A Review of the Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker
The Minimalist Home proclaims itself to be a room-by-room guide to decluttering. The book teaches you how to break down your home, sort out your stuff, and decide what to keep and what to let go of. The book is written by Joshua Becker, a famous minimalist known for his popular website, Becoming Minimalism.
I thought this book would be a good addition to Rinexii because too much stuff is a huge environmental issue. Our houses are often bristling with things. Clothing with the tags still on them. Fishing poles we used one time and then left in the back of the garage. Crafting supplies, appliances, utensils all with a unique purpose we seldom use.
All of those things, of course, took energy and resources to create. If we’re not using them, we’ve expended those resources for nothing. It’s far better to find an avid fisherman to take that pole, give those clothes to someone who will wear them, and to keep only the things we actually use or enjoy.
The book does, in fact, tell you how to sort through your stuff, but it was directed at someone who was obviously not me. I felt a little bit like an outsider looking in at the mystifying world of huge closets, vast homes that stretched endlessly per person, and spending so much that when you stop you can afford to fund an orphanage in a third world country. By yourself.
If you’re not a rich person yourself, you may find these constant reminders of extravagant wealth a bit off putting. I don’t have a guest bedroom to declutter, or a mudroom, or a laundry room, or a formal dining room….in fact I don’t have enough rooms in my home to make an office so that’s the living room.
Those things aside, the book is an excellent guide if your house is packed to the gills with stuff and you don’t know what to keep and what to toss. The book essentially recommends you pick up each individual object you own and decide if it is helping you on your journey or hindering you.
Most of the rest of the book is helping you decide. There were a few really great gems in there, such as how to find out if you actually wear your clothing or not, how to emotionally deal with the trauma of landfilling mass amounts of stuff, and a supportive section for maintaining a minimalist lifestyle.
I especially liked the point that if you thoughtfully donate as you minimalize, it can make a huge difference in other peoples lives. When you minimize your wardrobe, fashionable clothing could make the difference to a person in a woman’s shelter trying to get back on her feet.
There’s also great reflections throughout the book about who you want to become, and about dealing with the emotional baggage that comes with getting rid of so much stuff.
I do wish the ‘after care’ of minimalism included something about how to gracefully refuse the
crap kind gifts of other people. It seems that when you create a minimalist house, neighbors and family inevitably show up with bags of their old things to fill it back up again.
It can be a struggle to maintain relations and somehow not landfill their items in your house all at the same time.