In my last post I explained a little bit about my journey toward a more simplified life. My interest in minimalism was first captured when I found this post on Pinterest by Joshua Becker, which led me to his website, which led me to other links, then books, and eventually even podcasts. Minimalism is a very hot topic right now, and there are a myriad of resources out there to get you started, so many in fact it might be overwhelming. I thought it could be helpful to share some of my favorite go-tos in case you are interested in simplifying your life but aren’t quite sure where to start.
This is Joshua Becker’s site, and it is a great place to start. I began by reading through his list of most popular posts, which gives an overview of his approach to minimalism. I like that he has a pretty moderate and practical viewpoint, and also that he is married with two kids and lives in the suburbs (a lot of the minimalists out there seem to be single).
This site, created by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, is certainly on the extreme end of the spectrum. The authors fit all the stereotypes (heck, they practically invented the stereotypes so there’s that) but it is very inspiring to read about their personal journeys. I don’t agree with everything they say or think that it could work practically for our family, but they make a lot of good points. These guys also produced the documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things which you may have caught on Netflix.
Allie defines herself as a Jesus loving, minimalist mama. She has four kids and works from home, so you know if she can make a simplified lifestyle work anyone can! I love her practical tips and encouraging advice, and of course I identify strongly with her point of view since we share the same life stage.
- Unstuffed: Decluttering your Home, Mind, and Soul by Ruth Soukup
I’ve mentioned this book before, but it bears repeating as Ruth’s story of her family’s journey from absolutely overwhelmed to living an intentional, peaceful life is as inspiring as it gets. Read it. You’ll love it.
- Clutter-Free with Kids by Joshua Becker
If you’d rather get all of Becker’s advice about living a minimalist lifestyle as a family in one place (as opposed to piecing it together through his blog posts) then this is the book for you. It shares lots of practical tips on how to start your quest for a simpler life, and also what to do when everyone you love isn’t quite as gung-ho about decluttering as you are.
- Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner
Ok, so I haven’t read this one yet. But I listen to Erin on this podcast (she is a regular co-host) and I just love her point of view. This is not so much a how-to manual as a memoir of Erin’s desire to find a more intentional way of living. I can’t wait to pick it up (if only my TBR list wasn’t quite so long…)
- The Art of Simple hosted by Tsh Oxenrider
I started listening to this podcast and reading the accompanying blog long before I even knew what minimalism was. I don’t know that Tsh would categorically call herself a minimalist, but she is definitely a proponent of living an intentional, purposeful life, even if (usually when) that means you are paddling upstream against the cultural norms. She and her co-hosts talk about books, home, and travel, all within the framework of living simply. So great.
- The Slow Home Podcast hosted by Brooke Mcalary
I kind of stumbled on this one when I was scrolling through podcast suggestions on my app, and I was immediately captivated. Brooke and her husband (who often joins her as co-host) live in Australia, and I love the richness that her multicultural viewpoint brings to the discussion. This podcast isn’t so much about decluttering as it is about living a slower, more mindful life. It’s both practical and thought provoking, and Brooke’s worldview is different from mine which I find rather refreshing. Plus listening to their Aussie accents is just delightful.
- The Purposeful Home Podcast hosted by Allie Casazza and Kelsey Van Kirk
I found this podcast through Allie’s blog, and it’s just so much fun. These girls are bubbly and super upbeat, which is a bit surprising since they each have four kids (they are also both under 30, so maybe that’s why they have so much energy?). They are fun to listen to, and offer lots of practical advice and ideas based on their own experience of what worked for them (and what didn’t). I like having them in my earbuds when I’m doing dishes or folding laundry.
Well, that should certainly be enough to get you started. A word of caution before you dive in to all these resources: Don’t let yourself get too carried away without exploring your motivation first. When I’m exploring a new trend I tend to get all excited and inspired, and immediately want to purge All The Things and ditch All The Toys and write my definitive life mission statement, all in an afternoon. Yes, I’m an all or nothing kind of person, but even I can recognize that this attitude quickly leads to discouragement and burnout when the sparkle fades and I’m left with bags of belongings randomly deposited around my house. A better approach would be to use this information as a series of prompts to think more intentionally about the life you want to live. What kind of kids do you want to raise? What do you want your family culture to look like? Now consider whether the life you are actually living supports these values. Are there things you need to get rid of (possessions, commitments, debt, time-wasters) that will help you align your life with the one you actually want to be living? It’s only when we define why we want to change that change can actually stick. Minimalism is a trend that sprung up as a reaction against the empty consumer lifestyle that has become the normal American experience. But if we make decluttering and simplifying the goal without defining why or what we want to fill the empty spaces with, inevitably we will drift back to our old ways. Personally, I want this change to go deeper than that, down to the heart level. My hope is that by emptying my life of the excess and distractions, I will be able to move closer to God and the purposes He put me on this earth to fulfill.
Have you thought about your reasons behind why you are intrigued by a minimalist lifestyle? Do you have any great resources to share? I’d love to hear them!