Considering the minimalist lifestyle? ICPL can help!

by on September 6th, 2017

Two years ago, I embarked on a cleaning spree I dubbed The Great Purge of 2015.

I spent weeks shredding credit card statements from the Clinton and Bush years. Books I couldn’t finish were placed in Little Free Libraries throughout town, kitchen gadgets I rarely used found new homes and clothes I hadn’t worn in years were stuffed inside donation bins. I’m not a minimalist, but the more items I took out of my house, the more I understood why “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo sold 1.5 million copies.

According to NPR, the average size of an American home has tripled in size over the past 50 years. Inside those homes, according to the Los Angeles Times, is an average of 300,000 items. One-fourth of homes with two-car garages have too much stuff for the cars to fit inside. Only 3.1 percent of the world’s children live in the United States, yet they own 40 percent of the toys consumed globally.

The Christian Science Monitor recently published an article about the offspring of Baby Boomers who cringe when their parents say, “Someday, all of this will be yours.” As someone who has turned down offers of cookie cutter collections and wedding china, I can relate.

Then there are my children. My son left for college last month and my youngest started her junior year of high school. Downsizing is a concept that’s shifting from abstract to concrete. Yes, my house holds less things than it used to have, but I can always do more – with less.

If you feel the same, the Iowa City Public Library has shelves of resources that will help you clean and organize any room in your home, as well as books and DVDs that explore the minimalist lifestyle. It’s so easy to stop by and check one out as you begin your own Great Purge. Here are a few titles I recommend:

Real Life Organizing: Clean and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day” by Cassandra Aarssen. This is a great book for those who want to get organized, but quickly lose interest in projects.

Let It Go” by Peter Walsh explores the emotional challenges that can accompany downsizing and helps readers develop strategies for making choices that fit their life goals.

Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism” by Fumio Sasaki may sound similar to “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” but while Kondo is an organizing guru, Sasaki is an ordinary guy who decided enough was enough. He got rid of everything he didn’t need and discovered a new way to live.

Minimalism isn’t for everyone, just like storage bins and label makers aren’t for everyone. However, I’m sure most of us have one drawer or closet that never quite closes which could benefit from a cleaning spree. Start there and if it inspires you to do more, come to the Library for books that will help move your journey forward.

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