Books That Inspire a Simple Life
I have been reading a few books lately on, not really simplicity I guess, but about STUFF and THINGS and what we own. I know, I’m a little late to the party but I just read 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker. The premise? She chose 7 areas of excess in her life and tried to cut back.
Jen Hatmaker’s book was…interesting. I enjoyed reading it. One thing I was really struck by was what different lives we live to start with. Let’s just say Jen has a lot more excess than we do. I suppose having more disposable income is a big difference. More money often means more stuff, more meals out, more spending.
Let me clarify: I have plenty of excess in my life. Plenty of stuff. More than enough stuff.
Why Minimalism Matters to Me
I’m a minimalist at heart. Chuck likes to say, “If it were up to you, we wouldn’t even have furniture! We’d just have a couple of pillows to sit on.” My response? “Just think of how easy it would be to clean!”
Clutter, too much stuff, makes me feel anxious and claustrophobic. When I was a teen I used to dream of living with all of my possessions in my (imaginary) VW van. The only problem with my fantasy was, what about my books and music?! Everything else I could part with, but those? Thanks to Apple and Amazon, that little problem is solved.
Our recent wildfire has had me thinking about possessions. Back when my children were young and Laura Ingalls was my hero, I used to read her books and marvel at their lack of possessions. When Ma told Laura and Mary to clean up their toys, they literally had their dolls (and Laura’s doll was a corncob) to pick up. On long winter days, Ma would sometimes let them make patterns with her thimble in the ice on the windows. Ma had her Shepherdess figurine that was always displayed on a shelf. Contrast that against today’s toy collections and decorations?
Challenging Ourselves to Live With Less
As soon as I finished Hatmaker’s book, I picked up The 100 Thing Challenge by Dave Bruno. In his book, Bruno decides to pare down his personal belongings to no more than 100 items. He chronicles his year-long journey and his fluctuation of possessions. I was also struck by my differences with Bruno. For one thing, I don’t shop for fun, ever. I shop when I need to buy something. That isn’t to say I don’t pick up items that aren’t on my list or that I don’t need, but I would never, ever go shopping just for fun. I go to the mall 2-3 times per year to buy the boys jeans at Old Navy.
I enjoyed both these books along with Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
A Simple Life When Your Family Isn’t On Board
I am a minimalist sharing a house with 11 people who are not minimalists. But that’s okay. I just introduced the concept of capsule wardrobes to Kalina and Jubilee. They are working on color schemes and collections right now. Last time I bought Apollo new clothes I made sure every top matched every bottom. His is very opinionated about his clothing, and this ensures he always looks “put together” when we leave the house.
And me? I’ve come up with a very basic simplicity motto:
I want to have a simple life so I can focus on the things I love.
As I go through our house, tidying and decluttering, I am making sure the things I keep are in line with these goals.
Have you read any of these books? What’s your take on simplicity or minimalism?