BOOK REVIEW: The Afrominimalist’s Guide to Living with Less by Christine Platt

red and orange petal flowers

I found out about this book while scrolling through Shira Gill’s website when I was writing the review for Minimalista (review here) and in the sea of basic white lady testimonials, I saw someone new; Christine Platt, the author of The Afrominimalist’s Guide to Living with Less.

The audiobook was available at the library, so here we are. The book is narrated by the author and overall I think she has a good voice for it. My biggest gripe of the audiobook is you can really tell that Platt is a children’s book author, since some of her narration was a little overdone. Great if you’re reading an adventure book for a child, but a bit odd as an adult trying to learn about owning the right amount of clothes.

At the end of each chapter, there was a portion that was a story of one of Platt’s friends. It’s written in the third-person, and was narrated by that person for the audio. So you can kind of tell a few moments when listening to the book when the person was struggling with pronouncing their own name. So that’s something that you will miss out on if you read the book instead of listening. This doesn’t really fit into this review, but it was fun to notice.

Now on to the actual contents of the book…

The book is spilt up into three main parts if you look at the Table of Contents, although I think it’s more like four, since the Introduction is pretty long.

The introduction covers Christine’s story of how she found minimalism. I think she’s so interesting. She has a Masters in African studies, and was a corporate lawyer all while raising her daughter. Then, she was the environmental policy advisor for Obama and now is a children’s book author. This is in addition to being the Afrominmalist online. She seems cool as heck.

This section contextualizes why she wanted to find minimalism, as well as how the general aesthetic of minimalism never works for her and working through how owning colorful things can still make you a minimalist.

It was nice to hear her talk about trying to declutter on weekends while balancing her job. She didn’t go that deep on that point, but I still appreciate a more realistic declutter process.

After that is Part One, which focuses on the mental shift you should do before you start decluttering your crap. This included some overviews of the psychology behind why people buy, and why they might find it hard to let go. It’s more detailed than most books I have read about this area of the pre-minimalism process, which is a definitive Plus. Also she provides scientific studies, which is dope, we don’t stand for solely anecdotal evidence on this blog.

Part Two is about the process of decluttering and finding the right amount of stuff to own. There’s some good info in this section, but my eyes (ears I guess since I was listening) glazed over some of the information. But that’s more of a criticism of me, a person that only reads books about minimalism.

A spot where the process differs from other books, was exploring how your upbringing and cultural expectations can impact this process. As well as forgiving yourself and the people that raised you for how that could have negatively impacted you in the long run.

Part Three is about the practice of living the life and living your authentic life after going through the initial declutter. A similar comment as Part Two, some info I had heard before but it’s well delivered.

man standing beside his wife teaching their child how to ride bicycle
Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna on Pexels.com

As mentioned a few times at this point. I liked the book and I think the information is solid. The process allows for a lot of grace and is pretty upfront that it’s not an instant process.

In each chapter, where was also a portion that’s “for the culture” which is specifically for people of the African diaspora. I found this area interesting and informative as a white lady that has a very different lived experience than Platt.

I think there’s something in this book for anyone that’s interested in living with less. But if you are BIPOC, there’s information in here that you will not get in the current best sellers of the genre. One review that was shared on Platt’s Instagram puts its really well “Highly recommend to anyone whose cultural identity never quite felt seen in Western minimalism.”

This book has been out about a year and I wished I had heard about it sooner. It’s a much better reading experience than a lot of books that I’ve rotted my brain reading for this blog. I think that she brings a unique point of view, not only as a black women in a space that filled with a crap ton of white people, but also having had a corporate job, been a single mother and been divorced. All of these things are not that represented in this minimalism scene, although the space would be must more interesting if it was.

I think I will place this book on the “Def Relatable” tier of the tier list. It’s good, but this book is not “Popular for a Reason”, partially since it’s not as popular as it could/should be. But also some of the information, particularly in Part Two is a bit basic. If you’ve read other decluttering/minimalism books before you’ve probably heard the big takeaways before.

To wrap up, I found another book I enjoyed. This is three in a row, which is blowing my mind, but in a good way. I can guarantee that the streak is breaking at this point, since the book I’m currently working through is a bit of a dud.

If you are curious about the other books I’ve reviewed, you can check my Tier list of books HERE.

BOOK Review: Minimalista by Shira Gill

cheugy kitchen

Minimalista is the first book by Shira Gill, an organizing expect who’s been featured pretty much anywhere fancy, Opera, Goop, Vogue and even one of my Dad’s favorite magazines, Dwell.

I didn’t know that she was that well known. I saw this book in Libby as a recommended title for the spring cleaning and put it on hold. I’m glad I read it, it’s probably one of the best minimalism books I’ve read this year.

