Minimalist living: please recommend a book

melle_sactoMay 18, 2010

I'm really interested in minimalist living. My cousin seems to do it "naturally" -- possibly b/c that's how her mother kept the house. When I see decorated rooms in the "minimalist" style, I feel like THAT is the kind of house I want to live in: no clutter, where everything has it's place.

Have any of you read a good book on adopting the minimalist lifestyle, can you please make a recommendation? I love to read!

Melanie

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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Hi, melle_sacto, have you ever googled 'Balinese space-clearing'? You can find lots of info on minimalist decorating and also Feng Shui art of furniture placement. I'm a long-time clutterbug, but I love reading about de-cluttering...a girl can dream... :)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 5:18PM
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melle_sacto

I don't believe I have the luxury of doing Feng Shui furniture placement in my small h0use! ;-) Or, maybe I'm not enough of a minimalist to allow myself to pare down to such few things that I COULD do FS furniture placement LOL! I will look at Balinese space clearing, tho, b/c I've never heard of it :-)

I know there's a lot of great stuff on the internet: forums and blogs and all the stuff I get addicted to reading...but I'm really trying to cut down on my internet-reading addiction. I want to set a better example to my 5-year-old by reading actual books instead of sitting behind the computer. I can easily spend 2-3 hours on the internet/day and so many chores fall behind. But when I read, IDK, for some reason I stay on task when I know that soon I'll get to read my b00k.

If no advice, I'll just search the library catalog for some interesting minimal-living titles.

Melanie

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 5:55PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I've read a couple of Karen Kingston's books. (I found them at my local library.) Feng Shui can be as simple as using rounded tables instead of those with sharp corners, or changing the orientation of your bed. And hanging wind chimes and crystals in windows--things that we clutterbugs do already.

Do you do massive spring cleaning?

Here is a link that might be useful: Karen Kingston books

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 7:49PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

melle, just thought of something else--you've probably read Barbara Kingsolver's books, but she wrote one called 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life', about simplifying one's diet, and life, by buying only local products. She also describes refurbishing an old house, so the book has something for everyone. I really enjoyed reading it, but haven't changed my life-style much.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 8:20PM
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emagineer

Long ago I got into Feng Shui enough that there are some things I still can't let go of. Although it always looks very minimalist, there are simple things that can be done. I read a few books on it because I had 2 buyers that made comments about the layout of my house for sale relative to Feng Shui. They were serious about it.

I always have to have my bed facing the door along with seating facing open to the front door. Open walkways to rooms. Natural versus artificial plants, etc.
Having the toilet lid closed at all times is not something that can happen, no one else gets it and doesn't really care. But this is a big thing with Feng Shui.

Use Google to search for your interests, go to "Books" and type in the search words. It will list dozens. If the book listed says preview, pages you searched for will be displayed. Full will show the complete book. This will give you some idea as to worthy books available. Change search words if you aren't getting what is wanted. The link below is a search for Small Houses Minimalist.

Here is a link that might be useful: Books

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 8:34AM
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Moccasin

Melle, how nice you should ask!
I only an hour ago took a picture of the cover of a book I thought would be great for those interested in living small.
It is a GREAT BOOK, and I know it won an award, but cannot remember which award that was. I bought a copy from Amazon, but you might find it available from your public library.

The minimalist style goes far beyond the removal of clutter. It is a very basic philosophy where "negative" space use is as important as "filled" space use. This book covers different applications of living small, and you should be exposed to all the ones which were previously mention to you in this thread.

I've read this book once already, and am now rereading it. Trying to simplify our lives, you know.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 4:23PM
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Moccasin

Here you mentioned:
"Having the toilet lid closed at all times is not something that can happen, no one else gets it and doesn't really care. But this is a big thing with Feng Shui. "

I absolutely died laughing.
When I read to my DH about the Feng Shui concept of a closed toilet seat, HE GOT IT IMMEDIATELY.

Of course, he heard FLUSHING ALL YOUR MONEY AND GOOD FORTUNE DOWN THE DRAIN.

And that is why we both are very consciencious about closing the toilet seat AND lid now.

Sort of reminds me when I was a child we made sure not to step on any cracks in the sidewalk, because it would "break your mama's back."

Another Feng Shui concept which can redirect bad energy is to hang crystals in front of doorways not properly aligned. I now use these crystals all around the house on my ceiling fan pull chains, and in windows facing a direction where bad vibes may emanate. Like an unfriendly neighbor?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 8:05PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

LOL, ML, we don't have neighbors close enough to give us the 'evil eye', and those we do have are great, but isn't it lovely to walk into a room and see rainbows dancing across the walls?

I get the same feeling when I've been gone all day, and on my return discover that my husband has cleaned the kitchen. Now that makes good vibes!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 8:49PM
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Shades_of_idaho

Balinese space clearing. I have never heard of it either. Going to look into it. I know I still have way too much stuff to be considered a minimalist but I like to think my style is minimalist cottage which is sort of an oxymoron. Hehehehe This looks to be some good reading coming up for me. Watching those hoarding shows makes me dash through the house tossing things as fast as possible.

So glad you asked this Melle.

LOL on the toilet seat being closed. We HAVE to keep the toilet seats closed in this house. Otherwise the kitties are into them and dogs and GAG because then they think nothing of giving us big slobbery toilet breath kisses. No thanks.

