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Have you been thinking about all the stuff that you’ve accumulated now that you’re around it 24/7 in quarantine? If so, the word minimalist may have popped into your head. How do those people do it? Who can keep almost nothing in their apartment or house? And most importantly, how can you achieve this sense of living and style?
A minimalist lifestyle is defined as living with only the things you need; being free from the desire to buy and accumulate more, opting instead to find happiness in relationships and experiences.
Achieving this type of thinking can be really hard in our capitalist society, where we are seemingly groomed to buy, buy, buy. Who has time for relationships and experiences when you’re busy picking out the next best flatscreen? If you’re feeling overwhelmed as you spend more time at home, these books about minimalism can be a guide. If you’re just in it for decluttering, or would like a complete overhaul of your life, there is wise advice tucked between these covers, waiting just for you.
So open up, dig in, and find yourself adopting the minimalist lifestyle; who knows, it might be the best version of you yet. And if not, well, at the very least the best minimalism books will teach you a thing or two about parting ways with some of your less useful junk.
1. ESSENTIAL ZEN HABITS by LEO BABAUTA
A guide to a minimalist lifestyle, this book is also so much more: written by a man who decided to change his life and succeeded in doing so, Babauta writes beautifully about the ease and simplicity of living simply. If you’re interested in his zen meditations, cultivated habits of mind and how to practice becoming more with less, you should pick up this book. Babauta admits he’s not a doctor, coach or expert, but that’s part of his charm: he focuses on the practical happiness of everyday life.
2. SIMPLE MATTERS by ERIN BOYLE
If you live in an apartment in a big city, this book is for you. Erin Boyle writes beautifully about living simply in a world of excess. She takes beautiful photographs and writes eloquently about her life and how she structures it sustainably. She focuses on the environment and tells us how to live simply and joyfully while being conscious of the world around us. Read this if you live in an apartment and are wondering about how to make the most out of your space while being environmentally friendly.
3. ESSENTIAL by JOSHUA FIELDS MILLBURN and RYAN NICODEMUS
Probably best described as the textbook to minimalism, Millburn and Nicodemus have written a beautiful guide with beseeching wit and humor. If you’re looking for a how-to guide on transforming your life, this is it. Told through practical steps about simple living, the duo write about how to find freedom within the trappings of consumer culture. Sounds hard to do, right? These guys make it sound easy. If you’re up for the challenge and want to transition to a simpler, more meaningful life, this is the way to go about it.
4. THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP by MARIE KONDO
If you haven’t heard of this book, where have you been in the last five years? Kondo hit the States by storm with her new science of cleaning: it’s based on the simple idea of love. Do you love it? In this clean, simply written book, Kondo instructs on how to clean out our closets and our lives. This little book is an extraordinary guide to simple living based on the simplest of ideas; how had no one thought of it before?
5. ZERO WASTE HOME by BEA JOHNSON
Bea Johnson lives with her family and advises on her methods of living simply and sustainably. She reduced her waste to just 1 liter per year (which is approximately 61 cubic inches of garbage a year — wrap your head around that), spent 40% less per year, and still managed to stay happy while raising a family and living in a home. How did she do it? She explains in this step-by-step guide how to live with the environment first and yourself second. Interested in reducing your carbon footprint? Read to find out.
6. I AM HERE NOW by THE MINDFULNESS PROJECT
A London based duo, Alexandra Frey and Autumn Totton, have come together to bring us this guide of daily mindful exercises. If you’re interested in mindfulness as well as minimalism — the chicken before the egg question, right? Then this is a great book to dive into: it has exercises, guided meditations, coloring pages, and a web-based program to boost yourself into the present moment. There’s no need to be constantly tied up, settle down with yourself and your thoughts for a moment as you journey into the path of mindfulness. And perhaps you need to start with this before you tackle your closets.
7. THE JOY OF LESS BY FRANCINE JAY
The be-all book on decluttering, Jay takes us by the hand to go room by room in her guide to cleaning out life and clutter. Jay gives us inspirational and practical talks and helps us move toward the lifelong culture and mindset that is minimalism. First, you must clean your life. Jay herself owns nothing more than she needs and she can teach you how to do that too.
8. THE TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER by DAVE RAMSEY
Maybe not what you were expecting on this list, but money still qualifies as something we can all be more frugal about. Here, Ramsey explains how to get out of debt, how to better manage your spending and saving, and above all, how to have practical plans. If you’re seeking to clean up all aspects of your life, try this book. You never know what will happen.
9. GOODBYE, THINGS: THE NEW JAPANESE MINIMALISM by FUMIO SASAKI
The similarity between all these books is that every one of these authors started out just like you — stressed and wanting to change their life through minimalism. Saski was no different when he decided to throw everything away and find more peace with less as well as a truer sense of freedom. Goodbye, Things is a remarkable book about one man’s decision to change his life which stemmed from getting rid of his stuff to feeling better in his life.
10. EVERYTHING THAT REMAINS: A MEMOIR BY THE MINIMALISTS
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are back with a memoir about how the transformation manifested and happened. How did one become a true minimalist and then go on to become one of the biggest media gurus on the subject? Told from the story of his life, Millburn recounts how his mother died and his marriage failed all in the same month and that’s when he realized he needed to take a good look at himself and how he was living. A beautiful memoir that will inspire you to take similar steps, read this if you’re into the first-person account on changing your life.