Simple living (book review)

We are in a world of excess and constantly overwhelmed with too much information, possession, advice, and comparison. No wonder people start to find ways to simplify life, get organized, and stay calm. Most of us know the book by Marie Kondo "The life changing magic of tidying up". It shows how to drastically reduce your belongings and make living space manageable again. There are two new Japanese books ( I have the Chinese version) about simplifying life. Many ideas are similar, but they both have their own ideas to match personal lifestyle.

simple living

The main idea is to cut out any excess, outdated, and attachment, and live a free and simple life that reflecting your personality. Both of the authors move a lot. Starting in a new place often forces them to own the essential only and giving up all the "extras". Without getting rid of the non-essentials regularly, organizing and tidying up will not help much.

There are a lot of interesting ideas in the books. We can learn the principles from them and modify to fit our personality and lifestyle. Here are some examples if you are looking for a minimalist lifestyle.

1. Entrance -

Keep shoe cabinet half full. Everyone only needs no more than 5-6 shoes. Everyone only needs one umbrella. No extra decorations to clutter up the entrance. Leave the cleaning supply out for easy access. Keeps the floor clean. Take off shoes when entering the house. 

2. Living room -

Sofa or large furniture might not be necessary. Only leave one pillow and one blanket in the living room. Each kid can have only one box of toys. Process mail right away and throw away all junk mail.

You do not need TV. The Internet is enough for most of us. When buying electronics, make sure the look matches the design of the space.

Add plant or flower to bring more natural energy into space. Keep the window clean and window treatment simple.

3. Kitchen -

Only leave basic utensils and cookware. Label everything. Buy minimum food enough until next shopping trip to avoid waste. After washing dishes, dry and put away immediately. 

Use the paper towel and cut up sponges for easy cleaning. Use a new sponge for washing dishes, after 3 days, use it for sinks, after that, use it for restroom and toilet.

Keep all countertop clean. Maybe you don't need a microwave, rice cooker, toaster oven, or hot water dispenser. How about soda maker, food processor, coffee maker, or sandwich maker?

Cooking waste should be disposed into a small plastic bag and tied up immediately. Then throw it to a larger trash can. Use paper bags for recycling container so don't have to worry about staining the recycle bin.

Use quality pots, pans, bowls, and mugs. If we store it away, it just takes up space. We deserve to enjoy fancy tools and utensils.

Store all empty plastic or glass containers in a refrigerator directly. It is a good way to control the quantity and have easy access.

4. Closet -

Minimum quantity of clothing. For example, 10 tops, 10 bottom pieces and 10 winter clothing such as sweaters and coats. Use the empty hangers to control the quantity. When a new one comes in, the old one has to go. You can update your wardrobe every month or as often as you like. If you buy 2 outfits in a month, 2 old outfits will be taken out of the closet.

For handbags, keep minimal quantities too. Maybe 1-2 big totes and 1-2 small bags. Use tote organizer and add labels. Take out everything in the bag every night to let the bag "breath", and throw away junks accumulated during the day.

You do not have to prepare an outfit for special occasions. Renting or borrowing might be a more sensible choice. It frees up closet space and opens up more choices.

5. Restroom -

You only need shampoo, conditioner, and body-wash for the shower. The whole family can share the same product. Keep the under the sink cabinet organized with the clear container and only use multi-purpose basic cleanser only.

Take out packages of new products right away and store everything so you can see easily. Change all towels at least yearly. It is a small investment to improve life quality instantly.

When cleaning, focus on the shiny faucet and hardware, and don't forget to clean the drain in the sink and tub.

Add the smell of your favorite essential oil on cotton balls, and put it inside the toilet paper roll. It is much healthier than artificial fragrance. 

6. Bedroom -

Wash bed sheets every 3 days (at least frequently), and rotate 2 sets of bed linens. Keep all table surface clean. Store accessories, tissues, and small items in drawers. Only leave your favorite art on display. 

7. Books -

Donate books you don't read, or will not enjoy reading. Only save the ones you read again and again. It is ok to buy new books, but it needs to be balanced out with throwing away or donating old books.

8. Color -

White, gray and coffee are neutral colors that keep the whole space in harmony. You can use a bright color or any color if it truly brings you joy.

9. Kids -

All kids school supply should be stored in one place. Keep only the basic stationery and donate extras. Toys should be rotated and stored away in proper size bins. If it does not fit, it is time to let go.

I learn a lot of tips from these books. Hopefully, you feel inspired to start simplifying your space too.