The Joy of Less Journal Giveaway at Cohesive Home

Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you know that Kate and Melissa over at Cohesive Home are giving away 2 copies of The Joy of Less Journal (Clear Your Inner Clutter)!

They’ve reviewed it in their latest podcast. Have a listen, and see if you’d like to start the New Year with a little inner decluttering:

Cohesive Home Podcast, Episode 23: Un-Goal Your New Year

The podcast also includes a fabulous discussion on “un-goaling.” I love this concept! I’ve never been much of a goal-setter myself, preferring to let my life and work unfold more organically. Kate and Melissa offer a wonderful perspective on this, giving us the permission to pull back a little–focusing not so much on external measures of achievement, but rather our internal well-being.

I hope you enjoy the podcast and enter the giveaway. And as an FYI, if you’d like to purchase a copy of the journal, Amazon currently has it discounted to $8.75! (List price $14.95)

Happy Holidays!

Hi everyone!

My apologies for it being so quiet here on the blog. But quiet isn’t necessarily a bad thing, is it? I feel like we can all use a little more quiet in our lives, particularly during a hectic month like December.

And hectic it’s been… The new release of The Joy of Less and its companion journal (Clear Your Inner Clutter) have certainly kept me busy. And as the 18 foreign language editions are published around the world, I’ve found my inbox filled with international inquiries and interview requests.

On the home front, we are hosting out-of-town guests throughout the month of December (so happy to see family!). And my baby girl turned 5—which meant a big birthday bash with 20+ preschoolers. Lots of fun, but I feel like these years are slipping by too fast.

But that’s not the big reason I’ve been so quiet. What I’ve really been doing in every spare minute is writing like crazy! I’m in the home stretch of my new book’s manuscript, and completely obsessed with finishing it.

I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had writing this one. It’s a little quirkier than The Joy of Less—and to be honest, sometimes I feel like I’ve written it for pure pleasure, simply to entertain myself. But I do think you’ll like it, too, and it’ll spark some great discussions here on the blog next year!

If I keep writing, I’m going to tell you all about it—yes, I’m that excited—but I want to hold off until it’s ready. So for now, let me wish you all a joyous, serene, (and quiet) holiday, and I promise you some great minimalist fun in the New Year!

And if you need some minimalist inspiration in the final stretch of the holiday season, I’ve rounded up some previous posts to help you stay on track:

The Joy of Less Journal Giveaway Winners

Thank you so much to everyone who entered The Joy of Less Journal: Clear Your Inner Clutter giveaway! It warmed my heart to read all your wonderful comments, and I’m so grateful for your enthusiasm and support.

I used Random.org to select three winners–and here they are!

Susan Brewer, who on Oct 25 at 4:50pm wrote:

I have never had a journal and it is something I would like to try. I want to not only clear out my mental clutter, stress, & worry,but my physical clutter as well. I want to regain my sanity that I seem to have lost along with myself over the many years of working, taking care of a disabled husband and trying to do everything myself. I am finally at retirement age and don’t even know who I am or what I want to do the remaining years of my life — I want to discover Me again! I think having a journal to help me put my thoughts to paper would really help to not only get a grasp on what I want to do, like, and also a game plan to get my home in order — which is another stress point. My home has missed me over the years while I have been working, it needs me too!

Sandi Blanchard, who on Oct 25 at 8:54am wrote:

Would love to win one of your new journals. I’l take all the help I can get clearing mental clutter that is causing knee pain. Thanks—

Agilborder, who on Oct 25 at 1:29pm wrote:

Congratulations on the journal release! I would love one of the giveaway ones to help clear out my stresses over changing my whole life, location and leaving old relationships and stuff behind in retirement. I try to de clutter my mind about all this change, but this new journal looks like an organized approach to get past my struggle. Best wishes!

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks again to everyone who participated. I look forward to continuing our conversation about inner clutter (and how to get rid of it) in the coming weeks!

A4 Printables for My International Readers

A special note for my international readers: my apologies for the US-centric paper size on my pre-order printables!

I’ve made a special set just for you, scaled for A4 paper. If you’ve already received your download link, simply reply to the email and let me know you prefer A4; I’ll send you a link to the new set.

Alternatively, you can re-submit the form. All new requests will receive two links, one for letter size and one for A4 size.

Thanks again for your support, and happy decluttering!

Let’s Connect

I don’t have a Real Life Minimalist this week, so I thought I’d use this slot for an administrative announcement. Not quite as exciting, but stay with me—I think this development will really help build our community.

(And if you’ve been thinking about submitting your story for the RLM series, now is a great time. It’s first come, first serve, and no long wait!)

So onto today’s note…

I’ve decided to move away from Feedburner for emailing posts. It hasn’t been supported for years, and truthfully, I’m a little afraid it may disappear one day. I’ve moved all subscribers to a new list over which I have a little more control.

And here’s the exciting part—that means a stronger connection between you and me. This hit home last week when I wrote about my One Coat. I decided not to share brand information in the post (for fear of it sounding like an advertisement) but I invited readers to contact me if they wanted to know more. This resulted in a flurry of email activity all week as we shared and discussed this info offline.

