I just finished reading The More of Less, Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker. I liked it. A lot. Becker writes the blog “BecomingMinimalist.” His journey to owning less began one day when he was cleaning his garage while his young son was in the backyard by himself. It occurred to him that if he had less stuff to contend with, he’d have more time for catch with the kid.
Becker states, “Once we let go of the things that don’t matter, we are free to pursue all the things that do matter.” This makes so much sense to me. He defines minimalism as: “the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them.”
It’s not about getting rid of everything, rather it’s the getting out from under the things that hold us back from doing what we want. This book is also not about organizing! Organizing, Becker says, is “simply rearranging.”
In my experience, getting organized usually means spending money, too. How many of us keep buying things for our things? I know folks who should own stock in The Container Store. They buy things to stack things on, pretty baskets to put things in, color coordinated plastic things that go inside the pretty baskets, drawer dividers…the list goes on. Endlessly.
Finding the perfect way to organize stuff is like that magic pill I’ve been waiting for all my life that will make me thin. It doesn’t exist.
Becker’s book doesn’t offer up any simple solutions. There is no magic pill and it’s not a one size fits all solution either. He doesn’t tell you how to fold your t-shirts. He does encourage his readers to become aware of how we’re all taught to be consumers by almost everything we’re exposed to, from television to the ads in city buses to our own neighbors and friends.
“Success and excess,” he says, “are not the same.”
My own journey to owning less has recently become stalled by my overthinking things. I tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. But I’m getting back on track. I’ve learned to turn off the TV and put down the tablet. I’m learning not to feel guilty about reading when I should be doing laundry. I can actually find time to do both.
Like Becker says, “If an activity, a decision, or a habit is not bringing us closer to our purpose and passion, then we should remove it.”