I vibed with the way it was written, even if it’s sorta cheugy, girlbossy. I though Gill’s writing was funny and the information was clear and concise.

Part One is an overview of minimalism and how to declutter. This book is definitely more about the aesthetics of the minimalism rather than the lifestyle, as Part Two of the book is all about decluttering your space and how to style it.

Her vibe is very Pinterest-y and I hate to say it again, cheugy. Not the Minion memes part of the cheugy, but the hanging your wide brimmed hat on your wall as a statement piece part of cheugy.

From her website. Confirms she loves wide brimmed hats
From google but to show the vibe of the book

Part One of Minimalista is the better part in my opinion. She covers the steps of decluttering as well as how to get the stuff out of your house pretty well.

I thought Part Two was a tad long since it was a room by room breakdown. As someone who only really has three rooms in their apartment, most of that section didn’t apply to me.

The last comment I had about Minimalista, is something I liked, but makes me sound petty. I liked that this book has two very obvious digs at The Home Edit. I tried reading that book after trying to watch The Home Edit show on Netflix until my partner asked me to shut it off because of the yelling.

Gill comments on how her organizing system isn’t about making everything a rainbow, the staple of The Home Edit system. Gill also comments on how jars filled with spiral Oreos are really silly. Which are valid criticisms, since The Home Edit is definitely too focus on the visual aspect of home decor to the point where it seems like a hard system to actually live with.

I quickly Googled to see if there was any beef between the two brands and I didn’t find anything. It’s probably just that they are direct competition in the niche of “Female lead, home organizing brands which have been featured on Goop”.

Shira Gill would never…

To wrap up, I would recommend the book. If you were active on Pinterest at the height of its popularity, I think you would enjoy the vibe of this book the most.

The information is solid, and I found it still current, despite my dated references throughout this post suggesting otherwise. If you see it at the library, I would say give it a flip through. It’s probably worth looking at the physical copy over the digital. I read the book on my phone and I think some of the photos and layouts were lost in the digitization process, based on the pics of physical book I’ve seen online.

Two books I didn’t hate in a row? Is that even allowed? You can read my most recent book review of Minimal Mom by Diane Boden here, and see all my book reviews here. If you’ve heard of Shira Gill or this book before I would love to hear about it in the comments.

BOOK REVIEW: Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White

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My previous review was Organizing for the Rest of Us, Dana K. White’s third book. I guess I’m reading her bibliography in reverse chronological order, since Decluttering at the Speed of Life was her second book.

As mentioned in my previous review, the subreddit r/declutter seems to really love this book. I was just looking in the discord server and people were literally just talking about it and her podcast. So the book and its concepts do have some staying power, which is impressive for books in this genre.

I actually enjoyed this book.

I think it might be better to listen to in audio format than to read it. I saw people online mention they liked having it on when they are cleaning or going through the steps in the book. Which I think is the way to do it. I listened to the audio book as I was doing some driving for work.

It’s a good listen but the middle potion is extremely repetitive, so I recommend multitasking.

As mentioned in my review of her other book, White thinks of cleaning in three layers. Decluttering, Daily Cleaning, and Deep Cleaning. So this book is really about talking that first step, so that the rest of housekeeping falls into place.

The main thing that White pushes is the container concept.

Her Youtube channel has a video explaining it, but the TLDW is: your home, its rooms, and storage solutions are containers. Keeping a tidy home only works if everything has a home in the container.

It seems like a simple enough idea on paper. It’s easy to put stuff away if it has a proper home. I suspect if you are reading a book review about decluttering, you know that it’s not always doable.

White’s process outlined in this book makes it seem manageable. You start in the most visible space in your home and then work your way into the private/inaccessible spaces. This gets the motivation going, since you see your kitchen countertop more often than a closet or attic. I never really thought about it, but the idea makes enough sense.

If you are going to follow this process, it does seem like s much slower journey than if you followed the KonMari Method. Possibly for more lasting effects.

person holding a stress ball
Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

I also like that this book tackled helping other people declutter. Like your kids and partner, but also other relatives or friends. The main idea of the container concept stays throughout. How you support your best friend vs your mom at decluttering their closet is pretty different.

As the older generation needs to downsize, having some tips on how to help them through the process is welcomed.

(The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning Method is also interesting for discussing how old people should handle their stuff near the end of life. Although I did not enjoy that book when I read it about 3 years ago)

trash near door
Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas on Pexels.com
There were two things that I didn’t like about the book.

One: White is very pro “just donate everything”. The book does explain that this declutter method is about fitting it into day to day life. Going to one spot to get rid of everything, logistically, makes sense. But I don’t like it. Mindlessly donating all your crap is basically the same as throwing it in the garbage, just designed to make you feel like you are helping your community. That part was frustrating to read. I know that not everyone has the same access to donation or waste diversion resources, but I think it’s worth making a bit of a effort where we can.

