A New Must-Read Book
Simple living can be the key to create a more fulfilling life. But it isn’t always easy to begin your journey, especially if you have a family. That’s where Brynne Burger comes in. You might know her as The Mama On the Rocks.
She is powerhouse extreme parenting guru and tiny home living advocate. What I really love about her writing is how down-to-earth it is and the practical advice. Brynne is a humble superhero. Let her help you end the chaos in your life with her decluttering guide. You might find it to be a less overwhelming version of Marie Kondo’s Magic of Tidying Up approach.
Learn more about Brynne in the below interview. I recently sat down with her to discuss her empowering new book, Simple Living RIGHT NOW.
AS: Brynn, you are an accomplished blog writer and public speaker with so much to share from your family’s experience living simply in a tiny home with extreme children. Did writing this book feel like a logical next step to further share your encouraging message of real-world intentional living? And what do you mean by extreme children and extreme parenting?
BB: Thank you so much, Alexis!
Yes, Simple Living Right Now is actually an answer to the countless questions I got last year while traveling and speaking about the benefits of simple living as a family. There seemed to be so many folks who were sold out for the idea of living tiny or of minimizing their consumption and organizing their ‘stuff’ but many didn’t know how.
Simple Living Right Now was born out of those meet and greet conversations with real moms and real families who wanted a sort of “next-steps” to simplifying their life. They already believed what I was preaching about life being about so much more than just paying our bills and dying but sometimes the “what next” can trip us up.
So I wrote this book in a span of three days because the ideas had been swirling around in my head for months. I wanted it to feel like a conversation over coffee and not another self-help book collecting dust on a bargain shelf somewhere. So this book talks about our personal journey towards simplification which--for us--is living tiny full time in our RV as a family of four.
Extreme children and extreme parenting felt like it had to be a part of the conversation in this book because it is really my husband and I’s why. We have two children--seven and nearly three--and our seven year old was first diagnosed at age 4 with severe, combined type ADHD. he has since added four more behavioral diagnoses to the list. So, I blog about extreme parenting being the type of parents whose job description should come with a hazmat suit and a helmet! It isn’t for the faint of heart, but children like our son are incredible minds whose brilliance--when given the space, freedom, and creativity offered by simple living--can thrive.
AS: I love that you’re offering an alternative to Marie Kondo’s big pile method to find what sparks joy. What is the “Rule of Five”?
BB: Well I joke on the back cover of my book that Simple Living Right Now is the decluttering book for those who don’t have time to pick up every item they own and hold it because that idea alone gives me anxiety. I think the concept of decluttering is fantastic and I am grateful it is finally catching on in our overly consumer-driven world. But I needed a method for real life; one that wouldn’t take me months to accomplish.
I developed The Rule of Five to solve that forever decluttering problem.
This is a simple approach with five easy-to-follow practical steps in each chapter which will walk you through every room in your home to help you rid yourself of the things that are no longer useful to you. Sometimes that means doing an experiment to see what items you use in your kitchen, and in another chapter it might mean us mamas finally parting ways with our pre-baby clothes. It is meant to be enjoyable and easy to manage while balancing regular life.
AS: Simple living isn’t always uncomplicated. What has helped your family make the big transition and reduce chaos?
BB: Well our family’s story is not common since we researched tiny living for a year and then thought we’d put our house on the market while we prepared only to have it sell the same day. That is why we are full-time RVers instead of tiny housers since we only had two weeks to move. However, the initial minimizing wasn’t difficult for some of us as it was for others.
We learned a lot from our young kids as letting go for them was easy because there was little sentimental attachment to things. That is one of my favorite things I talk about in the book is learning to let go. It is a common struggle for those looking to simplify.
AS: Your book comes with such great call-to-action. For someone looking to begin simplifying, what advice would give to help them make the first step?
BB: At the risk of self-promoting, BUY MY BOOK! But seriously. You don’t have to start big, but you do have to start.
In my blogs, speaking events, and personally I talk a lot about mental health and what it means to be an advocate. I speak candidly and vulnerably about my own struggles with anxiety as well as those our son faces with his behavior diagnoses.
Simplifying our way of life has made the biggest single impact on the improvement of our overall mental health and well-being because it reduces our constant over-stimulation. There are less options, choices, decorations, outfits, all of it. And simplifying these simple things can mean big benefits and incredible freedom to start living joyfully.
-Alexis Stephens, co-founder of Tiny House Expedition