I am most definitely in a transition season of my life and these four books really speak to where I am right now and what I’m trying to figure out. Because they have impacted me so much I would like to offer the opportunity for TWO readers (United States Only) to each choose TWO books from this review that I will send to them as a personal gift from me.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
After reading this book I am on a mission to substantially downsize our possessions, find a place for everything and better curate the things we own or keep. I was both inspired and perplexed by this book.
Many of the things in this book you probably already know, but needed a little encouraging reminder about. For example, author Marie Kondo suggests that you tidy up in one shot rather than little by little, for maximum impact and to change your mindset (page 16). Although this might seem like she is promoting doing a one-day clean, she really encourages that this is done within a short period of time. I agree with this, however I was perplexed by her also recommending that you sort by category and not by location (page 24). I tried it her way and it didn’t have the same impact for me at all. Two weeks later several of my areas look half done and I’m losing motivation. For me, organizing by location means that you systematically work your way through your house and as each room begins to take shape, you are motivated to continue.
Kondo also calls out storage experts as essentially hoarders (page 22). As she says, “Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved.” At first I balked at this, and then I realized that my skills in organizing and storing as many things in the smallest amount of space, really didn’t help the fact that I, like many Americans, simply have too many things.
One of the key points from the book that really made the most significant impact in shifting my mindset was that when you are discarding you should focus on what we want to keep, and not what we want to get rid of (page 41). By reframing this question in my head I found it easier to get rid of things that before I might have been tempted to hold onto. Readers are also encouraged to keep only the things that speak to their heart (page 42) while this may nto be a new idea, it’s still a good one.
Things I didn’t agree with (or found strange):
Don’t scatter storage spaces throughout your house for the same item (page 138)
Forget about flow planning and frequency of use (page 141)
Store bags and handbags in another bag (page 150)
Keep things out of the bath (page 157)
Appreciate your possessions and thank them for their service (page 168)
Things I did agree with:
Designate a place for everything (page 130)
Don’t let your family see what you are discarding (page 46)
Empty your handbag every day (page 153)
Overall, I think the key to this book is we have too much stuff. We need to let go of it and gain some freedom back in our life. Possessions weigh us down, take time to clean, organize, find etc. I was inspired to make a change this year. I’ve set a goal to finish my organizing project in the next 4 weeks.
Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund
This gem of a book is back in print and really worth buying in pairs so you can share a copy and still be able to refer back to your original (most likely highlighted) copy. Anne might very well be the original creator of the notebook system, and the now trendy ‘capsule wardrobe’. This book is written for Christian women who desire to live according to biblical principals, which means Anne’s focus on goals and priorities align with the biblical perspective that your relationship with God comes before all other things. Throughout the book she refers to scripture frequently. This is not a book where women are instructed to behave like doormats (that is not what God intended women to be) so don’t be afraid of it.
The book is a fairly quick read and lives up to Anne’s motto: Eliminate and Concentrate. I found the book very encouraging and I loved how Anne made the everyday management of life less overwhelming by keeping your priorities and focus clear. You cannot accomplish everything each day, but you can always accomplish the most important things each day and not be run down and burnt out afterwards.
There were so many things that stood out for me and made an impression. I was convicted about the importance of church attendance. The importance of church attendance is not so much about my enjoyment or fulfillment as a Christian, but rather that I am an active member of an eternal family (Church family) and is to praise and honor God in corporate worship. A podcast or streaming the sermon is not good enough. I shouldn’t go for what I get out of it, but rather what God gets out of it. How He is praised and how He uses the members of the church to encourage one another and carry each other’s burdens. I cannot be a part of that, unless I am there.
Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup
“I do not want to be arrogant or put my hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put my hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
Ruth’s book is not so much a guide to budgeting and spending less (although she does offer some helpful tips) as it is a guide to getting to the heart of why spend and what will truly fill us.
Maybe it was just where I am in this season of my life, but my favorite section of the book discussed blooming where you are and using the talents you have instead of the ones you wish you had. Throughout the book Ruth shares examples from her own life that help explain how her journey to live well, while spending less, really became about so much more than budgeting and bargain shopping.
Own your life by Sally Clarkson
“Flesh is an attempt to live the christian life by works and by manipulating circumstances in our own power. It doesn’t require God’s presence or blessing, and it attempts to do only what is logical or acceptable. Because it sees human possibility as the source of power, it limits God’s infinite power to work. ” Sally Clarkson
I will start off by saying that I own every book that Sally Clarkson has written, so it should come as no surprise when I tell you that she is one of my favorite Christian authors. I believe this may very well be the most life changing and powerful books she has ever written. I read it with a highlighter and a journal. I’m still digesting all of the points and their implications on my life. At the end of each chapter there is an ‘own your own part’ section which is completely action oriented. Things you need to either decide or do, not just think about. This is an action oriented book. One I plan on reading multiple times.
TWO readers will have an opportunity to win TWO of the books listed above as a personal gift from me. I hope you will be inspired and encouraged by them as much as I have been. Details on how to enter are below.