Two: I didn’t enjoy an unexpected, weirdly specific and long rant about Garbanzo beans/chickpeas. Apparently people don’t like them. As a vegetarian that loves hummus, I found that deeply offensive.

To conclude, I understand the hype for this book. White’s writing style is personable and the method outlined in the book make sense. Sure, the process to a spotless house is slower, since she recommends always restarting with the most visible spot, making sure it’s not cluttered and moving on. But I can see someone sticking to it and being able to get their living spaces to a pretty nice condition.

I also found the part in the book about helping others declutter very insightful. Especially as someone that is known amongst her friends for knowing a lot about decluttering and minimalism. 😛

In my tier list, this book might actually get placed at the top cheese tier of “Popular for a Reason”.

close up photo of feta cheese
Photo by Irita Antonevica on Pexels.com

Have you hear of this book? I would love to hear about it in the comments. You can also see my other book reviews and my Tier lists by clicking here.

BOOK REVIEW: Organizing for the Rest of Us By Dana K. White

Dana K. White is a staple is in the decluttering/minimalist space. I see her second book Decluttering at the Speed of Life referenced pretty regularly on r/declutter as the book to read if you are interested in owning less stuff.  

I read a portion of Decluttering at the Speed of Life a few years ago, but didn’t have the time to finish it before it was automatically returned to the library on Libby. From what I remember, I enjoyed it and planned to revisit it for the blog.  

Her most recent book Organizing for the Rest of Us: 100 Realistic Strategies to Keep Any House Under Control is not a decluttering book, it’s a cleaning, and home maintenance book.  

black and white spray bottle
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

This book is a pretty easy read. Each of the 100 strategies are only couple of pages and Dana K. White doesn’t expect you to incorporate all of them.

That being said, it did take a bit longer than expected to finish. Almost every time I picked it up, I would read a couple pages and I would get an urge to clean something. It feels weird to read about how you should do your dishes every day when your sink is full of the pots from yesterday’s dinner.  

So in a way, the book was pretty effective at its purpose for promoting an organized and clean home. Even if it’s not in the way she intended.  

The book discusses a concept of the three levels of cleaning, most of the strategies in the book fall into one of three different levels. They are the following:

1) Declutter

It’s hard to clean when you have too much crap that doesn’t have a home. She gives a very brief overview on how to declutter a space. And recommends reading her other book for more details. I think she gave the right amount of info for someone who hasn’t read her other works, but not bog down the pacing of this book. 

woman using laptop on the floor
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

2) Daily maintenance

This is the bulk of the strategies. White is a big believer small cleans every day. I understand why dishes every day or sweeping or laundry makes the longer term flow of the household nicer. In practice that isn’t something I want to do for myself.

3) Deep cleaning

This is like the tips for how to clean your baseboards. Or the big seasonal cleans that really elevates a space from tidy to clean.  

crop faceless person in rubber glove squeezing sponge
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Again each chapter/strategy is really short. The book isn’t heavy with many anecdotes or extra filler, which I appreciate. I enjoyed White’s voice throughout, she seems like a really funny person.  

Overall, I think the book is a quick read and good for people that need that kick in the butt to clean their space. Or are overwhelmed on how to do it.

I did notice that the things I resonated with most in this book (the levels of clean, daily dishes, laundry days) have their own blog posts of her website. If you are curious about this book I would start there, since she has years of content at your disposal.

If you are interested in reading any reviews of decluttering or minimalism, book you can read my rankings of Minimalism and Decluttering books here.

Disclosure: I received a free digital copy of this book off of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

BOOK Review: Consumed by Aja Barber

Consumed by Aja Barber Book cover

If you pay attention to any sustainable fashion Instagram or social media, you’ve probably heard of Consumed, the first book by Aja Barber.  

The book is a pretty recent release (Oct 2021). I think I’m the first person to read the copy from the library since it was in spotless condition. Which doesn’t effect my review, I’m just happy it happened.   

Consumed: The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change, and Consumerism is the full title of the book and the book’s thesis statement. Aja Barber covers a lot of ground in a relatively short book and I think she does really well. 

sepia piles of t shirts
Photo by Aden Ardenrich on Pexels.com

The book is spilt into two parts. I’ll just use the description on Aja’s website since it’s more concise than anything I could write:  

Part one: I expose you to the endemic injustices in our consumer industries and the uncomfortable history of the textile industry; one which brokered slavery, racism and today’s wealth inequality. 

Part two: In the second ‘unlearning’ half of the book, I will help you to understand the uncomfortable truth behind why you consume the way you do. 

