Simple Matters- Living With Less and Ending Up With More by Erin Boyle
As I was recovering from burnout this past year, I found myself shedding a lot of "soul junk" that I'd been carrying around with me for years. As the soul junk got cleaned out, I felt inspired, even driven, to clear my house of physical junk, also that we'd been carrying around for years. I'm no hoarder, but it is amazing how much stuff had found its way into my cupboards and closets, and through last summer I did a big purge- trips and trips to the thrift store. I read quite a few books about minimalism and organization, and found lots of great advice. This past week, I read another one "Simple Matters- Living With Less and Ending Up With More" by Erin Boyle. It's a great one! She is charming and helpful, and her book is full of great advice and good tips. She also goes into how she has eliminated plastic from her home, and how she has moved toward more natural and homemade beauty and cleaning products- it's an interesting addition to a book in this vein, and something I have thought about myself, so I enjoyed reading her advice on the topics. She inspired me to make a post-holiday run through my house, and take a couple of bags to the donation center today. My kids are outgrowing the sizes of clothes they have been wearing, and with the holidays just behind us, I've gotten a better idea of the toys they are no longer interested in. I also had a few things that I'd been holding onto, trying to decide if I wanted them any longer or not, and felt emboldened today to part with them.
I do try to keep only things that I love or find useful in my home, and have felt more peaceful getting rid of the excess that would cause me stress every time I had to dig through it to get to what I wanted. If you, too, are looking for some inspiration on how to clear you cupboards and closets, here are some of my favorites, in addition to Simple Matters.
"Clutterfree with Kids" by Joshua Becker is a must have for any home struggling to manage all of the "things" that come with little people. I found this to be especially helpful for me because prior to having a child, I had been able to keep my stuff in check fairly easily. But then the kid, now kids, came along, and there's just so much stuff- clothes, toys, dishes, educational items, sentimental items, photos, etc. Becker tackles each of these categories of kid-associated stuff and helps you figure out what is important to you and your child, what makes you feel happy as a family, and what you can toss, as well as how to keep it from re-accumulating. I have read through this 5 or 6 times, and use it as my base to return to when I feel like my house is becoming overrun with kid stuff. This book is awesome, and I've given it to more than one mom friend.
"The Joy of Less" by Francine Jay is one of those books that gives you person-envy. She's so relaxed, and gets to the heart of things so easily, that you just want to be her. She makes the process of conquering your clutter and finding your peace seem so simple. The opposite of intimidating, Jay helps you in this book to find your way to get there. She does give lots of specific tips, and if I were single person living in a small apartment, I could probably go line by line and live just like she does, but also, her tips are applicable to someone who can't execute them perfectly in a house full of a family, and she gives you a great framework to take her tips and tweak them to meet your needs. She's the organized, zen friend we all wish we had.
"The Minimalist Woman's Guide to Having It All" by Meg Wolfe is a more well-rounded look at minimalism than any of the other books I've seen out there. She does spend a significant portion of the book on teaching you about organizing and decluttering, but she also adds a great perspective on clearing out your soul junk, on finding peace and calm both inside and outside. It is this wisdom that has brought me back to this book over and over. And, fun side note, Meg also wrote a fiction murder mystery novel "An Uncollected Death" about a woman who finds minimalism- and a dead body. It's a great light read, for when you need to take a break from clearing out your clutter and put your feet up...
Lastly, I'm going to list a book that I haven't yet read, but that is on my short list. Courtney Carver lives near me, and I love her blog so so so much. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she absolutely had to cut down on the stress in her life, for her health's sake. She found minimalism, and has found both mental and physical improvements in her life from living a simpler, less-cluttered life. She rose to stardom for her 333 capsule wardrobe project, but she is so much more than just the capsule wardrobe queen. She is a woman of wisdom and great heart, and loves sharing how minimalism helps her. This book just came a out a few weeks ago, and I can't wait to read more of her wonderful and inspiring thoughts.
Are there any books on minimalism or de-cluttering that you love that I didn't mention here? Have you read any of these books and found them to be helpful in your life? Love to hear your thoughts!