Want to get straight to it? Read the first chapter of The Minimalist Home for free here.
Joshua Becker’s new book, The Minimalist Home, will be released on December 18, 2018. It’s probably something we’ll all need right around the holidays and as we make resolutions for the new year in 2019. He’s encouraging people to share tips and join the conversation on social media using #minimalisthome.
Joshua knows a thing or two about minimalism — his blog, Becoming Minimalist, just had its 10-year anniversary. And, he’s the co-founder of Simplify Magazine. In the true spirit of minimalism, I’ve always been amazed at Joshua’s ability to make complex topics incredibly simple — minimizing complicated information to maximize practical action.
The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life by Joshua Becker
Great news! The free chapter also includes the contents of the entire book.
The book is divided into 3 sections: YOU, SPACES, and FUTURE. It looks like the majority of the book is dedicated to the topic of SPACES.
From what I can tell, Joshua will be taking us on a room-by-room decluttering tour. He goes through over 10 rooms — everything from bedrooms and closets to the kitchen and office to the garage and yard. It looks like there’s even a special section at the end about “minimalism maintenance” once you’ve decluttered everything.
The Purpose of The Minimalist Home
Joshua mentions some things related to the book’s purpose in the first chapter:
- “We’ve been conditioned since birth by the culture we live in to constantly pursue more and more. So a lot of people need or want an easy-to-follow, thoroughly tested how-to guide to carry them through the process of decluttering the home. This book is that book.“
- “Here I’ve brought together all my key teachings on minimalism.”
- “If you’re going to own only one book on minimalism to make a lasting change in your home and life, this is it!”
- “Although this book is about doing a minimalist makeover of your home, I’m warning you now that it may also mean making over yourself in a thousand unforeseeable, positive ways.”
- “Are you willing to come along with me and explore that idea for your home—that there is more joy to be found in owning less than we can ever find in accumulating more? I hope you will, because I know from years of experience that by getting rid of the excess stuff in every room, you can transform your home so that you feel not only free from the stress of so much clutter around you but also free to live a life focused on what you want to do with your limited years on this planet.” (Note: You are only here for 1% of recorded history)
5 Themes from The Minimalist Home “Chapter 1: Minimalism Makeover”
The quotes below are straight from the first chapter. I’ve taken the liberty to organize the quotes under my own five themes.
1) Minimalism is still Countercultural:
- “What if the problem is that we’re living in the homes that advertisers and retailers want us to have instead of the homes that deep down we really want and need?” (Note: Are you guilty of lifestyle inflation like me?)
- “Minimalism as a movement is taking off worldwide, yet it still remains countercultural, going against the consumerism and materialism that are pervasive all around us. In a society that consistently paints more and more accumulation as the basis for happiness, owning less requires intentionality, courage, and perseverance. You have to overcome your own inertia, make challenging choices, and establish new habits to minimize and stay minimized. It is not easy, but it is one of the best decisions anybody can make. While people who have something to sell to us shout consumption, minimalism softly invites us to reorient our pursuits around the things that matter most.” (Note: You have a choice; try to say “no” so you can say “yes”)
- “In the thirty-five richest countries in the world, total material consumption stands at an average of 220.5 pounds per person each day.”
- “Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods.” (Note: Nonessentials are killer in all aspects of life; see Essentialism)
- “Currently, the ’12 percent of the world’s population that lives in North America and Western Europe accounts for 60 percent of private consumption spending, while the one-third living in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 3.2 percent.’” (Note: This is why those of us in developed areas of the world need to adopt voluntary simplicity)
- “Over the course of an average lifetime, because of all the clutter we live in, we will spend 3,680 hours, or 153 days, searching for misplaced items. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list.” (Note: Probably not how any of us want to spend our 24 hours per day)
2) This is about Minimalism as a Lifestyle (vs. Style):
- “What I hate is the misperception that so many people have about minimalism. Many people think of minimalism as a style of home…A minimalist home, to them, is a boxy white house with almost nothing in it, and if you do happen to find a chair or sofa somewhere, it’s going to be really expensive—and good luck feeling comfortable sitting on it! A minimalist home, in this sense, is for people who don’t care much about coziness or comfort and definitely don’t have kids or pets or hobbies. Such a house might look good in a magazine photo spread, but who wants to live there?”
- “What’s widely known as minimalism in architecture and interior decoration today is fine as a design style, if you happen to like it, but that’s not at all what I’m talking about here. I’m promoting an approach to owning less that you can take regardless of the style of your home. It’s not about making an artistic statement or glorifying emptiness. Instead, it’s about transforming your home so that you can transform your life.” (Note: I address a similar slow living myth here about the difference between the look/aesthetic and the lifestyle)
3) Define Minimalism for Yourself:
- “Minimalism isn’t about removing things you love. It’s about removing the things that distract you from the things you love.”
- “Minimalism, as I’m referring to it, is not about taking something away from you; it’s about giving something to you.”
- “My definition of minimalism is ‘the intentional promotion of things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them.'”
- “As I sometimes like to say, minimizing is actually optimizing—reducing the number of your possessions until you get to the best possible level for you and your family. It’s individual, freeing, and life promoting.”
4) Minimalism Starts with your House and Spreads to your Life:
- “There really is no place like home. It is the foremost place on earth, our life’s HQ.”
- “You certainly don’t have to move in order to enjoy the benefits of home minimalism. You can change your environment and change your life right where you are.”
- “But what’s remarkable is not just how minimizing has changed how they feel about their house. It’s how differently they feel about themselves.” (Note: I actually started with clothing minimalism)
- “How can mere minimalism change lives in a fundamental way? It seems like too much to expect. Yet I’ve seen it happen over and over. Owning less creates an opportunity to live more.”
- “I’ve seen repeatedly, more times than I can recall, that there is an almost magical effect when people right-size the quantity of their possessions—in the process, the people themselves are changed in positive ways.”
5) The End Goal of Minimalism is to Fulfill Your Purpose:
- “I’ll take significance over stuff every time. I want to contribute more than to consume.”
- “By doing a minimalist makeover of your home, you, too, can set out on a new course toward fulfilling your purpose and potential in life.” (Note: Have you defined your life purpose?)
The Next Step is up to You
Like many transformational moments in life, Joshua mentions an “Aha! moment…trigger…tipping point.” (Note: See what inspired Joshua and other simple living leaders here)
Will you pick up the book and follow Joshua’s advice?
I hope you’re ready right now to throw out the excess, clean up the mess, say no to stress, and live with less. — Joshua Becker
Other Minimalism Books by Joshua Becker
- The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own (2016)
- Clutterfree with Kids: Change your thinking. Discover new habits. Free your home (2014)
- Simplify — This is actually an eBook that you can get for free by signing up for his email list on BecomingMinimalist.com
Slow Living Resources
Also published on Medium.