Aja’s writing style is really inviting and it feels like a friend talking about something they’re super passion about. Like instead of a researcher/journalism trying to lecture you. There were so many moments I wanted to Snapchat or post what I was reading of my Instagram. I was really connecting with what was written and wanted to share it with people!

As mentioned earlier, the book covers a lot of ground and deals with many difficult topics. Such as the condition of garment factories, destruction of the environment, racism in the fashion industry and more. 

I think she covers all the topics really well and sensitively. Although, one criticism I have: there were spots I wish she went a bit deeper. I’ve read some of the books referenced and I think it would have strengthen her points if she included more info from those books here. 

One example being the Bangladesh factory fires. I think it would have benefited with more details for people that didn’t know that happened or forgot about it. Like a couple more sentences just explaining the impacts. Like how the doors were chained. Or that a lot of the survivors or families didn’t get any compensation from the fund raising or government. Would have helped really shine a light on how shit these manufacturing conditions can be.

I believe Aja was trying not to be too much of a downer. I also think she assumes the reader may know more about some of these topics before picking up the book. So I understand why some topics were kept on the shorter side.

The second half of the book is about unlearning and the actionable steps a consumer can take. The main one she mentioned is writing to law makers. And there’s an example letter! Additionally, introductions is open letter Aja wrote to fast fashion companies. That one isn’t one you can copy since it was specific to her. But between the two of them, you got a good starting point to help you write your own letter.  

I love example letters!

mother putting a face mask on her daughter
Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

This book is one of the few new releases that mention Covid and didn’t annoy me the heck out of me. Fast fashion companies have fucked over so many garment workers over the past few years. It really drives home about what she’s been writing that took place before 2020. Fast fashion will take any opportunity, including a pandemic to be…   

If/when this book gets a second edition it would be interesting to see what the updates will be. So far, they are pretty depressing… I believe there are some lost wage class actions that have been filed since publication. 

Update since writing the draft review: there’s been a few wins. See below:

Apart for the normal, write to the government, and stop buying crap from Shein, she does include other tips. I think that her approach is very nuanced. Aja Barber seems aware that for the regular person, fully quitting fast fashion is a marathon, not a race. Additionally, the tips aren’t the same as once I’ve read in other books or online.  

Overall, I loved the book and I’ve been recommending it to all my friends! I recommend it to you too. It was really eye opening without being too overwhelming.


If you are interested in review of other books about fast fashion, I have one for Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas. You can also find all my book reviews here.

BOOK REVIEW: Declutter Like a Mother by Allie Casazza

childrens rooms with wood panels

Declutter Like a Mother is the most recent book by stay-at-home mom, turned blogger, turned entrepreneur, Allie Casazza. She found many benefits in decluttering/minimizing. This book explores the steps she’s given her consulting clients to go through their belongings.

Before I get too deep into the review, I got this book off NetGalley. So I didn’t pay for this book (thanks). But most importantly, I’m not the intended demographic for this book: I’m not a mother. Casazza does mention early on that this book can be read by anyone. But I got called Mama enough times, that I’m not convinced that this is true.

My largest gripe about this book and something that makes it feel less evergreen, despite it being a new release (Sept 2021) is the number of references to her programs and website. Very early in the book you discover that this book is basically a promotion tool for her online program for decluttering your home (priced at $397 USD at the time of writing). The chapter on tackling children’s bedrooms seems sparse, and Casazza happens to offers a program on her website specifically for decluttering children rooms ($349 USD).

couple carrying cardboard boxes in living room
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

You can definitely read the book and follow the steps and likely get a declutter. But the majority of the steps are really light on details. Which is a mixed bag. I dislike books that are too repetitive when it comes to the declutter process (The Minimalist Home was slightly guilty of this). But this swung the other direction.

For example, the Chapter about clothing. Which is big enough of a topic that there are many books just tackling that, was really really vague. She mentioned keeping what fits and you enjoy having. Then goes on a multi-paragraph discussion of how her favorite underwear are the high-rise Spanx, and why it’s her favorite. I didn’t find that helpful to my own closet pair down process.

But that is jumping ahead…

The closet isn’t the first area she recommends you declutter. Which is very refreshing for this style of book. That fresh feeling was short lived though. Because the title of the chapter starting the declutter method dang near killed me:

Chapter Five - Begin Here: Where the Poop Happens
Blinking Meme

Some people may find that chapter title funny. Maybe people will appreciate random Fergie reference from a song that came out in 2003, that was used in another chapter title. But I just find the writing style very dated. I would have completed believed you if you had told me this book came out in, like, 2014-2017 during the high of the Chevron, mint green, maxi dress era of life.

The book is a very easy read.

