Non Fiction Review: Minimalism Room by Room

Minimalism Room by Room by Elizabeth Enright Phillips
Minimalism Room by Room: A Customized Plan to Declutter Your Home and Simplify Your Life
by Elizabeth Enright Phillips

2 out of 5 stars


This book guides the reader through the decluttering journey with chapters for each room. The writing style is excellent with practical advice on how to make decisions for keeping or tossing your possessions. One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was the way it encourages the reader to examine their emotions about their home and possessions. The book provides affirmations and inspirational advice to fuel your motivation and create a new way of living.

It was odd to me that Bathrooms were lumped together with the Entryways in the same chapter. What do Bathrooms have in common with an Entryway? It made no sense to have those two areas together and made for a very confusing chapter. And the Laundry Room is included in the chapter with the Master Bedroom. The information is poorly organized.
There are also long lists of needed decluttering materials like storage tubs and trash bags. And it just repeats the same list for the next room and the next room. I’m not sure why it was necessary to repeat the list several times in every chapter.

I did NOT like the advice to move clutter to other rooms while you are decluttering one room. Sounds like a great way to shuffle things around and never get anything done. The book also advises that you should store items away and see whether or not you need them later. That’s another terrible way to keep boxes of unused items sitting around that you will never end up actually getting rid of. This is not very good minimalist philosophy.

The author even encourages the reader to keep clothing that doesn’t FIT them! Why would you keep clothing that is too small or too large for you? The author says to keep it in storage until you need it again. Unless we’re talking about maternity clothes that you might need in the future, that is just unhealthy.

This book’s system of decluttering gives the reader too many ways of keeping things. It would be much better to get rid of things at once, instead of dithering around and not making the decision to keep or toss or donate. Make the decision. Get the stuff out of the house immediately. Get it done. This system leaves too many loopholes.

I also did not like the way that the author included a few paragraphs about finding your vision for your space at the END of each chapter. You should think of your vision for the space, what you want to feel in that space, and what function the space should have BEFORE you begin decluttering or else you will lose focus as you move things around. Why would you put together a vision board for the room AFTER you’ve already finished decluttering the room? It’s completely backwards!

While decluttering, you should be able to ask yourself, “Does this item fit my vision?” If yes, then you keep the item. If no, then you trash the item. It is so much simpler if you already have a vision for that space. It helps with the decision making process.

The book is mostly geared toward families with children, and as a single person, I didn’t find much in there that applies to me. I wish the writing included more scenarios and examples for people in a variety of home/family situations. There is a chapter at the end that addresses minimalism in studio apartments and small spaces, but I didn’t get much from it.

Some of the advice in this book is just strange, such as a tip to hang T-shirts on the same hanger to save space. First of all, who hangs up their T-shirts? And secondly, wouldn’t it be difficult to squeeze multiple shirts onto the same hanger and equally difficult to see and remove the chosen shirt? There are no other guidelines or explanation given for this strange tip.

The author also has a chart where the reader can tick off a box for every item they get rid of, and then give themselves a reward when they have reached their goal. But the goal and the focus should not be on decluttering a certain amount of items. The focus should be on what you keep to enhance your life and bring you joy in your home, NOT on the trash you threw out. Why would I want to reward myself for trash? I want to track and reward myself for the good things I love to keep.

This book is okay. 2 stars means “okay” but not great. There are some good ideas, but I’ve read better. There is good advice, but the information is badly organized.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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