Ever since my husband introduced me to the Zen Habits blog back when we were dating, I have been in LOVE with Minimalism. One of the leading voices in this minimalist movement is Joshua Becker who created the Becoming Minimalist blog, so when I heard he was writing a book on minimalism, boy was I eager to read it! Becker defines minimalism as “...the intentional promotion of things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them.” (Becker, Pg. 80).
The book starts out with Becker explaining how he got into minimalism which was inspired by a neighbor’s comment while cleaning his garage. Becker realized that maybe he didn’t actually need all this stuff, and that managing, moving and maintaining all of this junk was actually holding him backfrom doing the things he wanted to do, like play with his kids. From the very moment Becker realized he doesn’t need all his clutter, he and his wife went on a long journey of selling, donating and downsizing everything they owned.
In situations like this, professional organizers can make things easier since an organizer is a neutral party and is there to help support you and make decisions while downsizing. I would also like to clear up that on page 87 where Becker says “...it is important to physically touch every item...almost every professional organizer will give you the same advice because handling an item forces you to make a decision about it.” I strongly, strongly, disagree with this. Studies by Ohio and Illinois State Universities actually show that holding an item gets you more attached to it. Getting organized is not all about putting things in color coded folders and pretty boxes as Becker seems to feel (which was to my great irritation though I still love the book). To me, minimizing is the very first step to getting organized since it creates the physical and mental space for the organizing to begin. Of course the client always has the final say on what stays and goes but I feel that a major part of my job as an Organizer is to be the one to push you a little further than you want to go in order to help you realize your organization goals.
One major realization Becker came to that many minimalists also come to is that his lifestyle wasn’t matching his values. Now how many of us can really honestly say that our everyday life is accurately reflecting our values? I bet not too many. It’s not an easy thing to do as simple as it sounds! You would think that your lifestyle would naturally reflect your values but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that life is busy! There’s bills to pay, dogs to walk, babies to bathe, dishes to do, and the list goes on (and on.and on.) So many of us are just living on autopilot trying to stay above water and certainly no one can blame you for that. Minimalism is one way of taking back control of your life, which is why this lifestyle trend is on fire lately.
There are so many great parts of this book that I would love to keep referencing but you’ve already made it this far into the article, so bottom line is that The More of Less is definitely worth reading (despite it’s inaccurate views on Professional Organizers). Becker even donates the profits from this book to the non profit he started called The Hope Effect, which creates a new way to care for orphans that mimics the natural family unit. That’s what I love about minimalism; because Becker decided to dedicate his life to his values, by living an intentionally minimalist lifestyle, he was then able to create this wonderful non profit that gives so much meaning to so many. What could you be offering the world if you only chose to live with full intention? No one says you need to become minimalist, but living consciously is always a nice idea because whether we live once or not, the present moment is all that there is, and the only time we have to enjoy it is now.