Today we are in for a real treat! I am pleased to say we have the company of Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist who just happens to be one of the world’s premier simplicity and minimalist writers! Joshua’s site and books are read by, and inspire, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world for good reason, his methods and advice works.
Grab your coffee and get comfortable as in the following interview Joshua shares some amazing insights on his own journey and also ways you can make your own life simpler and more minimalist.
1) Hi Joshua, why don’t we start with you telling us a little about yourself, where in the world you’re based and also a little background on your blog, Becoming Minimalist (www.becomingminimalist.com)?
Currently, I live in Peoria, Arizona in the USA with my wife and two young kids (11 and 7). We’ve lived here for the past two years. Before living here, we lived in Vermont which is where the minimalist journey for us actually began.
The journey for us started on a Saturday morning in the springtime as I set out to clean my garage… this is after all, what so many of us do with our spare time: take care of the stuff we own. My son was 5 and playing alone in the backyard while I cleaned and organized everything I stored out in the garage.
I began commenting to my neighbour about my frustration over having to clean all morning rather than play with my son. She replied by saying, “That’s why my daughter is a minimalist. She keeps telling me I don’t need to own all this stuff.” I looked at everything piled up in my driveway and then I looked at my son alone in the backyard and made a life-changing realization: “Everything I owned was not bringing joy or meaning into my life. But worse than that, it was actually distracting me from the very things that did.”
We immediately began our journey of removing non-essential possessions from our life.
2) Where did the initial spark for Becoming Minimalist come from and what led to you wanting to share your story via the blog and your books?
Originally, I started the Becoming Minimalist blog as an online-journal. I just wanted to document the decisions we were making and the changes we were experiencing. Over time, more and more people began reading the website and finding inspiration in our story. Eventually, after pursuing minimalism for quite some time (18 months approximately), we changed the focus of the website after recognizing the need for the message of minimalism. Becoming Minimalist became a place to encourage others to live with less and provide practical advice to help them in their journey—that is when the bulk of growth began for the website.
There are some minimalist blogs that seek to help other minimalists live with even less. But my hope is to reach those outside the movement and help them recognize the practical benefits of living with less.
3) What have been some of the main challenges you have faced since trying to live a more minimalist life?
It’s interesting because the only barriers to minimalism are personal. There is no law or rule or person standing in the way of anybody choosing to live with less. Every barrier is on the inside: overcoming the passion to possess, the need to impress others with our possessions, or learning to reorient our thinking away from society’s consumer-driven tendencies. These are the only challenges.
Oh sure, there are perhaps some initial barriers of finding the time and energy to declutter our home and remove things we don’t need. We didn’t collect everything we own in one afternoon and it’s going to take longer than that to remove it all. But these are minor obstacles compared to the work that needs to happen on the inside.
4) Is there anything that you miss from your previous life?
No, not really. I don’t miss the constant stress and anxiety of needing more money. I don’t miss the burden of wanting to get rich or be paid more. I don’t miss wasting so much of my precious time managing and organizing and cleaning and repairing all the things that I owned… much less all the time spent researching and shopping for those things in the first place. I don’t miss any of that at all.
5) And what have been some of the major benefits including any surprising benefits?
The benefits of living with fewer possessions are entirely practical and life-giving. For starters, it costs far less to not buy stuff which allows some to get out of debt, some to start saving money, some to pursue a career they love, and others to financially support causes they believe in. Living with less results in far less time cleaning, organizing, and wasting time and energy maintaining stuff. It’s better for the environment. It results in more freedom, less stress, and less anxiety. In short, it provides opportunity to pursue our greatest passions… and find more life, joy, and meaning because of it.
6) What are two or three things readers can do today to start living more simply and minimalist lives?
Start easy. Find one lived-in area of your home (think living room, bedroom, bathroom, wardrobe). And remove the physical stuff that you know you don’t need there. You don’t have to remove everything—just remove the stuff that you know you don’t need: the clothes you don’t wear, the decorations you don’t even like anymore, the cd’s you don’t listen to, the toiletries that aren’t used anymore… just the easy stuff for starters. Put it all in a box out of sight. And start to notice the benefits of living with less in just this one area. Your home feels lighter like a burden has been lifted. Picking out clothes becomes easier, sitting in your living room is more relaxing, getting ready is easier with less clutter. These are the benefits of minimalism. Pick another area in your home and then another. Once you’ve worked through the major areas in your home, go back through from where you started and see if you can remove more.
7) What can readers expect from Becoming Minimalist over the coming period? Any new projects in flight that you can share details of?
We’re still hoping to inspire as many people as possible to embrace minimalism. We’ll be releasing a book, Clutterfree with Kids, soon (November) that I think parents will find super-helpful. And then there is another project that we’re targeting for 2014 that we aren’t quite ready to announce. But people will find it inspirational. In short, I’ll continue to sell books that tell people not to buy stuff. Hopefully this business model works out in the long run…
8) Great, thanks for taking the time to share some of your thoughts with us
You are welcome. Thanks for the opportunity.
For more on Joshua be sure to visit: