The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
In her mid-20s, Cait Flanders got out of debt and stopped drinking, very intentionally. Now she plans to tackle mindless shopping, partly to save money but mostly to find out what she really needs. No buying takeout coffee, scented candles, or books; but some restaurant meals, travel, a special occasion dress, and gifts for others are allowed. Cait learns that she has been shopping for the person she wants to be, not who she is right now, especially where books and clothes are concerned. She took her name off store email lists, deleted lots of favorites from her browsers, and tried to only buy what she needed. Most of the time she succeeded, but found herself binge watching television, liking her job less and less, and worried about family issues. Cait learned so much about herself that one year of minimal shopping turned into two, and she is sharing her journey to self-awareness to help others to be more mindful consumers. Cait also donated or sold more than half of her clothes and other belongings, and hasn’t yet missed anything she discarded. This is a quick, thought-provoking read. Learn more at caitflanders.com.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
This is a truly unique take on home organizing. While I haven’t tried the author’s detailed method, I see the appeal. Marie, an organizer based in Tokyo, has written an international bestseller which describes her method of organizing, or tidying up. To truly organize your home, she states that we need to look at and touch all of our possessions, determine if they make give us joy, and when we have disposed of many of our clothes, books, papers, kitchen supplies, photos and memorabilia, we will be able to find one specific place to keep each item that is left. If we don’t have too many things, and each item is displayed or stored in a specific place that’s easy to find, our homes will stay tidy and be much more welcoming. While the author doesn’t say how to find the time to sort through all of our belongings, she does give the order in which to do so and suggests that six months is a reasonable timeframe. Photos and memorabilia are saved until we get more comfortable with the process; otherwise we might be tempted to save too much. Marie is inspiring; I just paused to de-clutter and tidy a desk drawer. It looks great, and I found some more spiral paper clips I enjoy using. Some of her clients claim that using her method has changed their lives for the better. It could certainly save time spent choosing outfits, looking for kitchen utensils, and finding keys or chargers. A charming and thought-provoking book; read it and see what you think.