Minimalism is admirable. I've known a few practitioners in my life, most of whom seem to have come by their minimalism naturally. Others have come to practice it because they've downsized and they simply have no room for 'so much stuff" in their new homes. Still others have had an epiphany -- or a health scare or even a religious experience -- and they realize they're tired of cleaning all that stuff, storing it, moving it from place to place, and they just say "I AM DONE with stuff." When minimalists explain how they've come to BE minimalist, they're almost always unapologetic about it -- and most understand why other people cannot or will not embrace a "less is more" mentality.
Joshua Becker does an excellent job inspiring and motivating readers to streamline their lives by, among other things, owning less, and his BecomingMinimalist website is chock full of great articles and blog posts. One interesting point he makes in his book is about the 80/20 rule as applied to "stuff" in our homes. "...we use 20 percent of our stuff 80 percent of the time, and we use the other 80 percent of our stuff only 20 percent of the time. So within that 80 percent of your stuff that mostly just lies around, there should be plenty of easy picking when you start to minimize."
I moved from two houses with a combined 5,500 square feet of space, to a 1,200 square foot apartment. Many months of decluttering, donating and tossing were necessary, and it was grueling going through all the china, linens, photo frames, beautiful rugs and lamps and deciding what to do with all of it. Yes, I downsized, but I'm not what anyone would call a minimalist. And that's okay. People don't need to be minimalists to be happy, but it sure does help to have a LOT LESS STUFF.
So, if you're like me and find the concept of minimalism a bit too rigid or daunting, just know that you can benefit from following many of the Joshua Becker's recommended steps to a less cluttered life. The book includes experiments, testimonials, how-to stories and the like; much of the advice is practical regardless of how many pieces of furniture you have and how many accessories and works of art you have.
For example, to feel less cluttered and more peaceful, he recommends these ten tips: 1) Make your bed every morning; 2) Wash dishes right away; 3) Fill your recycling containers and garbage containers; 4) Always leave room in your coat closet; 5) Keep flat surfaces clear; 6) Complete one- to two-minute jobs immediately; 7) When you finish a magazine or newspaper, process it immediately; 8) Place junk mail immediately into a recycling bin; 9) Take care of clothes immediately; and 10) Nightly, return items where they belong.
Good advice for everyone -- including minimalists and declutterers as well as people who love being surrounded by the things they've loving collected for decades.