Sometimes I like to share things with you that I don’t necessarily want out on the Internet or archived in Google for eternity. And that’s the beauty of this email list: on occasion I can send you little extras, just for my most dedicated readers—some thoughts, comments, or maybe even photos that I don’t feel comfortable putting online.

It also gives you a direct channel to me. There was some confusion last week as to how to contact me by email (so sorry about that!). This way, members of my list will have an easier way to reach me when needed.

Anyway, if you’d like my posts delivered to your inbox and some occasional (more personal and/or thought-provoking) extras, I invite you to join my email list:


 

(Rest assured that if you change your mind, you can unsubscribe at anytime. And for those currently receiving posts by email, there’s no need to sign up again.)

I just adore my community of readers—you’re my supporters, my kindred spirits, my friends—and I look forward to having a new way to connect with you!

 

 

More to Give: The Hope Effect

Over the years I’ve often been asked, “What’s the point of minimalist living?” Why bother to be so mindful about what we own and consume?

My answer: because our resources (space, energy, money, time) are limited, and we should put them to the best use possible. Minimalism is determining when you have enough, so you can do something extraordinary with the excess.

That may mean working fewer hours so you can spend more time with your kids; buying less stuff to preserve more of the Earth’s resources; or spending less money on material goods and donating more to those in need.

In short, living with less means you have more to give.

And that’s exactly what my friend Joshua Becker is doing with his new nonprofit organization, The Hope Effect.

Of the 26 million orphans worldwide, only 1% will ever be adopted—and Joshua wants to change how we care for those 99%. He’s developing a new model for orphan care: family-style homes that provide the love, attention, and affection (as well as health and social services) these children so desperately need.

But he can’t do it alone, and is reaching out to the minimalist community for help. We’ve all decided that we have enough—so let’s do some good with our excess.

Jonathan has created some simple ways we can get involved:

  1. The Homes for the Holidays campaign: In lieu of presents this holiday, ask friends and family to help you provide homes for orphans.
  1. The $10 Team: By committing $10/month, you can provide ongoing support for both the construction of these homes and care of these children.

Please visit Joshua’s site for more details, inspiration, and ways to donate.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting this amazing cause. Let’s do something wonderful with our minimalism, and embrace having less so that we can give more.

Real Life Minimalists: Kevin

Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.

Today, Kevin shares his take on minimalism, from his perspective as a philosopher and father. Visit his blog to read more of his thoughts.

Kevin writes:

Kevin

Kevin

I think I’ve always been a minimalist at heart but have recently become much more mindful about it. When I lived alone in my own condominium it was quite easy to be a minimalist. Although I am a bookworm, I had only a few bookshelves so that limited my collection of books. I enjoyed the open space of my living room without a coffee table and the clean surfaces of my kitchen table and counter tops. As a musician and composer I am a big fan of the minimalist music of Philip Glass and Steve Reich.

Now I am married, have a daughter, and live in a house. My life is full in so many positive ways but also fuller in some non-minimalist ways! As an unschooling dad I realize the importance of “strewing” but needless to say this conflicts with a minimalist approach to living. My definition of “just right” has had to change but that’s quite natural.

To solve the practical problem of clutter we have devised a system in our family that seems to work pretty well. We have a designated “playroom” where chaos is allowed to run a little freer than in other parts of the house. We also have “zones” in the living room/dining room area where we can accommodate projects. So, for us these active or ongoing projects (crafts, etc.) don’t get defined as clutter. They don’t entail clutter that never gets put away but rather an active process of creation. Of course, when a new project comes along or it’s time for a meal we do clear off the relevant spaces.

In addition to these accommodations, there are certain rooms in the house where clutter is not allowed at all. These rooms are used (as opposed to formal living rooms which never get used) but we just don’t let clutter hang around at all.

Fatherhood provides me an excellent opportunity to teach some important minimalist lessons. Among these is a lesson I also teach as a philosophy professor: the difference between wants and needs.

I think the confusion between these two categories drives a lot of the consumerism that prevents people from seeing the benefits of minimalism. Given a strong natural impulse towards acquisitiveness, it’s important to begin teaching the benefits of living with less at an early age. As parents, freeing our children from the grip of constantly chasing their wants is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.

As a philosopher I think of my work as “clearing the clutter” from our thinking. Much of what I do i my classes is to help students clarify their thinking on such important issues as ethics, morality, knowledge, and reality. Making distinctions like the one between wants and needs is an important part of this clutter clearing.

Making the connection between our values and our stuff is important and provides a good philosophical foundation for striving to live in a minimalist way.

I write about the philosophical work of clarifying as well other topics of education and unschooling on my blog titled “Think” which is located at http://kevinjbrowne.weebly.com/blog1.html.

{If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

Semi-Sabbatical

I just wanted to let you all know that I’ll be taking a semi-sabbatical for the next few months. Don’t worry, I’m not having another baby; just taking some time to enjoy this one, and visit with friends and family. :)

What I’ll be doing: Continue reading Semi-Sabbatical

My Minimalist Dream

When I first began my minimalist journey, my dream was to slowly rid myself of all possessions, until I could live nomadically and carry what I owned in a single bag. I’m happy to say I achieved that when my husband and I moved to England in 2009; we drifted for several years, with the barest of essentials.

