Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It requires a conscious decision because it is a countercultural lifestyle that stands against the culture of overconsumption that surrounds us.
The world we live in is not friendly to the pursuit of minimalism. Its tendencies and relentless advertising campaigns call us to acquire more, better, faster, and newer. The journey of finding simplicity requires consistent inspiration.
For that reason, I hope you will make an effort this weekend to find a quiet moment with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy some of these hand-picked articles to encourage more simplicity in your life.
A Survivalist Filled His Massive Basement With Food—Then decided Puerto Rico needed it more | The Washington Post by Kristine Phillips. The food that the Badames had intended to eat in case of crisis will now feed starving people in two Puerto Rican towns devastated by Hurricane Maria.
This Technique Might Actually Clear Your Clutter Once and For All | News.com.au by Hannah-Rose Yee. The new decluttering trend is called Swedish Death Cleaning and it’s a game-changer.
I Didn’t Understand Money So I Stopped Calling It Money | TIME by Whitney Cummings. To change the way I thought about money, I started substituting the word “money” with the word “freedom.”
Buy Nothing Project: Free clothes, toys, food — even a wedding | The Seattle Times by Scott Greenstone. Inspired by a Himalayan village society, Buy Nothing links a half-million people with their neighbors and eschews consumerism.
Thank you for this weeks reading! Very inspiring – especially the buy nothing group which I will be looking to join in my local area.
The Swedish death cleaning article made me laugh. A few years ago, I helped my church congregation clean out the house of an elderly couple (who I didn’t even know) and it was … bad … I immediately called my parents who are nowhere near the end of their lives and said, “Please don’t leave us that kind of mess.” They obviously took it to heart because the last 2 years prior to my dad’s retirement, they did Swedish death cleaning. At retirement, they downsized from a 2500 sq-ft house to a 500 sq-ft apartment. There are a few heirlooms that they still have that are “marked” for this or that person, and we’ll have to sell their basic furniture and car when they’re gone … but the mess is gone. Hooray!
Thank you for you weekly articles. I truly look foward to it because it inspires me with new ideas. Please keep up the great work. Also, seeing the latee and the manicure reminds me to take care of myself and enjoy quiet life moments or experiences. As a grandchild of Pre-American Rev and Native American ancestors who also lived through the great depression, I have a treasure trove of personal favorites and family heirlooms. Unfortunately sometimes I feel like I live in a museum. My siblings who are interested in the items currently do not room or are soon moving. Others just want to profit off them. So after a poor showing at this weekends yard sale, I’ve decided to keep only the items I use and find joy in. Also to stop “saving my best” for company. I’m donating gently used & small items to the church thrift shop. Then I’ll sell anything of value on line. I figure that this museum curator should now start collecting her back storage fees.
Thank you & best wishes, Susan
Opps! Corrected typos & didn’t realize the duplicate entry
So sorry, enjoy your day.
Thank you for you weekly aticle. I truly look foward to it because it imspires me with new ideas. Please keep up the great work. Also, seeing yhe latee and the manicure reminds me to take care of myself and enjoy quiet life moments or experiences. As a grandchild of Pre-American Rev and Native American ancestors who also lived through the great depression, I have a treasure trove of personal favorites and family heirlooms. Unfortunately sometimes I feel like I live in a museum. My siblings who are interested in the items currently do not room or are soon moving. Others just want to profit off them. So after a poor showing at this weekends yard sale, I’ve decided to keep only the items I use and find joy in. Also to stop “saving my best” for company. I’m donating gently used & small items to the church thrift shop. Then I’ll sell anything of value on line. I figure that this museum curator should now start collecting her back storage fees.
Thank you & best wishes, Susan
I LOVE the idea of substituting the word freedom for money – really puts spending into perspective. Might be a good way to talk to my children about money choices as well.
My parents have actually started this later-in-life purging, not because they are Swedish, though! I am thankful because not only does it make the future easier, my mom and I get to talk about and look at some of the things she finds.
I am a frequent reader of your blog. You always share interesting stories and I love them.
