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.
This post will be shared at these link ups.
I love the quote about living a simple life isn’t about self-deprivation, but about giving yourself the time, freedom and money to pursue your dreams. That is exactly how I feel about simplifying our life. Simplifying reduces stress and gives me more time and freedom to do what I want. I was also able to save more money this month towards our vacation fund because I am buying less. A win on all counts!
Lisa, that’s so wonderful! Thank you for sharing how you are simplifying and the benefits you’re experiencing. I love to hear how people are benefiting from simplifying.
Simplifying is such a great feeling. I love that you are finding satisfaction too.
I am. Thanks Melinda. I’m eager to simplify even more.
Daisy @ Simplicity Relished says
This was a great book review, Angela. I especially love that you highlighted some of her key points and quotes. I especially agree with the idea that we have define simple living for ourselves– namely, what we want to pursue *instead* of all the stuff we’re getting rid of!
I agree Daisy. It’s especially nice to be encouraged to define simple living for ones self from someone who lived in a tiny home for many years! I know I won’t be moving into a tiny home anytime soon, but that doesn’t need to stop me from defining my values and simplifying my stuff in the present.
Alexandra @ My Urban Family says
I really love this quote “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. “. Thanks for sharing – I may have to pick that book up 🙂
I love that quote too Alexandra! I’m certain you’ll find your own nuggets of wisdom and motivation if/when you do read it.
It sounds like a great book! I have too many on the go at the moment, but I’ve queued this on my reading list! I like this quote: “The idea of living simply extends to all interactions and experiences. Most of all, it’s about making the most of your time.” because at first glance living a minimalist life appears to be simply about decluttering but is really so much more.
My mum worries about how much of our stuff my wife and I have given away over the past year as we have minimalised our lives, especially when we moved home in September and tried to not to move with anything we didn’t love. She thinks it’s about “doing without” and I’m gently trying to show her that we’re not doing without anything, but are actually able to love the things we have so much more than we ever were able to before. Plus we have more time and energy to relax and enjoy our home and each other’s company.
It’s so true Eva. It sounds like you are making great choices and educating people around you gently and most importantly – by example!
I just added this book to my To-Read section on Goodreads! Over the past year I have been trying to simplify my life, especially our home, and it has definitely been a process. I like the quotes you put up, it definitely seems like this book focuses on the “why” of simple living and not just this vague idea that getting rid of lots of stuff is good for you. Thanks for the recommendation!
Hi Hannah! It does focus on the why and her why. It does go into research and other interviews which were also interesting. You’ll enjoy it!
Christy King (@SimpleWhiteRab) says
I read this book after we’d started decluttering, but before we had any idea we’d move to a place half the size.
Although we ended up not downsizing as gradually as we expected, it was reassuring to hear that gradual downsizing works and made the process much less scary.
Reading her blog, I’ve always been impressed about she has been honest about the downsides of tiny-house living.
I agree Christy. It’s also encouraging that she and her husband have moved out of the tiny home and using it as a vacation home now. It shows that there are seasons to life and living simply changes with the times.
I have been thinking about this for a long time, after all nothing lasts forever and possessions come and go, so having little actually means not getting attached to anything and focusing more on your feelings and life itself. Thank God I stumbled upon this post. 🙂
Hi Tanja, I’m so glad you came upon the post at the time you needed to read it! I agree that there is more value in experiences and relationships than possessions. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Heather @ Simply Save says
Adding this to my book list right now! With my recent quest for simplification and minimalism and interest in tiny living, this sounds right up my ally! Thanks for sharing on the #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup!
Your welcome! You’ll really enjoy it Heather.
Sounds like an interesting read. I’ve subscribed to the notion for quite a while now that simplifying life/schedules/commitments leads to a much better state of mind.
Thanks for sharing with us at the #HomeMattersParty link party.
I couldn’t agree with you more Alayna.
This book looks great! I love the idea of simplifying by downsizing. I’ve always been an over-downsizer, though–I donate things and then find I still needed what I gave away! Oh well 🙂
Thanks for joining the Alder Collective this week–hope to see you again next week!
Hi Kayla, thanks for your comment. I’ve never been an “over-downsizer” – I like that term! I find I totally forget about the things I’ve donated!