only got 4-5 days to execute the move before going back to work.
I became a minimalist by accident because of that job. There was NO WAY I was going to haul stuff around the US that I didn’t need simply because I owned it, so every month or so, I’d find things to give away/ sell/ throw out so that the next move wouldn’t be so painful. I never missed the crap I threw away, and I could pack up my apartment in less than 48 hours. It was great!
Now, I’ve been living in the same place for almost three years and my apartment is packed to the gills with junk! I’m moving to Atlanta soon (then getting married), and have started the process of sifting through my stuff. Maybe this is a good opportunity to move in the direction of minimalism?
Sounds like the perfect time ;) Especially if you’re moving in with your finance and will be combining their stuff too! (And congrats!)
I hate the idea of leaving a bunch of junk for my heirs to handle when I pass. For me, the hardest thing to part with has been books; a few moves helped there since they reminded me of their weight. I’m also a big fan of less stuff to maintain; the time and money involved in taking care of stuff could be spent petting a puppy.
This is definitely a balancing act. I try to only keep what I really need and use. Fishing is my hobbie. It is easy to keep buying and buying more tackle. When in reality I just need one box and a few rods. At one point I had 15. I ended up selling 10 on eBay. Now I just try to not go to sporting good stores. But it is easy to get crazy with any hobbie. It is good to be aware of this.
Haha yes – NOT going into stores def. helps with the accumulation goal :)