I received a copy of Do Less: A Minimalist Guide to a Simplified, Organized, and Happy Life to review, and I love it.
As I was reading it I kept thinking… oh man, I wish I had written this book.
Rachel Jonat, aka The Minimalist Mom, has beaten me to the punch.
This isn’t the first book about minimalism I’ve read. However, it’s the first book written by a mom with honest-to-goodness, practical advice that fits for my (and likely, your) life. I’m not a hipster-ish, young bachelor type who can whittle down his possessions to less than 100 things, traveling the world with nothing more than a backpack and a Twitter account (because how else are you going to make those crucial couch-surfing connections!?).
Rachel gets that. So her book, like her blog, is far more accessible.
(Man, is there an echo in here? It seems like every other day I’m talking about some awesome new book, most of ’em written by a blogger.)
A few points that very much ring true for me:
* Too many choices deplete willpower. (page 15) To quote Rachel:
“When you reduce the choices in your life with minimalism, you free up willpower for the things that have a big impact on your life.”
Agreed. The research backs up this point.
* Use your pretty things everyday. (page 17) Since one manifesto of the minimalist is to have only useful and/or lovely things around, why save stuff (which quickly becomes clutter) for some future date?
Recently I bought some lovely white and black polka-dot cloth napkins at a yard sale. I also bought several antique white place mats. Instead of saving those for “company” (as if my family doesn’t deserve the best I have?), we use them everyday.
* Know thyself. (page 18) Be careful that you don’t buy things to impress others or that fit someone else’s life, not yours. Much clutter is the result of not buying for the real you.
* Rethink storing children’s things. (page 61) Amen to this. I’ve written about why I don’t save children’s clothing here.
* Create a “Wait 30 Days” buy policy (page 121) . Rachel writes that she has a personal habit of waiting for a month before making many purchases. This can save you from impulse buying, as well as forcing you to get creative in the meantime… perhaps you don’t need the item after all.
One of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Making your own deodorant from scratch is a hobby, not a necessity.”
Teehee. I definitely agree! The same applies to making your own cleaning products. The goal of minimalism, and of simplifying in general, is to create MORE: more energy, time and money, as well as space, for what DOES truly matter to you. So make sure that the things you spend time doing are making you happy, especially in a world in which everybody is doing everything (and updating it in real-time) all the time, it seems.
There were many more points I loved about the book. If this kind of thing interests you, take a look at Do Less here.