Despite me thinking the writing style was dated, it was straightforward, and easy to follow. I wish the book was more detailed, and didn’t reference her website as much. After the chapters about the declutter, she did have a FAQ and testimonial section that was an interesting addition. I would have liked it expanded as well. She mentions having clients, I would loved to know more about of their common road blocks and how to get past them. But I guess that’s something only people in the paid course get to know.

white candles on brown wooden crate
Photo by Brandy on Pexels.com
But what did she suggest to do to declutter like a mother?

In general, you are asked to visualize the intention you have for the space and keep items that serve that purpose. She was really clear at multiple times in the book, that the program isn’t about minimalism, but “it’s about having less of what doesn’t matter in order to make room for what does”

I actually did a bunch of research to confirm that sentence wasn’t plagiarized from one of the minimalism girlies. I was that convinced that I had read that before somewhere else. But that’s a me problem, not the books.

She calls her lifestyle “simplicitism”, which feels impossible to pronounce and harder to explain. But it’s minimalism: the movement, not the aesthetic or art style. There was a whole chapter about how to keep going and not let the idea of minimalism (dudes that only own three shirts and can fit everything they own in a backpack) distract you from how you want your space to be used.

Sidebar: I’m kinda annoyed that the aesthetic of a minimalist lifestyle is so ingrained in the movement. Like it feels like anyone that doesn’t only wear black has to over explain or dissociate with the philosophy. Which feels silly in a time where we really should be stopping our overconsumption as society. For a bunch of reasons that I don’t need to get into right now. Like, I guess I’m guilty of that too. This whole blog is about how I’m not a minimalism, but enjoy reading about it. I’ve read enough books trying to dispel the myths of minimalism to see this is a trope of the genre. I think this book was the one that continued about it the longest.

The minimalist starring into your soul
I’m not saying these two are the reason everyone feels they have to justify their minimalism exitance, but I’m not not saying that either. /EndSidebarRant
I have a few other notes that I want to include here. As I didn’t know where else to put it:
  • There is talk of god and religion. It’s only in the introduction and afterword if that’s something you would want to skip over.
  • Really encourages buying containers or tray for each room. This feels like something you should wait until your declutter more spaces before doing. Mostly to confirm you don’t already have something that would do the job.
  • She wants you to get rid of all your glasses and mugs and only use mason jars.
  • “Life is too short to drink out of a fugly mug” – Page 93.
  • I haven’t read Girl Wash Your Face or other books by Rachel Hollis. So I might be out of line, but I find there are a fair amount of similarities. Both talk about poop in there books, both are small business owner turn book/internet empire, and both quote Maya Angelou. Allie, unlike Racheal, attributes the quote. So that’s a plus to this book for sure!
  • I briefly checked out the Goodreads reviews after writing my first draft of this post. Despite Allie really not wanting this book to be about minimalism, most positive reviews mentioned that’s what they got from it.

Would I recommend this book?

I’m learning more towards No than Yes. I do think that Allie does fill a niche in the ‘owning less crap’ space, even if it’s not really for me. But I don’t think the book provides enough info to its reader. Additionally, I don’t think its effective enough at it’s main goal: funneling people into joining her course. Like people are already paid for a product and it didn’t provide that much value. How can we be sure the next product won’t be the same…

This book is going into the “Marge Simpson going Mmmm” level of my tier list of book reviews (Link here to the whole list). You can also go there for more reviews of book I’ve read for the blog. The book isn’t terrible, and I’m pretty sure I’ll remember it. At the same time, it’s not really a value add.

That’s pretty much all I had for this book. Allie does have podcast. I’ve listened to one episode, and I have some thoughts. I will listen to a few more, and probably make a separate post about that in the future.

Update 2022-05-08:

So I was minding my own business, scrolling Pinterest and an old blog post of Casazza’s popped up on my feed. A Beginner’s Guide to a Minimalist Home and the introduction of this book are the same. The first seven paragraphs about walking around your home are basically verbatim. This explains why I thought the book had such intense mint green chevron vibes, they literally do.

Parts of the blog post were edited, but the majority was the same. I did a really quick scan of some of her other posts and didn’t see any moments this obvious of self-plagiarism, but many of the blog titles got reused.

This cements my feeling that this book was a lazy project to push her courses. I don’t think that she needs to write 100% new content for the book, but also think it’s weird to keep so much of it the same.

I personally don’t like a lot stuff I wrote 5 years ago and would likely rework it a lot if it was going to a publisher. I guess I assumed others would have a similar feeling.

If you have any thoughts about that, I would love to know.

BOOK REVIEW: Love People, Use Things by The Minimalists

The full title of this book is Love People, Use Things Because the Opposite Never Works. A saying pretty regularly touted by the Minimalists – Joshua and Ryan.  

