A travel and style blog

Book Giveaway - Everything That Remains

"It's a dark apartment, stocked with brand new furniture and my own sullen disbelief. My mother's death still hangs in the air around me, and now, during the same month, my six year marriage is ending. Shit. Looking around, it's hard to determine which way is up. 
But even while Rome is burning, there's somehow time for shopping at IKEA."

You know that feeling you get when you buy new clothes, not the excitement while you're picking them out and trying them on, but that feeling you get the minute you walk away from the till with your new purchase(s) in tow, that slow sinking feeling. 
It rears it's head seconds before you start justifying why you needed the top/dress/skirt/bag/all of the above, and rains all over your 'shiny new things' parade?

As a girl whose wardrobe literally buckled under the pressure, I am all too familiar with the feeling... The shopping guilt. Usually brought about because I spent more than I intended and on something that I didn't really need.

Allow me to tell you then about a book that I, and my wardrobe, wish I'd read sooner, Everything That Remains, a memoir by The Minimalists. 

Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemis are founders of The Minimalists blog. Visiting their website will tell you that over 20 million people have been helped to live a more meaningful life with less via The Minimalists blog, books, podcasts, and documentary.
In my case, it was their memoir that had me routing through my wardrobe, donating, selling and throwing out 'treasured' items of clothing that I'd either a) not worn in years or b) forgotten I even owned.

Motivated by The Minimalists, in a quest to make the contents of my wardrobe more meaningful I started flogging frocks on Ebay. As my first three items sold I was rewarded with the gift of a tiny bit more space and £65.00 in my pay pal account. But the best part? I also felt a little bit lighter, less cluttered. And just with three items shifted.

I never realised that the weight that caused my wardrobe rail to give way was weighing down on me too.

Minimalism though isn't just about having a wardrobe clear out, it isn't just about clearing out the stuff, although that's a good place to start. It's about realising how caught up we all are in a culture of consumerism. The moment I stopped to consider this the less pressure I felt. Instantly.

Everything That Remains is in essence, and in the words of Joshua Fields Milburn (JFM), "a bunch of life lessons in a narrative format."

As a twenty something married man, JFM had a six figure income and everything he thought he'd ever wanted. But when his Mother passed away and his marriage ended in the same month, he was left considering the possibility that everything he thought he'd always wanted wasn't what he wanted after all.

"The more you forsake the more important the money becomes because everything else goes by the wayside."

After his world was turned upside down he reads a tweet by chance about minimalism which turns out to be the beginning of a heart warming journey towards a life with more value. As JFM walks away from the corporate world of spreadsheets and six day working weeks his focus shifts to how he'll spend the one thing that money can't buy more of, time.

The narrative is interrupted by side notes from Ryan Nicodemis, JFM's best friend, who, on noticing the positive effects a minimalist lifestyle was having on his pal decided he'd give it a whirl to, and it stuck. The thing with minimalism is... it feels nice.

It isn't a preachy memoir, or just another self-help book that you'll read once and then never action any of it's many suggestions as to how to land that dream job or conquer that fear. It's a personal narrative about how wanting less, needing less, and giving up the never ending race to consume will trigger a surprising side effect. You'll end up achieving more than you ever did before.

Now the irony of me writing about one mans mission to, among other things, buy less stuff, and then recommending you go out and buy this book hasn't gone unnoticed. That is why I took the liberty of buying two copies, one so I can re-read it every now and again as another screw pops out of place on my wardrobe, and the second so I can give it away to one of you lovely lot if you just so happen to fancy having a read for yourself.

As a refreshing little change from all the product pushing that goes on in the delightful world of social media I thought I'd run a competition. If you fancy winning a copy of Everything That Remains simply comment below or retweet the post link on my Twitter page and I'll choose a winner at random on Monday 20th March.

Thanks so much for reading and good luck,

Elaine x x


  1. Yay! Welcome to the dark side :)
    I discovered minimalism around this time last year and it's been the best thing that's ever happened to me. Getting rid of all the clutter (especially old clothes I was still holding on to from like 10 years ago) and only keeping the things I need and love has had such a positive impact on my life. And it's addictive - once you notice how good it makes you feel to get rid of stuff, you want to keep going...and going...
    I'll stop writing now before this comment turns into a blog post of its own but I just wanted to say I'm so happy for you! Don't worry about entering me into the giveaway as I've already read the book - I think that someone who hasn't discovered minimalism but is interested in learning what it's about would benefit from having it more than me.

    Nicola x

    1. Ah no way you're well ahead of the game then :)
      Such a simple notion that really makes a difference isn't it. I'm a complete newbie but determined to keep clearing out the 'stuff' SO handy to keep in mind when I'm shopping :)

      Thanks for taking the time to comment xx

  2. I'm about to move house (country in fact!) and it really makes you think about your possessions and what's important to you. Is this item so important that you want to lug it to another country and have it sat in another cupboard / box / wardrobe where you never touch it again?! Trying to streamline and giving lots away has been the order of the day. The book sounds really interesting, I know a tidy desk is a tidy mind but taking it that one step further and removing baggage from your life making you happier is something I hadn't thought of before.

    1. Well it's not a hard back book so it's perfect for a move 😉 I'm going to try reading books and then passing them on because I know what you mean about them stock piling and sitting in cupboards. We just accumulate so much stuff don't we!
      Good luck with your move sounds like you've got exciting changes ahead! Thanks so much for your comment x x

  3. Hi there, I am 62 years old and confess that I am a hoarder of sorts. I emotionally keep things from my deceased mother,father, aunt's, and sister. I have them displayed and when I see them, they spark sweet memories. I also have kept many of my two childrens keepsakes. I do also have many of their things packed away.

    My daughter and son have become minimalist's. They have already told me that I need to declutter and get rid of a lot of this sentimental stuff.
    They have told me that they do not want it when I am gone.
    I have been trying to get rid of stuff. It is overwhelming. It does break my heart that they don't want some things.
    I am trying to educate myself on minimalism. It is very new to me and my husband.
    I know having less would be less work for us. It is just getting there!!!

    1. Oh goodness it must be hard to part with things that have emotional attachments. My Dad is the same, he's kept all sorts of things from my childhood and will randomly appear out of the attic with something he's squirrelled away.
      I think bit by bit is the key. Slowly clearing things as and when you feel ready gets my vote.

      I'd love for you to read this memoir, it might be really useful for you. If you email me at notyourninetofive@outlook.com I'll sort out popping it in the post to you
      Elaine x


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