Keep only the essential


The best writing advice I received involved murder to some degree.

Kill your darlings. Cut the fluff. Keep only what is essential. An often-used metaphor is Michaelangelo chipping away at a block of marble until he reveals The David.

And after reading about minimalism and (slowly) applying the things I’ve learned that aside from cleaning our copies, we can also chip away the excess in our lives to reveal our best selves.

Here are a few of my favorite minimalist reads:

  1. The Gente Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

Margareta Magnusson describes herself as somewhere between 80 and 100 years old. In this book, she introduced the art of Swedish death cleaning or making sure our loved ones know what to with our belongings after we die.

This may sound morbid but it saves our family from the pain of sorting our junk while still grieving for us. Death cleaning also forces us to confront the fact that we can take a grand total of none of our possessions to the afterlife.

Plus, sorting paperwork like insurance policies is a good idea at any age.

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Marie Kondo’s bestselling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” popularized the Konmari Method of tidying up our clothes, books, papers, and other miscellaneous items, in that order. Each has its own chapter to guide us through the process.

The Konmari method is not just getting rid of stuff, but treating them with respect. In the chapter about clothes, she suggests this folding method where we begin by feeling the fabric and thanking our clothes for their service (it’s not as woo-woo as it sounds.) It actually made folding laundry a fun and almost meditative activity.

Through Konmari, I finally got the resolve to *gasp* get rid of most of my books and other things that I keep Just In Case.

  1. Everything That Remains

Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus are The Minimalists (and are currently my favorite people). Everything That Remains is their story of going from suit-and-tie corporate guys to becoming minimalists to live more meaningful lives.

One of their favorite pithy answers is to love people and use things. Because the opposite never works. 


Photo by Sofia Sforza on Unsplash


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