Book Review: The Big Book of Less

The Big Book of Less by Irene Smit

The Big Book of Less: Finding Joy in Living Lighter
by Irene Smit, Astrid van der Hulst, Flow Magazine

2.5 out of 5 stars

2.5 stars – The first article in this book is a serious analysis of the American economy, the financial crisis of 2008, the history of consumerism, and progressive theories about economic change. Not what I was looking for in this book. I wanted something much more lighthearted, personal, and inspiring; not a bunch of political theories.

However, there were many other articles and little personal biographies in this book that I DID enjoy, and which I found very inspiring! There is one article about stepping away from our screens that really spoke to me, and encouraged me to spend less time on my phone. I like the overall message of this book about slowing down, living more simply, and embracing what it truly important.

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Non Fiction Book Review: Keep What You Love

Keep What You Love by Irene Smit
Keep What You Love: A Visual Decluttering Guide (Flow)
by Irene Smit, Astrid van der Hulst,  Lotte Dirks (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

This book lists things you might want to declutter, and asks the question, “Do I really need it?” Each little page lists one thing, (an empty shoebox, old board games, nuts and screws, enough linens to stock a hotel, old phones, a breadmaker, holiday dinnerware, blank notebooks, and dozens more) and underneath it are checkboxes for “Yes” or “No”.

After every five or six decluttering items, there is a little snippet of advice about decluttering, living more minimally, and letting go of the emotions surrounding your possessions. The tips and advice are interspersed throughout the book, so I would recommend reading all of those first, and then going back and actually doing the declutter items checklist. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Minimalism Room by Room

Minimalism Room by Room by Elizabeth Enright Phillips
Minimalism Room by Room: A Customized Plan to Declutter Your Home and Simplify Your Life
by Elizabeth Enright Phillips

2 out of 5 stars

This book guides the reader through the decluttering journey with chapters for each room. The writing style is excellent with practical advice on how to make decisions for keeping or tossing your possessions. One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was the way it encourages the reader to examine their emotions about their home and possessions. The book provides affirmations and inspirational advice to fuel your motivation and create a new way of living.

It was odd to me that Bathrooms were lumped together with the Entryways in the same chapter. What do Bathrooms have in common with an Entryway? It made no sense to have those two areas together and made for a very confusing chapter. And the Laundry Room is included in the chapter with the Master Bedroom. The information is poorly organized. Continue reading

Book Review: Goodbye, Things

Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki
Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism 
by Fumio Sasaki, Eriko Sugita (Translator)

2 out of 5 stars

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. The author tells about his personal journey becoming a minimalist, and how terrible his life was before, and how he turned his life around through tossing out most of his possessions, and that made him a happier person. Then he gives a lot of philosophy about minimalism, and tips and advice about the mental and emotional experience of becoming a minimalist.
He doesn’t give very many practical tips; It’s mostly about having a minimalist attitude.
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Book Review: The Joy of Less

The Joy of Less by Francine Jay

The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify
by Francine Jay

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book is perfect for those who are curious about minimalism and want to declutter their homes and try it out. I love that the author emphasizes that minimalism is a mind-set and a life-style, not an aesthetic or a decorating trend. It’s not about how your home looks; it’s about how you feel in your home. It’s not about having a set number of belongings; it’s about having the right number of items that belong in your life for a reason.

I find the philosophy similar to the KonMari method of decluttering. Every item must have a purpose, whether it is useful or brings beauty into your life or just makes you happy.

This book takes you room by room, and gives common-sense advice on decluttering each space, how to get rid of things you don’t need or want, how to store what is left, and how to keep more clutter from building up again. 

There is also a chapter all about how to get your family involved in decluttering the house and keeping it tidy. 

I really enjoyed reading this book, and it inspired me to do a mini-decluttering session in my closet! (My house is already pretty minimal, but my clothing needed some pruning.)

I would recommend this book to anyone who isn’t sure about minimalism, or who hates minimalism but just wants to declutter and find more space in their home. This book might change your mind about minimalism and what it really stands for!