The Minimalists are not new to having me review their work. I have a review of their second Netflix Documentary (Review HERE). Additionally, I’ve also mentioned a few times in other posts that I do not enjoy their work. I gave their podcast the good college try back in 2017/2018. I believe that they haven’t been able to produce a new idea since they first started their blog ten years ago.  

flat lay photography of red anti radiation handset telephone beside iphone
Photo by NEOSiAM 2021 on Pexels.com

Now that I disclosed my bias, I want to make clear that I wanted to like this book, or for it to surprise me. I don’t like the idea of torturing myself for 10 hours for this blog (at least not until I get monetized… someone pls sponsor me). I went into the audiobook listening experience with good intentions, despite me not liking the authors.  

Unfortunately, this book did not surprise me… And the book mildly annoyed me for about 8 hours.  

I borrowed the book on Libby and once I started, I procrastinated continuing listening to it. When it automatically returned, I still had about two hours of run time left and I didn’t care.

In fact, I actually ended up listening to the podcast about the Elizabeth Holmes trial in the last hour I had the book for because it was way more interesting.  

The book was published in July 2021. If you are reading this in the future and don’t remember, that was still in the height of the Covid-19 global pandemic. The book isn’t very shaped by the pandemic, with the exception of the Preface. Below is a passage I wrote on my phone when I heard it in my audiobook: 

“In many ways [this book is] a pandemic preparation manual. If only we could have gotten this book into the hands of the struggling people before the spread of the virus. We would have prevented a great deal of heartache. Because intentional living is the best form of preparation.”  

That passage rubbed me the wrong way, for a lot of reasons. This passage is mostly referencing preppers and people that panic bought toilet paper at the start of the pandemic. As well, as people becoming aware of how uncomfortable their physical spaces made them, since they had to be home all the time. Both of those are real, and kinda privileged things that happened. But no amount of people living a minimalist life would have prevented COVID and the loss of life for millions of people around the world. In fact, the most effective preparation would have been to strengthen our healthcare systems, and paying our healthcare/essential workers an equitable wage and get the vaccine. Things that minimalism can’t fucking fix…  

Anyways, enough of me being frustrated by the pandemic, and back to the book.  

white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile
Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

In the Preface Joshua, the blonde Minimalists in the photos and main narrator of the book, mentions that if you know the Minimalist, Chapter 1 will be repetitive. So they are becoming somewhat self-aware.  

The last comment I had about the Preface was the stat that 95% of discarded clothing can be reused or recycled. But for some reason, they didn’t include that very little of the textile waste stream is sold secondhand, reused or recycled and that annoyed me (About 80% goes to landfill btw).

As mentioned before, and in other posts. The Minimalists are really dated and haven’t evolved in the past ten years. This couldn’t have been more obvious than when Joshua was discussing marketing and Billboards with ads for skinny jeans? Hello? 2011 called and they want their fashion trends back. Also, Billboards? Honey, if that isn’t an undisclosed sponsorship on Instagram or Tiktok, is it really an clothing ad? 

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Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

I didn’t know until I was doing research for this post, but it’s part memoir. I believe they already have memoirs, so I don’t understand why this book had to be one too.

The first part of the book is detailing the Minimalists’ journey, that we’ve all heard before. As well, it goes deep on how terrible people Joshua and Ryan were before they found minimalism. Like both cheated, Ryan drove under the influence a bunch of time (luckily not killing anyone). I think they are trying to open up about these negative traits they used to have as a way to show that you need to be truly honest and open, since lying just leads down bad roads. 

I don’t think it landed the way they planned. There’s just such a privilege that comes with being able to talk about your drug use, and possible history of being a drug dealer (as I understood it, I totally could be wrong, don’t quote me, this isn’t libel) in a book without any real consequences.  


This feels extremely mean to write, but Joshua needs to go into therapy to talk to a professional about his mom. He spend a lot of time about his mom with a lot of anecdotes. Which some people might find interesting. But the volume of it… it’s so boring…. I probably could have finished the book on time if like two mom anecdotes were cut from the book. (like the hot dog joke for sure, that didn’t bring anything to the table. I won’t retell it but it’s not good). We, as your audience, will never care about your mom the way you do.

Joshua if you have the misfortune of reading this post: It seems like you still have a lot of complicated feelings you need to work through. Please talk to a professional about it!  

mother and daughter on grass
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Anyways… I actually probably should mention the format of the book. Each chapter is about a relationship (with your stuff, with yourself, others, money etc). I forgot that was the plan until Ryan would show up in my ear telling me some minimalist tips, and some exercises that reflect what was learnt in the chapter.

So Joshua would just chatter about his relationship with himself and I was supposed to learn something from that? I did try for the first couple chapters and looking back on my notes for this post. I have the following:  

Relationship 1 (Stuff), Question 4 – What is the real cost (beyond money) holding on to your items is costing you?  

