Minimalism: Books.

What is it you really need?
Books can help us learn.

A year and a half ago, I picked up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo at the library. I joined millions in the pursuit to declutter and organize my stuff and my life. I talk about my journey on The Practical Minimalists' Podcast, so I won't recount it all here.

Around the same time, I was reading about the human brain and how it gets programmed in specific ways according to how we're raised and the habits we form. About how it takes a lot of effort to make changes and reprogram, but it can be done.

I've always had a tendency toward materialism and shopping addiction, so a life of decluttering and then buying less was going to be tough. It took reprogramming. I started with Kondoism and was intrigued, but knew I would need more to stay on the path. So I kept reading and over time, it got a bit easier for my default setting to change from "I need this" to "Do I need this?"

Honestly, I could use some more reprogramming recently. My brain rewiring has taken a big hit after buying a house in Portland. I've saved money here and there by doing projects myself, but I'm still constantly tackling new projects and buying the goods needed to do so. And in my quest for a well organized home, if what I already have isn't the perfect picture in my head, I'm likely to bring something new into the house that is.

I feel good and bad about this. Our home brings me a lot of joy, but my wish list is usually long, and I find myself wanting more. I think it's time to take a break from the Hygge Reading List and get back to being happy wanting less.

After Marie Kondo, I went on to read my favorite book on the topic, Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle. Her blog and Instagram are of the few that I consistently read. I don't have the constraints of a tiny apartment, but her advice always feels relatable.

Next was The Joy of Less: A Minimalst Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify by Francine Jay. The biggest benefit of this book was reinforcement for that brain reprogramming. I also used it to help guide me through my house room by room.

I bought Make Room for What You Love: Your Essential Guide to Organizing & Simplifying by Melissa Michaels, but honestly it is still on the shelf with a bookmark not very far in. I will probably revisit it some day, but Melissa's perspective is very tied into her religious path, which just wasn't what I was looking for at the time. If that's what you're looking for, you'll likely love it.

Finally, I read Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path by Erin Loechner. This one has a similar perspective as Michaels' book, but feels more like a conversation in pursuit of inner peace. It brought the minimalist considerations beyond stuff, to self.

I just picked up Remodelista: The Organized Home by Julie Carlson and Margot Guralnick at the Amazon Bookstore the other day. It's filled with practical advice and beautiful images. But I'm in need of another Boyle-esque book to get back on track. Remodelista will be lovely, and I'm sure it will instill all kinds of organizing ideas that have me sneaking off to the Container Store. Do you have any suggestions to reinforce the "Do I need this?" training?

Note: The painting in the background of the photo is by Emily Jeffords.

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