Less Stuff: Simple Zero-Waste Steps To A Joyful And Clutter-Free Life – Book Review
Author: Lindsay Miles
Genre: Environment, clutter-free, zero-waste
My rating: ★★★★☆
Release Date: Published 6thAugust, 2019 by Hardie Grant
Format: Paperback, 224 pages
What did I think?
“If we look at how things work in nature, there is no waste. Nature cycles and recycles everything: air, water, nutrients. Humans are the only species known to create waste.”
Foremost, the book is about having less stuff. Paring down to what you love, and what is necessary. But second, Lindsay is all about zero-waste. Technically, there is no such thing as no waste at all. Lindsay Miles explains “…it is true that zero-waste in its purest form doesn’t actually exist. Not yet. That’s why zero waste is often described as a set of guiding principles, a goal, or a philosophy. We might not be able to achieve perfection, but we can still do what we can with what we have.” So zero-waste is about trying to live without overbuying, throwing away tons of packaging that we could have done without, and living more sustainably.
I have followed Lindsay’s blog, Treading my own path, for quite a while now. Many blogs I’ve later dropped, but not hers. One reason is that Lindsay has a pleasant way about her. She’s trying her best to live right, but she also isn’t too preachy. Another reason is that I’m interested in the lifestyle she’s living. In some ways I’ve taken it up already, in others I’m lagging behind, but agree with her on many things and appreciate the advice she gives on her blog.
And, right now I have too much stuff. I’ve not only inherited a lot in the last two years but for five years before that I let my stuff kinda build up around me. Maybe I’ve got a ton more than some, maybe less than others, but I’m ripe for doing something about it because 1. I feel overwhelmed by my things and 2. deciding on some of it is hard because it’s mixed in with…emotions. Yikes.
I felt like I wouldn’t learn that much from Less Stuff because it was hardly my first time at this rodeo. But I wanted to read it to see, get a little encouragement, and to support an Aussie who is being the change she wants to see. So, I ordered it from the library and it turns out I was wrong. Less Stuff offered me some new insights and was written so comprehensively and put forward in such a well-organised way that I was very glad I borrowed it.
Things I liked:
– Once again, Lindsay’s attitude. She’s supportive. Understanding. Realistic.
– Yet she has a vision, and she’s moving towards it!
– Psychology is mentioned which is important because the way we think and the way we get pressured to think by those around us and by ads, for example, is very relevant to how we live and how we progress when we try to change. Awareness is key. Knowing that the little thrill we feel when we purchase something new will fade quickly can help us overcome the desire to do it. If we aren’t aware of it, then…
– The book outlines the entire process from getting your values in order (why you want to declutter), going through each part of the house, how and where to take everything you’re getting rid of, and how to prevent more from creeping back in – because it does! Less stuff provides a thorough roadmap.
– That Lindsay dealt with the confusion over paring down versus not wasting.
Things that weren’t so much for me:
Only that there was some information that I knew but that was to be expected and, hey, I guess I needed to hear it again…
Some key points I learned:
- Own you’re bad choices.
- Learn the lessons that getting rid of certain things can teach you e.g. you never needed it, you bought it for the thrill, you experienced the Diderot Effect (*see below), you’ve been hoarding because of fear of needing something and so on.
- Sometimes there are no other options other than landfill. But look for options first.
- Knowing why you want to get rid of your clutter and lower your waste will help you achieve it and stick to it.
- If you receive an unwanted gift, remember the meaning is in the giving not in the having. Pass it on as quickly as possible; don’t use it first – it’s easier to sell or donate it if it’s new.
*What the heck is the Diderot effect?
That’s when you buy something shiny and new, bring it home and it makes your other stuff look crappy and so it spurs you on to replace other things you own that don’t need replacing. I’d never heard of it before, but I’m pretty sure I’ve experienced it.
Now, change can’t just be about individuals. Of course not. Governments have to change. Laws have to change. Businesses from corporations right down to small businesses have to change. But that doesn’t mean as individuals we should just continue on the way we are. We do have some power. Power to show what needs to happen.
Lindsay wrote, “Most of us are not product designers. We are people who buy things in good faith, and only realise that these things are not durable or fixable or recyclable once they break or wear out, and we are faced with putting them in the bin. But we still have the power to make a difference through our everyday choices and the purchases we make.”
Anyhoo, on to having less stuff.