Naturally, I’d decluttered before. I’d worked hard at it. I’d become quite good at it really. But last year, following an epiphany, I instigated a mammoth simplification project that ultimately has touched every aspect of our lives. It continues to create lasting change as we become increasingly thoughtful in our choices.
I have had no guide for this leg of the journey; no one I know has been here before. Thus, I sought inspiration, affirmation and motivation in books and blogs on decluttering, simplifying and minimalism. Resources on decluttering tended to focus on beginning the journey and the practicalities of sorting and redistributing clutter, often to the exclusion of more meaningful topics. A minimalist approach appealed to me and deeper discussions amongst its adherents were common, but it didn’t really feel as if the resources were meant for me. Radical experiments in asceticism were interesting and I could certainly make use of some of what I was reading, but they didn’t resonate further. It was only when I came across Joshua Becker’s book, Simplify, and the term, “rational minimalism”, that I began to have a cohesive vision of what I was working towards and a model from which to extrapolate my own version of minimalism.
Recently, when I was offered a free copy of Becker’s new book, Clutterfree with Kids, in exchange for an honest review, I had no hesitation in stepping forward. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. In many ways, it’s the guidebook I wish I’d had a year ago.
Minimalism is about intentionality. It is marked by clarity, purpose, and thoughtfulness. At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It is a life that forces intentionality upon us. And as a result, it forces improvements in almost all aspects of our lives.
– Joshua Becker – Clutterfree with Kids
True to his ethos, Becker has delivered a work of enormous scope and depth in a succinct, compact style, which somehow never seems rushed or truncated. He brings a rare maturity and gentle wisdom to his subject, touching on topics, such as gift-giving and children’s artwork, in a warm, generous way that transcends the fear-based approach, so common amongst the recently decluttered.
On art, he insightfully tells us “…keeping everything is the same as keeping nothing…the less important always steals attention from the most important.”
He takes a refreshingly unique approach to topics beloved of writers in the field. Not merely urging us to drop items from our schedules in the name of simplification, he goes on to entreat the reader to, “Remember the importance of leaving room to add.”, so that we might have the opportunity to find “something new or something better”.
His book is infused with a secular, inclusive and always pragmatic ideology. He talks of hope and faithfulness and just a few pages later gives a working definition of ‘clutter’ to help the reader on their way. There is space within the narrative for the reader’s own beliefs to find their place, interwoven, as in life, with practical concerns. The pervasive theme of intentionality weaves its way subtly (and sometimes overtly) through chapters on seemingly disparate topics, drawing them together into a polished and cohesive whole.
Whether you’re just beginning your journey towards a simpler, more intentional life or you’re looking for inspiration for the next leg, I can unreservedly recommend Joshua Becker’s Clutterfree with Kids.
You can buy Clutterfree with Kids at the following places:
- The digital version of the book (Kindle, Nook, iBooks, .pdf) will retail for US$6.99.
- The paperback edition of the book will retail for US$12.00.
Read more at Joshua Becker’s blog, Becoming Minimalist.