  • Time dusting  
  • Partner complaining I have too many plants  
  • Time packing and unpacking when I move.  

Relationship 1 (Stuff), Question 6 – What did you learn about your relationship with material stuff this chapter? 

  • Nothing. Y’all ain’t original lol 
  • Idk… I probably should probably downsize in preparation for my next move, again.  
  • Straight up, forgot the chapter minus the skinny jean comment.  

Final thing, they quote Jordan Peterson and Dave Ramsey. Icons! 🙄 🙄🙄 #IYKYK

green cactus plant on pot
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If you couldn’t tell, I hated this book! Like, way more then I wanted to or expected to. Typically Minimalists content makes my eyes roll a bit but I can get over it. But after listening to ¾ of this book I should probably book an optometrist appointment to make sure my eyes didn’t pull a muscle or something from how hard they were working. Despite me not using them to read the book.

I can’t recommend this book. It was far too long, covers no ground and made me lose what little respect I did have for The Minimalists.  

Not to be fully negative: Below is a tweet-able sentence that I like in regard letting go of physical as well as emotional things.  

A willingness to let go, is one of life’s most mature virtues”.  

I thought that was nice, and there were a couple small lines, here and there, of a similar nature that were alright.  But not enough to read the book. You can find listicles online of the best quotes if you are interested.

photo of green leaf potted plants on window and stand
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Anyways… If you are curious about books that I actually finished, you can read my rankings of Minimalism and Decluttering books here.

I threw this Drew Gooden video at the end of my review of the documentary. I’m sharing it again because I love it and he hits on the points I have, but funnier than me:

BOOK REVIEW: Live More, Want Less by Mary Carlomagno

rectangular green swiss cheese leafed plant photo mounted on wall

Live More, Want Less is the fourth book by Mary Carlomagno. A professional organizer and public speaker. This book was released in 2011.

The full title is: Live More, Want Less: 52 Ways to Find Order in Your Life. I scoffed when I read the title… Why would anyone want to read 52 ways to do anything. Which is foreshadowing to my experience reading this book.

The idea of 52 is one area of focus a week for a year. If anyone got that far… Full disclosure, I was not able to finish this book. I got to Chapter 25, I noticed that not a single thing in the past five chapters sunk in.

I think the book mentioned saying ‘No’ to stuff that adds stress to one’s life. I’m taking that advice to heart and have returned it to the library.

smartphone with title near blank diary and bottle on bed
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Below are bullet points notes I took as I read along:

  1. Chapter Two is called “Procrastinators Read This First”. How would we know to read this first? It’s the second chapter… Lord knows how long before we would get to that point in the book.  
  • Each chapter is really really short. Usually just an ancedote with some daily “practices”, which aren’t even that actionable.
  • “I recycle my schedule which made me feel eco savvy.” Mmmm…. Ma’am. That’s not how that works.
  • The author is very woowoo and believes in the Law of Attraction. Which isn’t a good sign. 
  • Each chapter kinda reminds me of something you would read in a horoscope.  

I don’t know who this book was written for! The book is too vague and unguided for self-help Newbies and too redundant for Veterans. I suppose it could be Baby’s second or third self-help book, but it’s written like crap. So I wouldn’t want that experience for anyone.  

To conclude, I wasted more time and effort on this book than it’s worth. I have a long TBR list and I’m just going to move on to the next thing. I want to live more, by wanting less of this book’s existence.

If you are curious about books that aren’t a waste of time, you can read my rankings of Minimalism and Decluttering books here.

BOOK REVIEW: Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas

men s gray and black button up shirt on mannequin

I heard about Fashionopolis as it was one of sources on a recent Climate Town video (which was awesome and you should totally watch after you’re done here).  

Fashionopolis is the third book by Dana Thomas, published in 2019. She’s a careered fashion journalist for such esteemed publications as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harper’s Bazaar and more.

The book is set up in three parts.  

Part One covers the history of mass produced garments. Starting in the industrial revolution to now in the world of over consumption, globalism and exploitation. Fun…

It did start exploring more modern manufacturing plants that are more automated and transparent about how the workers are being treated. Which is nice to know there’s some change in the industry to make things a tad bit safer. But at the same time the big fast fashion companies are still actively lobbying against countries like Bangladesh from raising the minimum wage.   

This part was interesting but also extremely sad, since it really highlights the lack of care companies have for their employees lives or safety.  

Image Source and an interesting article about garment workers during the Pandemic.

Part Two was more focused on material production and ‘rightshoring’ which is the return of garment manufacturing in first world countries with more more ethical and environmentally conscious practices. Or that is how I understood it in the context of the book. I googled it after finishing the book and my definition is off.

It gives reasons to why some garment manufacturing is coming back to the US and UK. As well as suppliers like dyes, wools, lower water cotton and more.

