So here is my review of More with Less: How to declutter your home without sacrificing comfort and coziness—a unique minimalist makeover approach by Michelle Moore. This is more expanded and slightly different from the shorter one that I posted on amazon.
Rating: 5 stars
I’ve decided that this is the “year (or possibly years—because lets face it I’m sure I’ll procrastinate a little at some point)” that I start having an active participation in my own life. This ranges from making sure I’m in a job that I at least enjoy going to daily, to making new friends (and getting together when possible with old friends), and that the house/apartment/bedroom (wherever I’m living) isn’t totally jam packed with stuff. This book is focused on that third area: making sure that I’m not just living surrounded by stuff.
I’ve read several different books on the minimalism over the past couple of months (and probably will still be reading some more just to get ideas on what to do), and this one ranks right up there in the top five.
The book covers several different things related to minimalism: hygge, and the Swedish death cleaning method; and then the author takes you through basically room by room on how to slowly start decluttering your own life/home.
One of the main themes behind this book (besides minimalism) is hygge, or the cultural practice of Scandinavians meaning “well-being” or coziness. Since hygge is a “practice” it can be considered both mental and physical—do things that make you feel cozy or increases your well-being.
Since it hygge can be considered an method of creating coziness, one thing about the book is that the author give a coziness challenge for each month—suggestion book mark or highlight the challenges that you would want to go through, or write them out in your journal. I agree with her perspective, but would probably change up some of the challenges to fit my life. For example—in January, the suggestion is to leave the Christmas lights up for another month. I agree to the idea of keeping the magic of the season going—but I think it should have been a little more generalized (as not every reader celebrates Christmas).
The other theme of the book is the Swedish Death Cleaning method. Basically this method was developed by Margareta Magnusson, who’s motto was “if you do not love it, you lose it”. Going slightly off point, I’m glad that I finished this book in early December, since at the end of the month an friend and mentor passed away, and its been hard to see people go through his office cleaning it up. Though I can almost see him standing around laughing and shaking his head at them as they go through his things.
Back to the Swedish death cleaning method. Basically with the method, you go through your belongings and decide if they could make your family (or those who may be having to go through your belongings) happy. Another suggestion is that if you don’t like something you’ve been given (and let’s face it—we’ve all been there), don’t prominently display it in your home.
The author also mentions Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. Basically this is another method of doing minimalism, to where you keep things that bring you joy.
Getting to the help of decluttering—basically it was broken down into the following steps:
You need to sketch out the rooms of your house (or apartment), and estimate the amount of clutter you have in each room.
Then go through and rate each room from 1 to 10 (the scale here has 1 as the room is as good as it can get, 10 is where it is cluttered overload; with 5 being in between).
After you’ve sketched the rooms, estimated the amount of clutter in each, and scored—you need to figure out which room you’re going to start in.
Then it is suggested that when you start going through the rooms, that you can go with “the four-box method of organizing clutter” (or something similar). Basically you have a box for things that you want to keep, things that are broken and should be tossed, and then two boxes that are marked things you haven’t used for say 1-2 months, and then the other marked for things that you haven’t used for say 6-8 months. The purpose of the last two boxes is to show what might be able to be discarded or what may need to be put into storage (say if its seasonal decorations or seasonal clothes).
You don’t want to toss winter clothes just because it’s summer (and the same for the reverse). One thing with cleaning out any type of clutter or trying to downsize is also to play it smart and not remove things you know you will need in say six months when the weather turns.
Then for the things you’ve decided to keep, you should find the best way to display them and also make sure that the areas aren’t going to be come a collection ground again for clutter.
So my takeaway from the book—figure out what works for you, go slow, and celebrate the small steps that get you towards your goal of minimalism.