The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker Audio Book: 6 hours, 30 minutes Book: 240 pages
Joshua Becker could be a preacher. A preacher of the minimalist lifestyle. I always knew I could do with less stuff. Many things I own or have on a shelf or in a closet or a box are not things I need or particularly want any more. They are things that for whatever reason at the time, spur of the moment, it seemed like the right price or maybe I liked it (but didn’t LOVE it) maybe I had a plan for it at the time or maybe I got it for some occasion long passed that it didn’t make it to, whatever the reason, I have stuff. Joshua Becker and his family had stuff, too. He decided to clean out his garage one day and after 6 hours of intense work – he had brought all his garage stuff out on his driveway, worked all day and hadn’t made a dent in the pile of stuff covering his driveway and the day was passing and he still had to decide what to do with all the stuff and what he might want to find a place for and return it to the garage in a much cooler organized fashion. He took a break and was talking to his neighbor lady about what a job it was and how overwhelming having all that stuff was when she said to him, “You just need less stuff.” So simple. So pure. So true. It was like he was hit with a lightning bolt. The answer was right there in front of him, literally. It wasn’t about finding places to restore all this unused, untouched stuff, it was downsizing and getting rid of all the mass of clutter that was not serving him in any way. So began his quest for the minimalist life. He shared his aha moment with his wife. They discussed and yes, she too, became a convert to the minimalist philosophy with the caveat there were dishes she might not use every day, but, wanted to keep for sentimental reasons she was not ready to let go of. Done. Compromise in place. After explaining to their kids and getting them onboard though parting with well loved but no longer played with toys brought a few tears, the kids began to find the game in it all. Well, there was an exception. His son saved up his money to buy a skateboard. He had been wanting it for a long time but when Joshua took his son to the store to buy the skateboard so many other items caught his eye that he and his son both went in to tantrum mode. All the glitzy marketing ploys distraced his son’s attention from what he came in for to make him think he could not live without a dinosaur tent, some race cars and a number of other things between the door and the aisle with the skateboards. Joshua was adamant – you came in for a skateboard and that is what you are leaving with nothing else! They finally agreed on if his son would wait a few days and see if he still wanted the other things he could save up and get them, too, but, the deal was he couldn’t get them that day, he had to wait and think about it. His son left with the skateboard he had come in for and never went back for the other stuff. Joshua Beck’s point is people are so blasted with all marketing ads telling us how we can’t live without a thing that companies pay billions of dollars to marketing firms to find the right combination to our psyches to make us want something we never thought about before and honestly don’t need. It is like the difference between having a real hunger or having a taste for something. You are either actually in need of food or something just crossed your mind that you think you want though you may not even be hungry at all. It is thanks to marketing that we over indulge our appetites for food and for stuff and either our waistlines increase or our homes overflow with too many things in the space we have to live in or both. Joshua’s point is we can be happier, healthier and mentally less fatigued if we have less things to worry about. And stockpiling stuff only feels good in the moment not the long term. We may be happy with some nugget we have unearthed and feel we are king of our castle but once the things take over and revolt against us, the things take over our lives and we are stuck with less space to enjoy in our own homes. Instead of being master of all we survey, we become slaves to all the crap we have amassed. If all of our excess space is taken up with excess stuff we are not getting the joy out of our homes, our cars, our attics, basements, garages you name it because we are paying merely for storage space not usuable family space. Joshua and his family set the example here for why do we need 6 of anything when 2 or 4 will do? Why do we need to own 500 DVDs if we can go to the Library and borrow them then return them and not have them clutter our space and require dusting taking more of our time away we could be enjoying outside doing something fun? The man makes excellent and memorable points. I loved this book. I am going to start paring down right now. Cheers to the minimalist lifestyle. Better living with less to maintain and store.