Tsh is a blogger turned author, which instantly drew me to read her book. She blogs at SimpleMom.net.
This book is divided into two sections. In the first section, Tsh defines what living simply in the real world looks like. Her definition of living simply is to "live holistically with your life's purpose." She talks about creating a purpose statement for your family and how every family's purpose statement will look different. What is important to one family may not be important to another. With that in mind, we are to reevaluate how we spend our time and money. Once we do that, we will realize that a lot of things that we enjoy here in the US are really luxuries, not the necessities that we think they are. Such things as cable TV, 2 cars, or even a clothes dryer are not in the average home around the world.
Once we have a clear purpose statement written we can move on to the second section of the book - 10 days to a simpler, more organized home. In this section, Tsh takes you through each room of your house - living room, kitchen, bathrooms, kids rooms, master bedroom and entryways. As you go, you sort, declutter and clean. Her mantra throughout this organization is "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." (William Morris) So as you declutter, sort things by asking, Is this useful to me? Is this beautiful to me? If it is not, toss it. You will also keep your purpose statement in mind and redefine your rooms purpose in light of that. For example, if your purpose statement is to lower your family's ecological footprint, you might lessen the amount of electronics you have in the house or choose to put up a clothesline. In the end, you are left with a home that has less clutter, less stress and one that more adequately meets your family's purpose statement.
I really enjoyed this book. It was very well-written and well-organized. You would have thought Tsh had been writing books for years. We don't have a family purpose statement and to be honest, the thought of making one is pretty daunting for me. But I think the concept of having a purpose statement is excellent. Businesses and corporations have them and refer to them often in their decision making. My childrens' school has a purpose statement that the whole school quotes every morning. Every child there knows it and every teacher teaches with it in mind. So a family purpose statement may be something we will work on in the near future.
In terms of her decluttering "rules." I think they are awesome...in theory. I tried it out (not as extensively as she outlines in the book) by cleaning out my closet. I tried to be really objective and get rid of anything that had not been worn in a year, anything that didn't fit, anything out-dated or the wrong color. And I got 2 garbage bags full of clothes ready to be donated as well as a basket full of nicer stuff ready for the consignment store.
But I still have a lot of clothes.
So did I really only keep the useful and beautiful stuff? I don't know.
Next I tackled my linen closet. I found 3 old quilts that we no longer use. I put them on a local classifieds site to see if I could sell them.
But if they don't sell, am I willing to just give them away? I don't know.
All that to say, I think this is a wonderful book with a wonderful concept but for me to really follow the plan in it, I will have to have agreement and assistance from the family and a lot more will power than I currently have. Not only to get rid of non-essential things in my house, but to limit myself and not buy more of them. I do recommend this book and because of that, I give it:
5 out of 5 stars
I'll leave you with my favorite quote from the book:
"The secret to happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less." (Don Millman)