One of the things that I have been doing while decluttering is reading a book on simplifying and decluttering while I’m in the process. Reading other people’s stories has been encouraging and clarifying for me. Tammy Strobel’s You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too was one of the first books I read (*affiliate link).
I think I initially heard about Tammy Strobel and her blog Rowdy Kittens through Courtney Carver. Tammy doesn’t write about decluttering now because she’s past that stage. She and her husband got rid of 90% of their possessions and moved into a tiny home for several years. I was curious about her story and the “why” behind her simplification journey.
Her book goes into detail about her upbringing and the life “before” she and her husband Logan decluttered 90% of their belongings. While I couldn’t relate to her long commutes or shopping as a past time before she made changes, I could relate to her desire to downsize, do meaningful work, and simplify. Here are some passages that struck me in particular:
A big part of simplifying your life is simplifying your stuff. (p. 59)
Downsizing is a process and it can take time. If you give everything away really quickly, the habit might not stick. (p.71)
My grandparents taught me that living a simple life isn’t about self-deprivation. Instead, it’s about giving yourself the time, freedom, and money to pursue your dreams. (p. 85)
Simplifying and downsizing your life doesn’t necessarily mean living in a tiny house. It’s the philosophy of prioritizing happiness and actively shaping your life and circumstances so that you can focus on what truly matters. (p. 95)
The idea of living simply extends to all interactions and experiences. Most of all, it’s about making the most of your time.” (p. 127)
Ultimately, what “simplifying your life” mean to me is structuring your life abased on your values…you have to define what this means for yourself. (p. 137)
I had to question my values and become more intentional about the lifestyle I created. I discovered that the power of my intentions was key in my equation. (p. 138)
I enjoyed hearing her process and story as well as the interviews she conducted with other simple living advocates. In the stories, there is a common theme of dissatisfaction, making intentional choices to change, and living according to values that are important to you.
At the end of each chapter she outlines suggestions on small steps you can make – micro-actions you can take to simplify. Since it was a library book and I had to return it, I haven’t been following the micro-actions. I’m finding, however, that I know intuitively what my next steps should be in my own process of de-owning our belongings.
I would recommend this book if you’re curious about how someone comes to live in a tiny home or could use encouragement in your own decluttering process. It’s motivating to know that people have made intentional choices to live simply and slowly, and made it come to fruition through small and steady actions.
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