Also heard you are supposed to hang a crystal above all drains to catch your money from going down them and I do it only because I like crystals.

Chris

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 1:00AM
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flgargoyle

My sister should write a book on minimalist living. Her 700 sq ft co-op in New York is virtually empty. She says, "I'm not a collector of things." It's hard to believe we are related!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 7:15AM
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emagineer

I can't remember all the little things to do or why. Thought the closed Toilet Lid was to keep spirits from entering the house.

Anyone that really knows Feng Shui is probably having a great laugh at our comments. Like the money thing, I thought one was supposed to have running water somewhere for prospering.

Now I think my concepts are probably all over the place and have nothing to do with what really is.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 8:01AM
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Moccasin

Flgargoyle, IMO, your minimalist sister with her empty 700 sq foot NY co-op, is trying very hard not to become your mother.

At least, that is my feeling. It was fine for me to imagine myself becoming my grandmother, but NEVER EVER did I want to become like my MOTHER. In many families, it is that way.
And that is the first thought which comes to mind when a child grows up to create a lifestyle 180 degrees out from the one of their parents.

And Jay, I'd say you probably embraced the style that your sister rejected? Hmmmm, this I can see as a new possible discussion on its own thread.....

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 12:04PM
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Moccasin

Melle, I just remembered a book I have and recently reread parts of it.

SPIRIT OF THE HOME: HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOME A SANCTUARY.
by Jane Alexander, photos by Tim Goffe. 1999, Watson Guptill publishers. 186pp.

Feng shui is included in it, as are the symbols of home in cultures world wide. And it mentions that where the old cultures considered the hearth the heart, now it is the stove/range which is the heart of a home.

One reviewer on Amazon.com says: "I've read so many books about interior decor, Feng Shui, space clearing, etc., etc. - but this book covers all aspects of making your home a true haven for body, mind and spirit. It is not only inspiring to read but beautiful to look at."

It is still available at Amazon.com. Lovely well written book.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 5:35PM
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Moccasin

I just ran across a minimalist photo which was uploaded to the GW Galleries.

The uploader was Uniquewoodfloors, but what I'm pointing out is the rest of the space. See what you think.

IMO, it is always easier to appear minimalist in a large space, and it really takes WORK to achieve the same effect in a smaller home. Modern furniture helps though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Minimalist decor

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 10:34PM
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missmary

Love books.

Love reading.

Love having clean and ordered house.

Love the book reviews. I ordered a couple.

Wanted to say "thanks", and give this one a "bump up".... maybe someone else has a review to give.

Miss Mary

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 7:23PM
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Moccasin

MissMary, what books do you recommend from your lists, and which ones did you order?

I've been in "minimalist mode" all day today, tossing lots of stuff as I clear out the back bedroom for the contractor to come. No, I haven't heard from him, but "if you clean it he will come." I am trying a positive approach.

The foul up was after I stopped cleaning, I relocated my entire desk and computer to the dining room. The cable connection there apparently is faulty, so I had to take the modem and the router cables out from under the desk and get a ladder to connect them in my front bedroom. The cable is high on the wall there, since we have a wall mounted TV.
At least I am finally back online after midnight here.

The computer in the dining room is not what I had in mind, but when the dust starts flying, I want to keep the electronics as dust free as possible.

Decluttering and minimizing is a wonderful pastime. I feel so much better about myself when I tackle clutter. Totes are still in the back bedroom, but not as many. I organized several things, such as TOWELS. My heaven, I did not realize HOW MANY WHITE TOWELS I'd purchased for the new bathrooms. Packing them back waiting waiting waiting on the master bath and tub to be installed, I forgot most of them. And bath mats. WOOOOOO, I suppose because my feet hurt I'm conscious of soft mats underfoot? Now I have the bath linens and the new bed linens organized....MUCH nicer to know what I have.

When my brother comes for the bed this weekend, he can take all the sheets with it. MORE stuff leaving.

Keeping the house fit and trim will give a sense of peace.
Nice.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 3:10AM
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Moccasin

MissMary, what books do you recommend from your lists, and which ones did you order?

I've been in "minimalist mode" all day today, tossing lots of stuff as I clear out the back bedroom for the contractor to come. No, I haven't heard from him, but "if you clean it he will come." I am trying a positive approach.

The foul up was after I stopped cleaning, I relocated my entire desk and computer to the dining room. The cable connection there apparently is faulty, so I had to take the modem and the router cables out from under the desk and get a ladder to connect them in my front bedroom. The cable is high on the wall there, since we have a wall mounted TV.
At least I am finally back online after midnight here.

The computer in the dining room is not what I had in mind, but when the dust starts flying, I want to keep the electronics as dust free as possible.

Decluttering and minimizing is a wonderful pastime. I feel so much better about myself when I tackle clutter. Totes are still in the back bedroom, but not as many. I organized several things, such as TOWELS. My heaven, I did not realize HOW MANY WHITE TOWELS I'd purchased for the new bathrooms. Packing them back waiting waiting waiting on the master bath and tub to be installed, I forgot most of them. And bath mats. WOOOOOO, I suppose because my feet hurt I'm conscious of soft mats underfoot? Now I have the bath linens and the new bed linens organized....MUCH nicer to know what I have.

When my brother comes for the bed this weekend, he can take all the sheets with it. MORE stuff leaving.

Keeping the house fit and trim will give a sense of peace.
Nice.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 3:30AM
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