The More of Less by Joshua Becker

by Kelvin Belfon

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I just finished reading The More of Less. It’s by far Joshua Becker’s best book yet! The pages are filled with inspirational stories, biblical analogies, thought-provoking principles on consumerism and lots of practical decluttering tips.

The More of Less became a National Bestseller, with 15,000 copies in sales in the first two weeks on the market! This goes to show that the benefit of owning less continues to hit a deep chord in society.

The book goes beyond physical clutter and penetrates into visions of a life of purpose as the main payoff of minimalism. This idea may sound trite to some. Even so, as one with firsthand experience of the benefits of a minimalist mindset, having a sense of clarity in one’s life makes a profound difference in your day-to-day activities, not to mention your perspective on life challenges when they come.

Three and a half years ago, our family relocated to Colorado in order to pursue our dreams. We were excited about the possibilities that lie in our mountain Shangri-la. But after the initial walkthrough of our newly rented townhouse, we quickly realized the harsh reality of what it meant to move from an almost 2800 sq. ft. house in the suburbs to a 1600 sq. ft. townhouse in the city with no backyard.

I thought about renting a storage unit; but not wanting the extra monthly payments, dumped the excess in the basement. Over the next few days, I regularly cleaned and organized the boxes, bins, bags, toys, books, office supplies, furniture, and lawn equipment in our small home to keep the clutter at bay.

Then one night I discovered Becker’s Becoming Minimalist while perusing the Internet for ways to declutter. Becker’s articles helped me reduce excess possessions, which in turn had a positive effect on our family. With that, we became minimalists.

A year later, we discovered that by reducing, we in fact had made room in our lives for more. We learned that truth rather quickly when boy/girl surprise twins came along. We’ve also benefited in our relationships, home life and personal health. Minimalism isn’t a cool idea. It’s a game changer!

Below is my review of The More of Less by Joshua Becker.

 

The More of Less by Joshua Becker – Book Review

In The More of Less Becker makes a conscious decision to share the stories of other minimalists and not just his own. “To be clear, this book is not a memoir about my own journey in minimalism…the book isn’t about me. It’s about you,” he writes with a marked sense of humility in the first chapter. I love the diverse sampling of individuals and couples from various careers and cultures he gathers from all over the world.

The book offers a systematic approach to finding the life most people desire. The first section, chapters 1-5, deals with a philosophy of minimalism, to include definitions and popular misconceptions. Becker moreover outlines the impact of consumerism and how to curtail its negatives effects. This section is priceless (no pun intended).

For Becker, minimalism is all about living a life of purpose. “The ultimate benefit of minimalism is that it enables you to fulfill your greatest passion.” And the removal of obvious obstacles in our domestic, social and emotional atmosphere is one of the most time tested ways we can accomplish this.

One of the most challenging quotations in the book for me was, “Sometimes, parting with our possessions means giving up an image that we have created in our mind of the person we would like to become. Sometimes, minimizing possessions means a dream must die.”

I think we can all attest to the fact that at some point in our lives, how we’ve conceived of ourselves lacks direct correlation to the person that looks backs at us in the mirror. This myth of identity is better off confronted and smashed if we’re ever to end cycles of disillusionment and dissatisfaction about life.

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In the second section, chapters 6-9, Becker addresses the nuts and bolt of the decluttering process. If you are a beginner or feel overwhelmed, Becker has these comforting words, “You don’t have to start with the hard stuff. Start easy. Start small. Just start somewhere.” Those words, I hope will come to readers as a gentle encouragement that it’s okay to go easy and leave tough sentimental assets for the end.

Here the book deviates from KonMari method in some areas. What separates Marie Kondo from Becker is that he advocates decluttering room by room instead of by category. Within this thinking, the slogan “Keep only the best” cues the declutterer to perform a different set of mental analyses than what happens when Kondo followers hear her question, “Does it spark joy?”

In this regard, both Becker and Kondo’s methods are probing us to make decision based on the qualitative merits of our possession. Yet I found Becker’s approach to be slightly less cutthroat. Section two concludes with 6 helpful, yet fun decluttering activities.

The third section, chapters 9-13, is about preventative care. In other words, he answers the question, “How can I avoid relapsing into my old ways?” This section is so good! You won’t put the book down here. What especially became attractive to me was where Becker addresses the dilemma of practicing minimalism in a family or sharing space with someone who may not be onboard with minimalism.

The book is not just an instructional for seekers of a minimalist way. It is also a voyage along the watercourse of Becker’s own development. It opens with the remarkable story of Becker’s Memorial Day epiphany while cleaning his garage. But in chapter 13, the book concludes in Honduras and discusses Hope Effect, a non-profit organization founded by Becker to care for orphans.

One of the biggest lessons of the book for me is found in the diversity Becker brings. The truth I hear him illustrate is that although one may start the journey with just a simple need to declutter, minimalism is bigger than that and can have payoffs outside of our immediate reach.

Minimalism is about silencing the noise of excess in order to find your voice. It holds the possibility of opening up opportunities for generosity, displayed in our concern for others and the environment.

I certainly enjoyed my copy of The More of Less. Pick up a copy. It will be money well spent. If you have a copy of Becker’s new book and have worked your way through its pages, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line and let’s keep the conversation going.

 

Before you go

  • The More of Less GIVEAWAY! To enter to win a free copy of the book, leave a comment below. You can enter until midnight MST on Tuesday, June 21st.

 

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16 thoughts on “The More of Less by Joshua Becker

  1. Calla says:

    You write the best book reviews!
    Your review made want to read the Marie Kondo book & now this one.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Thank you Calla!
      I’m glad you enjoyed the review. There’s lots of good stuff in this book.
      Thank you for always commenting. I appreciate your readership 🙂

  2. Preventative care! I definitely need that. Most importantly though, I’m inspired that this book connects minimalism with purpose because I think that’s the whole point of life.

    Excellent review. Thanks for including the parallels to the KonMari method, which I’ve been putting into place of late.

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Yes, I’m glad Joshua spent a few chapters on the benefits on minimalism instead of just focusing on the clutter. I believe it’s possible to become more generous and more friendly to the environment through minimalism.

      The comparison with the KonMari method was obvious as I read the book.

      Glad you enjoyed the review Sandra! Appreciate your kind words and the share.

  3. Kathy says:

    So need this book for my family! Hope I win!

  4. Marsha says:

    I would love to read this book!!

  5. MicheleStitches says:

    You wrote: One of the most challenging quotations in the book for me was, “Sometimes, parting with our possessions means giving up an image that we have created in our mind of the person we would like to become. Sometimes, minimizing possessions means a dream must die.”

    This really resonates with me. I was raised to not be “a quitter.” I have realized in the past few years that I have kept some possessions around because letting them go is admitting that I am quitting (a musical instrument, a hobby, etc.) and that is difficult for me!

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Hi Michele:
      I’ve felt the same way about my books. While in college I studied the ancient Judaism/Hebrew and so on. Well, fast forward several years, marriage, four children, a different career, etc. Saying goodbye to these book is a type of “death” to that dream. I’ve avoided it as long as I could. I feel the same about other items in my home.
      But baby steps…baby steps. You’ll get there as I have.
      Thank you so much for your transparency in sharing.

  6. Celeste Mahmood says:

    Retired for 3 years…decluttering little by little. Like the idea of doing a bit each day…always making headway on at least my “stuff”! Thanks for all the helpful hints, ideas, suggestions.

  7. Amy says:

    I would love to win this book. Joshua Becker has been an inspiration to me the last couple of years. Unfortunately, my family is not on board with minimalism.I would like them to see the value it has brought to me instead of just thinking that I want to get rid of everything. 😉 Thanks for the great book review.

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Hi Amy:
      It’s tough when family is not on board. I recommend modeling the benefit of minimalism as much as you can. Also, try using no-minimalists language such as “we need to get rid of stuff” or “decluttering.” Instead, say things like “I want to help other people by gifting these toys” or “I want us to spend more time together and less time cleaning.” Then take them out for ice cream one day and say, “I was able to sell a few things…this is why we have spending money tonight for this treat.” The point is to be creative and let them experience the “life on purpose” Becker talks about in the book. You can be a minimalist without saying you are one.
      All the best!

  8. Terri says:

    Haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but definitely want to. A way I have found to be helpful of not adding to your possessions is to think to yourself, “What if i moved in a year? Would I want to pay extra to move this stuff/thing/item with me? Could it fit in my car like when I moved cross country last year, or would I even consider it one of those possessions who earned space in my car?” It helps.

    So glad to hear it’s a book that includes other people’s stories. And i have heard so much about Marie Kondo’s method and it’s not for me. The idea of “does it spark joy?” is helpful, but the whole dumping of everything in one category on the floor at one time, does not. To each their own, as they say.

    Thanks so much for this insightful post, and since I am writing this comment on the 14th, happy birthday!!

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Hi Terri:
      Always good to hear from you sis.
      Your tips are very helpful and practical. “What if I moved in a year?…Could it fit in my car…” I love those questions.
      I enjoyed Marie Kondo’s book as well. As stated in my review, many of her tips were great. However, I found adding children to the mix make things difficult. For example, decluttering once and for all. That is a challenge for our family of six. As you said, to each their own. There’s no one-size-fit-all when it comes to minimalism.
      Thank you for the birthday wishes.
      Take care!

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