It is rare that I read more than one book at a time, but this past month I’ve been reading not one – but three books at the same time. I reserved The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and Daring Greatly by Brene Brown from the library and they came at the same time, while also receiving an Advanced Reading Copy for Unstuffed by Ruth Soukup.
I mention the three books because they tie in so well together and I had a lightbulb moment while reading a section of Daring Greatly right before finishing Unstuffed.
How Unstuffed is similar to other books
As I have been decluttering this past year, I have read a lot of inspirational books that list practical steps to take to minimize the clutter in ones life. Unstuffed is no different. Ruth Soukup provides personal stories along with very practical lists and ideas that she has used while “unstuffing” her own life.
- Soukup advocates having a larger vision in order to stay motivated – creating a vision for our homes. This is similar to knowing our “why”.
- She outlines her particular strategy to remain clutter F.R.E.E., starting with “Fight to Stop the Flow”
- She goes beyond physical “stuff” and addresses our stuffed schedules, relationships, and wellness. This is similar to books by minimalists that go beyond our physical clutter.
I gained a lot from her discussion of ownership and teaching the value of money to her children. This was particularly interesting to me as we continue to figure out how to teach our sons responsibility with chores and how to handle money. I love her commission system related to household chores and hope to implement that in the near future.
How Unstuffed is different than other books
The biggest difference with Unstuffed and the other books I’ve read to this point, is the Christian viewpoint. There are scriptures written throughout the book which support her ideas of rest, balance, and wellness.
Ruth also shares her story about coming back into a relationship with a gracious and loving God. Her Christian testimony doesn’t feel random, however, because she has been sharing her “testimony” (what has worked for her with her physical items, how she pursues wellness, how she gets more sleep) with us throughout the whole book in all areas of her life.
“It strikes me that the very process of decluttering our lives might cause us to uncover the things we have been valuing above all else – things like a nice home, our kids, a busy schedule, a successful career, an elevated social status, or even things that are less tangible, like feeling good about ourselves or simply just wanting to be happy…who – or what – will fill that space?” (p. 211)
For Ruth Soukup, the unconditional grace and love of God finally filled that space after years of struggle. Ruth’s story is “messy” and real – serious depression, suicide attempts, self harm, electroshock therapy, and unrestrained shopping.
Unstuffed and Vulnerable
As I was reading her testimony in Unstuffed, I connected it to Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, which focuses on vulnerability. I’ve only started Daring Greatly, but I was struck by the descriptions of what vulnerability feels like – taking off a mask, nakedness. Brown writes:
“If we want to reclaim the essential emotional part of our lives and reignite our passion and purpose, we have to learn how to own and engage with our vulnerability and how to feel the emotions that come with it.” (p. 35)
My lightbulb moment: Decluttering opens us up to vulnerability.
Getting rid of our physical stuff and mental clutter, opens us up to contemplate – what – or who -will we fill the open spaces with? Some of us are eager and ready to contemplate and tackle those higher questions. Some of us have loads of stuff that have been shielding us and we’re not ready to think about those questions.
Decluttering will expose our emotions, whether that be grief or guilt. It also has the potential to reconnect us to our passion and purpose. For some of us that will be clarity on values and intentions. For some of us that will be clarity on a spiritual level.How has #decluttering your life changed you beyond a tidy home? http://amzn.to/1UyxjbP #Unstuffed #aff Click To Tweet
My Own Brief Testimony
When I think of my own spiritual journey and encounter with the same loving and gracious God that Ruth writes about, I realize that God “unstuffed” my life in order to put me in a place where I could hear from Him. I became a Christian in college, and the year I came to Christ, I was stripped of things, relationships, and activities that had previously defined me. God filled those open spaces and I finally came home.
The act of decluttering happens in stages. The first part of decluttering our physical space is often hard to get started, but so rewarding once we start. Once our physical space is pared down, we can move onto our schedules, our relationships, our thoughts, our spiritual lives – areas that are often very difficult to examine and change.
Wherever you are on the decluttering journey, Unstuffed is guaranteed to encourage you along the way. Go to the link directly above to find out about exclusive bonuses worth over $75!
Where are you in your decluttering journey?
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Daisy @ Simplicity Relished says
Angela! I’ve been hearing (and reading about) all the buzz about Ruth’s book– and I’ve been doing her challenge! It’s really helpful to read your thoughts. And your connection to Daring Greatly– another book I’ve heard lots about– has convinced me to read both books. Thanks for linking the two and distinguishing Unstuffed from other decluttering books. It can start to feel as though the whole “decluttering world” is getting cluttered (hah!) but it’s good to find the people whose voices you connect the most with.
Thanks for your thoughts Daisy! I agree that there is so much out there about decluttering and simplifying. I find that I can glean a few nuggets from everyone’s story. I love all the practical tips that the writers provide too!
Angela, thanks for reviewing Unstuffed.
I love that it’s a Christian book, and is full of Scriptures.
Thanks for letting me know!
It is nice to get the scriptural references. Ruth has done a nice job of giving her Christian worldview on simplifying and sharing her practical wisdom that is valuable for Christians and non-Christians!
Wow! I’ve never been particularly compelled to read about decluttering or minimalism, but Ruth’s book sounds like one I might need to read.
This is a good one to start out with Abby. It has a lot of personal stories and practical tips!
Gaye @CalmHealthySexy says
Thanks Angela. This is a very thoughtful and helpful review.
Your welcome Gaye! Thanks for reading and commenting!
Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories says
I love the way Ruth writes, I’m sure I would love this book. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup. Pinned to our linkup board and tweeted.
She has such a personal and friendly style doesn’t she Tanya? I’m sure you would love it too!
I love her stuff and though I haven’t read this book yet, I had no doubt it would be wonderful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it at Merry Monday this week!
If you liked her other books, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one Marie!