Book Review: The More of Less

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I have been feeling the weight of clutter recently in a big way.  The fact that we are getting ready to welcome our fourth baby in our home in the next few weeks might have something to do with it - but I have regularly found myself feeling overwhelmed and desperate when I see the amount of stuff we have accumulated over the past eight years of marriage and six years of being parents.  It's often, that my husband and I literally ask each other aloud, 'When did we get all this stuff?!'  In an effort to jump start my motivation to clear.all.the.clutter, I recently read The More of Less by Joshua Becker, and I am pleased to say, the book has definitely inspired me to work towards minimalism in our own life.

I was grateful right from the start that Becker promotes minimalism as 'the removal of things that distract us from the things we most value.'  It's not a removal of everything and living on the bare minimum - but unique to each of us and being able to live the life we most cherish by not holding on to things (or buying more things) that take away our time, space, and energy.

I especially appreciated the chapter on Troubleshooting, including suggestions on how to look at the areas of our personal belongings that in Becker's experience has been the most difficult for people to minimize - including two of my weaknesses: books and keepsakes.  Becker mentioned how his wife initially struggled with minimizing the box of keepsakes she inherited after the passing of her grandmother and I found myself nodding my head.  But then this explanation felt like such a light bulb moment, "We kept only the best - items with which to remember former times and beloved people.  Then, instead of keeping those special pieces in boxes , we found places for them in our home where we could see them....In keeping fewer of Grandma Irene's things, we have brought greater value to her memory." 

Becker covers a range of topics and reflections on how to make minimalism work for your specific life.  He offers many examples of people from all walks of life and from various stages of life and how minimalism looks for them - and how it has offered them a lease on life in which they can live out their greatest potential.  Becker even tackled the tricky situation in which only one member of the family is sold on living minimally, which felt like it was written directly for me.  My husband is interested in the idea, but is much less of a go-getter attitude than I am at actually acting on that idea. Becker gave specific suggestions for moving forward in minimalism with a partner and kids of varying ages that I found helpful and direct.

The book is laid out in a way that is really manageable for small, meaningful little bites of information and as a busy mom of three little ones, it made it easy for me to read throughout the day without losing momentum every time an interruption came up.   I liked the fact that it didn't feel like there was any superfluous fluff in the book, it reads almost like a presentation, where only the most important and blunt information has made it into the book.

As someone who is at the beginning stages of trying to living minimally, Becker's book truly felt like a useful tool in first understanding the importance in removing unnecessary items from my life, but also provided concrete steps and suggestions for moving forward.  I'm not only inspired to live minimally, but I feel like I have a plan now too after reading The More of Less.

I received this book from Blogging for Books, but all opinions are my own. 

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