Got another book recommendation for y’all!
The More of Less, by Joshua Becker. Where that headline came from, and which should be the official bumper sticker of all minimalists, haha…
“Maybe the life you’ve always wanted is buried under everything you own!”
How good is that?? Similar to the book, Essentialism, I raved about the other month, this is another one that helps get your mind right and back focused on finding your MORE out of life by saying no/less to everything else that doesn’t match our priorities. Namely, our stuff.
Joshua sent me an advanced copy of this a year ago (so disregard that “not for sale” label on the cover, it’s def. for sale and can be found on Amazon!), but for whatever reason I just let it languish in my book case until I finally heard its calls over the weekend to pick it up and start reading.
It was the best gift I got on Father’s Day, outside of this gem :)
Most of you already know what minimalism’s about, but just like reading personal finance articles over and over again, the more you soak up the more it motivates you to keep going.
And if you’re fan of Joshua’s popular blog, BecomingMinimalist.com, you’ll enjoy his book even more – especially if you don’t know the story behind his epiphany which led him down this “less is more” track! You never know where inspiration will hit you!
I won’t go into the details of the book here (particularly because I’m only into chapter 5 at the moment ;)), but I did want to share two things from it that I think will strike close to home.
The first is an incredible set of stats on consumerism in our country here, and probably elsewhere in the world as well. This is the bad side of the equation:
- We consume twice as many material goods as we did 50 years ago in the U.S.
- The size of the American home has also nearly tripled in that same time frame!
- (And contains about 300,000 total items each – WOW)
- On average our homes contain more televisions than people
- 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park their cars inside
- And 32% only have room to park one car inside
- The home organization industry is now an $8,000,000,000 industry (that’s 8 BILLION!), and even scarier – it’s growing by 10% each year
- 1 out of 10 Americans rent off-site storage – the fastest-growing segment of commercial real estate over the past 4 decades
- And of course, we all know by now that most people can’t afford a $400 emergency, and that their average credit card debt hovers around $15,000.
Now on the plus side, there is a way out there to help curb a lot of this. And that’s where this minimalism movement comes in. It’s not the only way, of course, and it means something different to everyone, however it’s a pretty straightforward way. After all, the less you buy the less you need to maintain/declutter/stress out about, and of course spend!
Which leads us to the 2nd thing I want to leave you with – the good part.
The 12 main things minimalism gives you
This is what the entire book revolves around, and why people have been practicing minimalism for thousands of years despite many of us still not catching on ;) Probably because it was buried under everything we own! (See what I did there?)
Here’s what minimalism can give you:
#1. More time and energy — “Whether we are making the money to buy them, researching and purchasing them, cleaning and organizing them, repairing them, replacing them, or selling them, our possessions consume our time and energy.” So naturally, the less we own the more we’re freed up to spend our time elsewhere.
#2. More money — If you’re not buying up the world, you’re able to save the world! (Ooooh, maybe that should be the new motto instead??)
#3. More generosity — On top of being able to save more, minimalism also gives you the opportunity to do more for your fellow man. Whether financially or by giving more of your time to what you find most important.
#4. More freedom — the main thing we’re all going after! FREEDOM!! And the less you need to live off, the less you need to reach it. At least in terms of financial freedom. Remember our Challenge Everything mission? It was all based around exactly this. The more expenses you cut, the more freedom you gain.
#5. Less stress — “Imagine two rooms: one that is cluttered and messy, and another that is tidy and sparse. Which one makes you feel less anxious? Which one makes you feel calm?”
#6. Less distraction — Everything around us competes for our attention. The less stuff trying to steal it from us, the more time we’re able to focus on what matters.
#7. Less environmental impact — This is one trade off that’s often overlooked, especially by me, but it’s a great reminder that the less we consume the less damage we do to our world. Not including chocolate or beer – which are always binge-worthy ;) Another thing that’s pretty cool here is when you sell or donate your stuff to someone who can not only use it, but enjoy it! And how cool is that? Turning something you’ve labeled as “junk” just sitting there taking up space, now off to a good home where someone can appreciate it? It’s beautiful!
#8. Higher-quality belongings — This is another great trade off too, also overlooked by others when they assume minimalism = not having any fun or spending any money. But while you do end up saving a ton of money over time, it also frees up your budget to spend MORE on quality stuff or long lost dreams of yours! And what would you rather have at the end of the day – a dozen cheap things or 1-2 AWESOME things? Even if you spent all your minimalist savings on things you actually care about you’d be better off.
#9. A better example for our kids — If you think marketing is bad now, imagine how it’s going to be when our kids are older! When the internet is embedded in everyone’s eyes and controlled by Amazon! ;) Better to start setting those examples now while they’re young and impressionable (and hopefully listening to you).
#10. Less work for someone else — This one’s turning a more morbid corner, but it’s certainly a concern: when you die, someone will be spending gobs of time trying to sort through all your stuff and figure out what to do with it. And many of YOU out there have even gone through this yourselves and recognized what a boondoggle it was! Now imagine if your loved ones already combed through it all and only left the gems? You’d appreciate that dead loved one of yours even more! ;)
#11. Less comparison — I like this one in theory, but Lord knows we still compare regardless of owning a million things or a dozen things. And minimalists can take it even further and compare/compete the other direction too – seeing how much LESS they own than the other! Comparison can go a number of ways, haha… But yes, wrapping your mind around what’s truly important to you and what’s not will still advance you pretty far in this comparison game, even if it doesn’t completely fix it.
#12. More contentment — The point of it all in the end – to be happier! And to appreciate what we do have/keep without “needing” more and more over time. Just think about all those times growing up how happy you’ve been?? And that was with a lot less stuff or wealth than you have today more than likely too. I don’t know where we got lost along the way, but man – good thing for books and the internet :)
Here’s a picture I drew 8 years ago when I first stumbled across minimalism:
Pretty accurate, eh? ;)
I’ll leave you with one more quote from the book that I think sums it up perfectly:
The beauty of minimalism isn’t in what it takes away, it’s in what it gives.
Something good to think about as we go into the world today… Lots of different ways to achieve happiness out there, but I can confirm this one’s a pretty direct (and relatively easy) path. You don’t have to do anything except get rid of stuff!
(And of course hold onto all which brings you joy :) The point isn’t to deprive yourself of stuff, just not to over do it!)
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!