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The crux of my minimalist journey is changing my relationship with stuff. My addiction and affection for inanimate objects.
If you would’ve asked me six months ago if I had too much stuff, I would’ve told you no. I’m not a big shopper, I’m not really into clothes, and we live pretty modestly by a lot of people’s standards. We manage to fit five people and two dogs in a two bedroom apartment, so surely we don’t have that much stuff.
But as I have gone room by room, and started minimizing and decluttering I am shocked and disgusted by how much we have hoarded that we did not need or use. And as I look at our bank statements, we went from 100% debt-free, to carrying credit card debt and a car loan. But isn’t that what normal families do?
Recently I was given the opprotunity to review Ruth Soukup’s new book Living Well, Spending Less. You may have read her blog by the same name, which focuses on saving money and managing a household. I was excited to read the book, but I questioned how relevant it would be to my newfound quest to minimize the clutter and possessions in our lives.
Let me tell you, I had my socks blown off once I started reading. While our lifestyles may not be parallel, there were so many things that I could relate to in this book. There were certain parts where I felt like Ruth was talking right to me.
…but this was different. My heart would begin to pound and I felt a rush of adrenaline as I placed it in my cart, knowing – just knowing – that this was it! This was the item that would change my life, make me ecstatic and bring bliss, perfection and contentment. This would finally leave me satisfied.
Now obviously I am not a shopping addict, but I knew exactly what feeling she was talking about. If I could just buy that nice lamp for my bedroom, maybe we will have more peaceful evenings. Since I am forced to live in an apartment, I deserve to have designer bedding, right?
I can’t relate to mindless shopping spreees, but I can relate to trying to fill a void with stuff. And I’m pretty sure that if we are honest, we can all relate on some level. Feeding an addiction, masking an insecurity, “retail therapy” – they are all about having a relationship with inanimate objects. Trying to fill a hole with things that were never meant to be more than functional.
Coming face to face with my unhealthy relationship with stuff has been enough to spurn me into my journey of minimalism. I want to start valuing people and experiences, not things.
This book was really powerful, and if you are considering minimizing, or even just want to be happy with less, I would suggest picking up a copy. A digital copy tho, we wouldn’t want the clutter of an actual book.
In it Ruth encourages us to fix the root of the problem, and to stop running around like chickens with our heads cut off.
We often spend the bulk of our day putting out fires, responding to needs, or escaping into the time–wasting vortex of social media and email. It all seems so important, so urgent, but before we know it, we’ve spent the whole day reacting to other people rather than proactively working to accomplish the things we really want to do.
She finishes with another concept that is close to my heart – taking the focus off of ourselves and giving that attention to others.
Abundance isn’t God’s provision for me to live in luxury. It’s his provision for me to help others live.
If breaking up with your stuff, finding a fullfilling, purpose-driven life, and being able to give to others sounds appealing to you, this is a must-read.
The book releases tomorrow on the 30th, but you can pre-order it and be the first to get your hands – or Kindle – on it.
Click the picture above to purchase, and please come back and let me know what you think!