Of course, while on the road, we sometimes yearned to settle down—noisy sublets, less-than-spotless hotel rooms, and the hunt for laundry facilities can eventually take their toll. So after our daughter was born, we bought a house; to be honest, I couldn’t imagine having another housing crisis with an infant in tow. It’s not too daunting to hole up in a hotel room for a bit (or even a train station for a night) when you’re footloose, fancy-free, and have failed to find a short-stay apartment. With a baby, it’s another story.

Still, the transition to homeownership has been difficult psychologically. As much as I love our house and neighborhood, there’s something a little less exciting (for me) about knowing where we’ll be in six months. And as nice as it is to put stuff in closets, I sometimes miss living out of a suitcase. The nomadic itch has resurfaced, and I’m once again fantasizing about hitting the road. It won’t happen for awhile; my husband has a great job, and I’d prefer to wait until Plumblossom’s a little older. But it’s an idea that’s occupying my thoughts, and as such, will occupy my blog. :)

Right now, my reality is a kinder, gentler minimalism—and I’m okay with that. At the moment, this lifestyle is more comfortable for my daughter, and accommodating to friends and family. Yet I’m still compelled to explore more extreme alternatives, with an eye towards the future. I enjoy planning and pondering what we’d need as a wandering family, perhaps living in different cities and/or countries for a few months at a time, and will likely devote this month’s posts to that topic.

George Carlin famously described a house as “a pile of stuff with a cover on it.” He went on to say, “If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. You could just walk around all the time.”

I’ll enjoy my lovely little house, and my lovely little garden, on my lovely little lane for now. But to walk around all the time, with my husband and daughter—that’s my minimalist dream.

What’s your minimalist dream? Does it involve putting down roots, packing your bags, or something altogether different? Please share in the Comments!

{If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

The Joy of Less: 20,000 Copies Sold!

Update, Monday 5pm EDT: The giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much for all your wonderful comments and suggestions; I’m so grateful to have you as readers! Stay tuned—I’ll announce the winner in the next day or so. :)

A Milestone

I have some exciting news to share with you today: in the first year of publication, my book, The Joy of Less, has sold 20,000 copies! And I want to celebrate with you, my wonderful readers, because you made it happen.

You were the ones who bought my book, requested it from your library, and recommended it to your friends. You were the ones who reviewed it, blogged about it, and tweeted about it. You were the ones who embraced minimalist living, spread the word to others, and transformed it from a quirky lifestyle choice to a mainstream movement.

You were the ones who decided to dejunk, declutter, and live more lightly on this Earth—and used my book as a guide to do so. And for that, I’m eternally grateful to each and every one of you.

People are often surprised when I tell them I self-published The Joy of Less. Why did I choose the indie route? Because from the moment I finished it, I was so excited to share it with you—and the 12- to 18-month time frame of traditional publishing seemed a terribly long time to wait. Furthermore, minimalism was such an offbeat topic at the time, I didn’t think a publisher would touch it with a ten-foot pole (ironically, I’ve now heard from several interested in acquiring the rights). Finally, I wanted to make sure that the message stayed true—and wasn’t transformed into “buy more containers to organize your stuff.”

So this has truly been a grassroots effort. I haven’t had a public relations department, an advertising budget, or any of the marketing muscle of a traditional publisher. I’ve had virtually no coverage in major US media (just a brief mention in the Chicago Tribune). These sales weren’t driven by hype or promotional campaigns; they occurred quietly, one by one, by word of mouth (both online and off). I love that, and wish I could thank every one of you personally for your support!

Furthermore, it’s more than just the sales that make my heart sing—it’s the fact that 20,000 people are actually interested in minimalist living! 20,000 people want to reduce their clutter and consumerism, and are taking the steps to do so. How wonderful is that? It gives me great hope for a kinder, gentler, more sustainable future.

A Question

Now I have a question for you: what would you like to read next? Is there a particular aspect of minimalism you’d like to see covered in more depth? Or a topic related to minimalism that you’d love to learn more about?

If you could pick the subject of my next book, what would it be? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

A Giveaway

What would a celebration be without a giveaway? (Certainly not as much fun!) So if you haven’t yet read The Joy of Less, here’s your chance to win a copy (your choice of paperback or Kindle). Even if you’ve read it, perhaps you’d like to pick one up for a friend; it could make a great gift for the packrat in your life!

To enter, simply leave a Comment below (just one comment/entry per person, please!). If you’d like to leave a Comment, but don’t want to enter the giveaway, just note that in your post.

I’ll keep the giveaway open until this Monday, Sept 12, 5pm EDT. As always, I’ll use the random number generator at Random.org to choose the winner, and make the announcement next week. Please be sure to use a legitimate email address, so that I can contact you to obtain your mailing information.

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. I never dreamed I’d be able to make such an announcement (my original goal was to sell 1,000 books!), and I couldn’t have done it without you. Here’s to growing this community, this movement, and this commitment to a beautiful life with less stuff.

Best of luck to all who enter the giveaway!