Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Useful Resources

So you've been keeping up with me this month and thinking to yourself "I would like to have less stuff."

But you are stymied by not knowing where to start.

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Well for me I started on this road about a year ago and have read numerous books.  Some have been really helpful and inspiring and others...well not so much.

I would like to share a number of books that have proved helpful to me, if for nothing else than to provide me with a positive affirmation that this is the right thing to do.

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So in no particular order, except for #1 as I feel it is a great jumping off point, here are my favorite books on ways to minimize your stuff and make your life more centered on what makes you happy:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  Marie provides you with a complete start to finish plan for how to go through all of the items in your house.  She provides very poignant vignettes to go along with her advice (some of which are ways she failed initially at owning less) AND the best way ever to fold items in your drawers.

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Throw Out Fifty Things by Gail Blanke.  Gail, like Marie, walks you through different areas where you may have clutter.  She keeps a running tally throughout the book as she makes her way to 50 things (one fun added nuance is that she counts "like" things as 1 item...for example getting rid of 4 scarves would be one item of the 50).

Clutter Free by Kathi Lipp.  Kathi helps you think about your stuff in a new way.  To take stock of the items you have at home (i.e. buying a new box of cereal when you already have several of home...or buying a new book when there are 10 on your nightstand that you haven't read).  She suggests ways for you to use up what you  have..and if you don't like the item get rid of it.  There is no reason to hang on to something that isn't going to prove useful to you.

Packing Light:  Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage by Allison Vesterfelt.  Allison's memoir combines minimalism and travelling which are two of my favorite topics (throw in food and we have a trifecta).  She chronicles the selling of all of her stuff so that she can fund a cross country trip.  She has some wonderful revelations and has a great story-telling ability.

The More of Less by Joshua Becker.  After I read this I actually put up a book review on my other blog here, but to sum that up Josh really opens your eyes as to why we don't have to be a slave to our stuff.  He has some great examples that he shares from his life and what has drawn him, and his family, to have a more minimalist lifestyle.  For him living with less has been more.

The Year Without a Purchase by Scott Dannemiller.  I have a bit of a theme of memoir's...I totally love them and it's a bit like binging on reality TV (a total guilty pleasure).  Scott and his wife decide that for one year (with a few exceptions) they are going to buy nothing new...this becomes a bit difficult as they have two small children.  However they navigate in amazing fashion, for example at one point they make the birthday gifts for the parties they are invited to.  Without a Purchase has an added dimension of making if Christ centered (they are former missionaries) and provide some relevant scripture passages.

You Can Buy Happiness (and it's cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and You Can Too by Tammy Strobel.  Tammy's memoir takes things to the extreme as she chronicles her path of getting rid of her stuff and making a life in a tiny house.

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider.  Tsh has a very successful blog, The Art of Simple, and in Organized Simplicity she pulls from many of her blog posts simple yet effective strategies for how living with less is really a way to GAIN more in your life.  The book is a very quick and easy read and is full of practical suggestions.

And just for the upcoming holidays:

Simplify Your Christmas: 100 Ways to Reduce the Stress and Recapture the Joy of the Holidays by Elaine St. James.  The book has a little age on it, written in 1998, but some of the ideas can still be used.  She provides suggestions for gifts you can give and how to have others give to you in a way that is meaningful for both of you (like giving experiences instead of an item).

I hope that I didn't overwhelm you with reading material but I totally love books and I picked up all of these, except for two, at the library.  The two that I didn't get from the library I passed on through PaperBackSwap so that someone else could enjoy them next.

So do you think you'll read any of my suggestions?  If so which one is first up?

If you've read any of these I would love to know what your opinions of the book(s) were.

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