Thanks for sharing the survivalist story! That was in my neighborhood. Tons of people showed up to see this architects creations. Such a moving story, the Puerto Rican family sold out every day from their food truck! ❤️ Community support is what we’re all about here.
I enjoyed the “death cleaning” article. When my father passed away we had a lot of stuff to deal with. After that experience, I started looking at my own life. Thus began to path to minimalism.
My parents did the same thing!
Tough crowd ? I actually sort of understood whitneys point. I’m not her biggest personal fan, however, replacing the word money with freedom makes sense to me. I’m in like stage 3 of purging/decluttering. It’s getting easier to toss and empty as time goes on, and while I’m way better at controlling purchases and spending, I still want to be better and I have weak areas. Saying “is this 24 month carters outfit that no one will ever see my child in except me worth 15 dollars of my freedom or an experience”? Is way more effective in my own mind than trying to argue over its value vs 15$.
Hi Josh love the reads as always, as an adult i can pick and chose whats good for me, it would be silly to think i would agree with everything posted after all, you generally post 4/5 reads etc but thank you for all your effort, by the way i would kill for a coffee like your picture not to mention the nicely painted nails,
I find it hard to budget and thinking about it differently may help, i used to tell myself i had enough and that did the trick, but now i might move onto asking myself a different question is this freedom or a trap, because if i am in debt then i am a slave to it, it own,s me. mmmm ……..something to think about,
love the reads i really look forward to them
It never hurts to shake up your thinking when it comes to money. I quite like the idea of trading the word “money” for the word “freedom”. My husband and I are in our late 50s. Every dollar that we don’t spend on foolish expenditures now will give us that much more freedom to do pleasurable things in the future. So, is it worth trading some future freedom for that jacket that I don’t need, even if it IS on sale, since I already have 3 or 4? Nope.
Years ago, a cousin and I both worked for an hourly wage. We invented a game called “How many hours do I have to work to buy this thing?” The thing could be a pair of boots, lunch with coworkers at a restaurant, getting our hair colored at a salon instead of a diy job….. anything that cost money. So, let’s say that, after taxes, we made $7 an hour. Let’s say the boots cost $80. We’d have had to work 12 hours to pay for those boots. A day and a half at work (at jobs, I might add, that neither of us liked). Sometimes the boots were worth a day and a half but, more often than not, they weren’t. A twenty dollar lunch including tax and tip? We’d have to work just a few minutes shy of three hours to pay for plus the gas to get to and from the restaurant for that lunch that only took 30 minutes to actually consume. Three plus hours? Nope. The three days (24 hours) that we worked to pay for the three day holiday in Galveston? Totally worth it! We played this game for years and it really did help us to decide which things were worthwhile and which things were not.
Yes! My husband and I play this game about how many “work hours” things cost. It is good perspective.
Thanks for sharing these reads, really appreciate it. I always make sure I have a small block of quiet time and a cup up tea or hot apple cider to go along with my reading, and I always come away inspired & refreshed. Thank you.
My mum and I are kind of Swedish Death Cleaning her place at the moment – not that we’re calling it that. When her and my Dad’s parents died, one had essentially ‘death cleaned’, the other hadn’t. The difference was immense, physically, but even more so emotionally.
Belynda Inyang says
The Article by Whitney Cummings made me more confused about money.
I had read it eagerly, thinking it was a St Francis of Assisi type of Inspiration.
I shall not read anything by Whitney Cummings again, after wasting my time on her ‘Money is Freedom article’.
joshua becker says
Wow. Tough crowd this week.
Agree, tough crowd this week! Where is everyone’s gratitude and generosity of spirit for Joshua’s hard work in sharing these interesting articles for us to enjoy? Thanks Joshua!
While not my most favorite,I thought they were interesting articles and enjoyed them. I like a variety of viewpoints. I like how the author of the Swedish death cleaning recommends rewarding yourself after a week of decluttering. I am going to start doing that!
Thank you for all the time, effort, and work you put in to scouting out and sharing these articles each week, and thank you for allowing us all to access it for free. I very much look forward to the Weekend Reads email each weekend. Many different, interesting ideas to think about from this week’s articles. Thank you!
