Friday, September 6, 2019

New Minimalism: Decluttering and Design for Sustainable, Intentional Living

I saw New Minimalism: Decluttering and Design for Sustainable, Intentional Living at the library last night and decided to read it on a whim. I started reading it last night and finished it a few minutes ago.

New Minimalism isn't remotely groundbreaking; I've heard a lot of the arguments in the book before. Declutter before buying storage. Declutter in this set order. etc, etc. I honestly almost stopped reading half way through because I was getting bored. Of course, if you've never read a book on decluttering (or sustainability), you won't have this problem. The authors were relatively engaging throughout the text.

I didn't really like how they handled their archetypes though. They defined four decluttering archetypes that people generally fall under (connected, practical, energetic and frugal - I'm most closely related to energetic and frugal based on the questionnaires), but then when they went through the decluttering process, they simply noted which archetypes will have trouble with different categories, rather than actually giving tips for each one (which is what I expected in a book that has defined categories like that). Plus the book was really heavy on the theory of decluttering (again, the archetypes), but overall really lean on actual decluttering tips.  The book finishes up with "12" design principles; some of the principles overlapped (like redefining your definition of full and using boundaries to indicate when a category is full), while others I would call suggestions, which are not going to be practical for everyone (like put your dresser in your closet - not really a principle,  plus that doesn't work if you have an older house with no closets, like mine).

But the one thing I really liked reading were the small snippets when they talked about things their clients struggled with. Those stories were interesting and I wish there had been more of them!

If you're new to decluttering, New Minimalism is a great place to get you started, especially since it's such a quick read. But if you've already read any books on decluttering, you'll probably want to give this one a pass.

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