Disclosure: I was gifted a copy of ‘The Minimalist Home’ in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated for my time.
If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you’re probably aware of my minimalist history. I was born and raised on a small farm in rural Tennessee on a single family income. Living with less, experiences over things, and choosing quality over quantity were all woven into the thread of my childhood.
I never knew there was a term for this way of life until I happened upon Joshua’s Instagram account years ago after posting a photo of our very minimally decorated home.
(I had to dig for the photo, and luckily my photography and editing skills have slightly improved, although the decor hasn’t changed!)
Minimalism symbolizes freedom- from consumption, excess, and clutter- in favor of more time, space, and money for what we value most. Having a minimalist mindset paid off in dividends when my corporate job was unexpectedly eliminated last year.
Living with less allowed us to fully fund an emergency savings account, and it provided peace of mind after my job loss. No frantic searching for my next source of income; instead I was finally free to focus more on my freelance writing passions.
About the Author
Becker is a youth pastor turned blogger at BecomingMinimalist.com, author, speaker, and nonprofit founder of The Hope Effect- an innovative approach to orphan care. If I could handpick a mentor, he’d definitely be in my top five. Oh, and did I mention he has FABULOUS hair.
You can imagine my fan girl excitement when his team reached out to offer The Minimalist Home, his latest book, in exchange for a review.
I read Joshua’s previous book ‘The More of Less’ and it provides an introduction to the minimalist movement, a glimpse at the lifestyle benefits, and how it’s impacted each generation.
The Minimalist Home
Becker provides a few startling facts to begin:
“The United States has more than fifty thousand storage facilities–more than the number of Starbucks,, McDonald’s, and Subway restaurants combined. Currently there are 7.3 square feet of self-storage space for each person in the nation….” (Self Storage Association, 7/1/15)
My husband and I were recently chatting about the dozens of storage spaces popping up around Nashville. A few of them are ultra fancy and resemble small apartment buildings. Basically the homelessness crisis could be solved with the amount of storage real estate in the US.
Becker’s personal definition of minimalism is “the intentional promotion of things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them.” There’s no one-size-fits-all explanation of minimalism, but a certain point of ‘life optimization’ at an individual or family level, he suggests.
What resonates with me most is his preference for significance over stuff and his desire to contribute rather than consume.
The Becker Method (his personalized roadmap to decluttering the home) is designed to walk anyone through the minimization process, one small space at a time.
Like any goal worth achieving- losing weight, saving money, hiking the entire Appalachian trail, etc.- a decluttered home takes time, effort, and strategic planning.
After most goals are achieved, a support system is needed to maintain results. I like that Becker equips readers with a special maintenance section that addresses long term buying habits, gift giving, and managing a minimalist home throughout different seasons of life.
The spaces of the home are sectioned out as chapters in the book:
This layout allows readers to maneuver through the book with ease and skip over less relevant content.
Each chapter begins with an intention setting exercise for the room. A room’s purpose is examined, allowing readers to think through the culture and environment of a space and envision the freedom an uncluttered home could bring.
The content throughout each chapter provides step by step tips on minimizing clutter, thorough lists for deciding what to keep and what to toss, and a final checklist to ensure each room passes the clutter free test.
The Minimalist Home provides all the necessary tools to help readers turn a home of excess into a minimalist sanctuary. He uses audience examples and reader stories throughout to capture other viewpoints, which I enjoy.
I do wish that Becker would address the underlying causes of overconsumption and how it negatively impacts our health, finances, relationships, the environment, and the livelihood of those producing the goods.
He does briefly discuss the guilt of sending items to a landfill, but justifies it by stating the resources to produce the item in question have already been used and the item will continue to take up space, whether it’s in your home or in the landfill. (He does first recommend donating, selling, or giving away excess items to those in need.)
He briefly comments on letting this guilt be a guide for future conscious consumption.
Overall, Becker wonderfully highlights the freedom an uncluttered home and life can bring- freedom to focus more on passions, freedom to give generously, and freedom to create the life of your dreams.