There were interviews some of the startups that are working on fabric recycling, particularly cotton/poly blends (which is shockingly common and currently essentially impossible to reuse or recycle (Secondhand covered the journey to the grave is covered really well in that book if you’re curious)).  

Somewhere in this section we start hearing about Stella McCartney, the fashion designer. I knew her as the lady that designed that ugly jackets for Taylor Swift’s Lover merch. She’s also Paul McCartney’s daughter. #funfacts 

But she’s been very active in reducing furs in luxury fashion, and has been investing and partnering with many of small manufacturers that are creating ethical or recycled materials. It was really cool. But also the book talked about her a lot. I don’t know if it’s because she’s the only one doing anything or if that just who the author could interview.  

Part Three is about renting and sharing of clothing, as well as the second hand market. All of which have been growing in recent years. The author seemed to focus in on luxury rental companies (Like the Real Real). I think it would have been cool to have talked more which places like ThreadUp or Goodwill to discuss how the secondhand bomb has been effecting them. Since that’s where us normies get our second hand clothes.

black framed eyeglasses on white jacket and blue denim bottoms
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I enjoyed Fashionopolis. I have an interest in fashion (or maybe garment production since I like sewing). And this book was filled with sooo much interesting information. However, when I read a book like this, I wish it was a documentary instead. The author tried describing this as much as she could but I want to see it. I ended up having to google some of the stuff mentioned just to understand what she’s talking about. So at the very least photos would have improved the reading experience. If you have a interest in fashion or curious about garment manufacturing this book is for you.

How am I supposed to imagine this from a description? Image Source (PS it’s a 3-D printed dress)

If you curious about over fashion related book review, my review for Project 333 is for you. Or check out all my book reviews here.

BOOK REVIEW: Minimal by Laurie Barrette and Stéphanie Mandrea

Jewelry Making Supplies

Laurie Barrette and Stéphanie Mandrea are two childhood friends and the owners of the Quebec brand Dans le SacWhich primarily sells reusable fabric bags, as they transitioned into a low waste, minimalist lifestyle. I attended a virtual interview that Indigo (a Canadian Bookstore) did with the authors. They seem quite nice. The few things I really remember about their talk (I lost the page I wrote my notes on) was their idea of Zero Waste, which isn’t trying to having all your trash for the year fit in a mason jar. But more the 5 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.

The book is a pretty short read at about 220 pages, Libby said that I finished the book in about 2 hours. Overall, I enjoyed it. There’s a lot of lists and DIY projects for different areas of the home and life, such as cleaning products, skincare and baby bum sprays to help live a low impact life.

I enjoyed the first couple chapters the most and got the most information out of them. They might be a bit basic, but cover the ideal of minimalism, the impact of humans on the environments and the idea of making ones on products to have more control of what is entering ones personal environment.

From the cleaning chapter onwards, they started to loose me a bit. Barrette and Mandrea really love essential oils! I have a below average sense of smell, so I don’t care about aromatherapy or essential oils. Also there’s a few really large multi-level marketing companies that sell oils. And that sales/company structure isn’t something I believe is ethical. To be clear, they weren’t pushing a certain brand or anything like that, just my prior knowledge of essential oils going into this book make me have a generally negative option about them.

I truly disagree with one point they had in there book. That was that essential oils are good for the planet. They mention that oils “triggered their green journey”. Kinda ironic given how material intensive the process can be (like 10,000 lbs of roses for one 1lbs of rose oil).

Also they encouraged putting essential oils on babies, they did have a disclaimer that it’s “controversial” to put these types of oils on babies but their didn’t have any issues with their kids. John Hopkins has an article with recommended amounts/usage. But I personally don’t think it’s a great idea. I’ve used tea tree oil on my skin before, and found it burnt a lot so I can’t imagine how a baby would feel.

I don’t have children but I did enjoy the chapter about raising minimalist kids that are environmentally conscious. A lot of it just leading by example but they have this list of environmentally friendly family actives that I just found really charming. Examples, like making salt dough, building bird houses, and growing veggies. That list is without a doubt my favorite part of the book.

At the end of the day it’s a pretty easy read, with really lovely photos, and with content you can find mostly on their website or if you spent enough time on Pinterest. I did read an interview with them that has a quote, that I think captures their intent with this book: “Packed with DIY project ideas, practical tips for reducing waste, and utterly drool-worthy photos, Minimal is a must read whether you’re motivated by love of the planet, the ‘gram, or both.”

To conclude, I would have enjoyed less essential oil talk, but others may not find it as annoying. If you see this book at a book store or the library I would say give it a quick flip through and read the kid friendly activity list but I don’t recommend spending money on it.

You can find some of my other minimalism review here.