Book cover.Dearest readers,

Spring cleaning has gotten me thinking about de-cluttering — and the larger minimalist movement. It sure feels great to get rid of things we no longer use or need, but what’s to stop us from just filling up our lives with more stuff? Minimalism and environmentalism have a lot in common — enough that I think you’ll enjoy reading about the former and then talking about it with other Gristers in a few weeks.

It’s official: the long-overdue next selection for Ask Umbra’s Book Club is The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life. Its author is Francine Jay — whom you may know as Miss Minimalist if you read her blog. I discovered it recently and was pleasantly surprised to read green themes among her musings, like her advice to consider ditching perfume because of all its potential health hazards. “Ninety-five percent of the chemicals used in fragrances are petroleum-based compounds, and the manufacture of both the perfumes and their bottles consume a great deal of energy,” she writes. A climate hawk if I ever heard one.

I’m eager to hear what you think of the book. In addition to the green aspects of streamlining your possessions and reducing consumption, I’m interested in exploring whether you think minimalism is a frou-frou movement with hints of elitism or if it’s truly accessible for everyone. Find a copy and we’ll start the discussion the week of July 11. You can buy it online new or used, or in the spirit of accumulating less, pick it up at the library or borrow a copy from a friend.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

If you’re into the minimalist communication on Twitter, the hashtag for our discussion will be #Umbrareads.

Happy reading!


Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.