Cari Mostert says
Can’t please everyone ;-) Your weekend reads are the highlight for so many – forget the Sunday Times – what a downer! This little haven on the internet is precious! So much positivity!
Is it true, minimalists can’t wear nail polish? Never knew…
You are making people think! And that is a good thing whether we enjoy it or not. Thank you for continuing one of my favorite blogs to read. :)
I did find it inspirational as I find the concept of freedom to be inspirational. I find it an excellent way to remind yourself that it’s not just money you’re trading for the _____, it’s bit of your future financial freedom as well.
Whitney Cummings is a stand-up comic, writer, actress, etc. If you were looking for something from someone else, yes you will be disappointed. Love these reads, as always!
Lori Zanteson says
Thank you for kickstarting my weekend with these reads.I loved the Money article, and plan to substitute the word money with freedom. The Buy Nothing story is so inspiring, exactly what I need in my life–and my morning!
Every weekend we look forward to our tea time with you! Daily we are working with wonderful clients who truly want to simplify yet they are paralyzed with all the info out here that says to do this, not that….
Many design firms still promote more is more, even if in subtle ways. Our firm has also put our clients lifestyle first and helped them create the homes that work best for them. Often we refer clients to some of the articles you post. There is a minimalism for everyone!-Laurel
Oh wow. These are indeed inspiring stories! I love how, in the first one, it says, he prepared for a crisis that never hit. It did hit. But it hit not him, someone else. And there he was, fulfilling his vision/dream to be prepared! My favourite is the last one though. I’ve been thinking for a while to start a “swap group” but my problem with swapping was always that you may offer x in return of z but the person providing z may not need your x. However, this article gave me an idea that we practice with my friend: we used to give each other things/help that we didn’t ask for anything in return for, we said, ‘you’ll pay it forward to someone else and the payment of doing good will come back to you’. Who says I can’t implement this thinking into a whole group?! Thank you, Joshua, for taking the time to share others’ work with us!
I simplified my schedule and home systems about 4-5 years ago, mainly due to”wisdom”of ageing and health issues. However, although I never had clutter, I took the reducing of material possessions to a whole ‘nother level…triggered by cleaning out a friend’s lovely, but massive estate. Now I have a name for it -dostadning. I am not leaving behind dribs and dribbles of stuff for my loved ones to spend hours sorting and disposing.
Agreed. And the fancy latte in the hands with the polished fingers? This post was a miss.
Because heaven forbid a minimalist paints her nails or goes out for a nice coffee every now and then. ;)
Liz Adams says
Can you please avoid stories which can not be read without a subscription? Eg today’s story about the survivalist donating food to PR? On my income I can’t invest in a WaPo subscription, so I got that you’re shut out page when I clicked on the story. Not really the spirit of your movement. Thanks.
Liz, go back and try again; it’s a good, heart-warming story! I don’t have a subscription either but was able to read it after I paused the ad blocker installed on my browser.
Sorry – but this is an absurd request. Everyone gets 20 free Washington Post stories a month without a subscription on every. single. device. For anyone with a computer and a phone, that’s 40 stories each month. A digital subscription is less than $10 a month, which is like 30 cents a day – although there are multiple ways to get it for far less, or even for free, as I do (as do all students, government workers, and members of the military.) If you’re reading more than 40 Post stories each month, which is the only way you’d hit the limit, I would bet that you’re getting at least 30 cents a day in value. And if you are the sort of person who has the time and ability to read and comment on blogs, you are most likely the sort of person who can afford to spend 30 cents a day on something they value. So if you hit the monthly story limit on a news site, the solution isn’t to ask everyone else to stop posting links that steer other people to quality journalism just so you aren’t reminded that that journalism exists – it’s either to limit yourself to one or two of that site’s stories a day… or just to fork over the $2.50 a week that will entitle you to unlimited access to their journalism, and actually support it, instead of demanding an expensive, quality product for free.
You could also copy the headline and search for it from other sources. A lot of other free outlets had it available, that’s how I read it.
joshua becker says
I didn’t need a subscription to read the article Liz.