A Maximalist Lives Here **giveaway**

by Julie, summering in Somerville

What do you notice about this picture?

My books for one, all ten. More on that later. Also:

  • Wooden JH’s glued to the bookends.
  • To the right, mini canopic jars, souvenirs from a trip to Egypt
  • A German beer stein, a souvenir from a trip to Germany
  • A movie poster from my favorite movie of all time

What do you also see?

The house of a maximalist.

It took me a long time to embrace this about myself. I bought Marie Kondo’s book, and watched her on Netflix. I did an online course on minimalism. I dreamed of white walls, streamlined furniture, and uncluttered surfaces.

But then I realized none of those things would make me happy. Family photos, my bobbleheads, dozens (hundreds?) of books, walls covered with art, a full craft closet, scarves that I’ll never wear but my grandmother did, the cards my nieces and nephews made me over the years, notebooks full of scribblings–these are the things that make me happy. A friend helped me realize I was a maximalist.

From maximalist to scary is a short jump, but let me clarify the difference. I go through my belongings, and try to pare down on a regular basis. I take great joy in displaying them. I have yet to rent a storage space for overflow. I do keep what give me joy.

I’m embracing my maximalism these days, but am getting rid of things when I can. That includes ARCs of The Plot Thickets, the next Garden Squad mystery!

Readers, weigh in below on whether you are a maximalist or minimalist below. I’ll draw three names on Sunday and send each person an ARC of The Plot Thickets. Sorry, for mailing they’ll be US only. However, the book is also available on Netgalley!

About The Plot Thickets

With spring’s arrival in Goosebush, Lilly and the Beautification Committee turn their eyes to new projects. A cleanup of the historic Goosebush Cemetery may be in order, after Lilly and Delia find the plots there sorely neglected and inexplicably rearranged. Lilly soon discovers that Whitney Dunne-Bradford snapped up custodianship of the graveyard once she inherited Bradford Funeral Homes. But before Lilly can get to the bottom of the tombstone tampering, she stumbles upon Whitney’s body at the Jayne family mausoleum . . .

Though at first it appears Whitney died by suicide, Lilly has doubts, and apparently, so does Chief of Police Bash Haywood, who quickly opens a murder investigation. Plenty of folks in town had bones to pick with Whitney, including her stepdaughter, Sasha, and funeral home employee, Dewey Marsh—all three recently charged with illegal business practices. But when the homicide inquiry suddenly targets an old friend, Lilly and the Garden Squad must rally to exhume the truth before the real killer buries it forever . . .

73 Thoughts

  1. I am a maximalist and I embrace my organized clutter. It all has great sentimental and personal value and meaning to me. Also, you can NEVER have too many books!!

  2. I want to be a minimalist except when it comes to books. I like to purchase just what we need plus have backups for hurricane season. My husband is an online shopaholic. He has more stuff and a lot of it is still in the package, it drives me nuts. We don’t even have the space to put all the stuff/junk he buys. Thank you for this chance at your giveaway! pgenest57 at aol dot com

  3. I’m a maxilmilist but I wish I was somewhere in between. I have way too many books and craft supplies but they’re all important to me.

  4. I too am a maximalist – I am sentimental like you are. I do love to organize spaces though, so donate as much as possible… my husband though? Well, that’s another story….

  5. My 2 sons will thank me one day (which I like to remind them occasionally) that I am a minimalist! I clean houses and the last thing I want to do is dust any tchotchkes at home! Have the series and would love the new book! Thank you.

  6. Maximalist! But it seems to find me! I have streamed down once but I always seem to collect more or need more or it somehow finds its way to me. Even in the smaller space I live in now. Then I become obsessed with reorganizing everything. Ironically, it doesn’t overwhelm me! I am looking forward to The Plot Thickens and the Garden Squad!

  7. I’m more of a maximalist, though I am trying to at least slowly reduce the amount of “stuff” I have.

  8. I’m a maximalist when it comes to my books. I do weed out books from time to time because I don’t have enough space to keep them all, but it’s hard for me to do. Some of them are much loved and/or have memories attached – how could I get rid of those?

  9. I’m a “practicalist!” Making the move from the McMansion to loft living in the country (a converted 100-plus-year-old building on the Main Street of a small town) forced us to declutter, not once, but several times, and we’re still working on it. Like others, an enormous collection of books challenged us, and I still miss some I gave away. Now, the practicalist has me deep diving into my digital library. Likewise, I keep my desk devoid of paper, going 100% digital (but backed up multiple places).

    1. The move sounds wonderful, and a great opportunity to streamline. I’m working on going 100% digital for paper–what a difference that will make. Though I will admit, while editing I need to use paper for the final draft. There’s something about pen to paper…

  10. I would say I’m a mid-maximalist! I love my treasures, like you, but do pare down frequently. My husband is retired military, so it would be impossible to be a full maximalist lol!

  11. Think I was a full fledged maximalist turned to a half way maximalist. The best way to explain that is 5 years ago and before we collected everything from antiques to dust. In fact, I could probably tell you faster what we didn’t collect than what we did. Plus we had inherited “stuff” from my parents and in turn from my grandparents that they had inherited. The problem was we had the room so why not keep it all.

    Five years ago we sold out and moved to our dream destination. We built our retirement home for us with no regard to resale value. Getting older, I was tired of trying to get ahead of the dust bunnies. So we took a good look at our “stuff”, decided what we really loved and what had real emotional pull to us and the rest went. It was sold, given away or thrashed. We built a home with ONE huge closet in a one bedroom home spending the money on the hardwood floors and granite cabinet tops we had always ways we wished we had instead of the extra square footage that just sat empty 99% of the time other than to a place to hide “stuff”.

    Now mind you we still have our favorite things on desks, curios and table tops, our walls hold our favorite pictures of precious memories and fun things and I still have things from my parents and grandparents. It’s only that we have what we really loved and not because it once belonged to someone. It’s just with limited space now if something comes in more than likely it means something will have to go out making new purchases made with a lot of thought instead of on impulse.

    Regardless of where you are on the scale, as long as it brings you happiness and it hurts no one else (and doesn’t make you a hoarder) then I say go for it. Life is too short to not be happy – especially in your own home.

    Would love the opportunity to read “The Plot Thickets”! As with all the books I read, I’m always happy to review it and share that review in order to spread the word. Thank you for the chance to win a copy!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  12. I think I come down somewhere in the middle. I don’t like clutter, but I like my collections – books, my grandmother’s teacups, stuff that has meaning.

  13. Maximalists UNITE! I have lots of stuff saved from my family farm. Crocks. A mantle clock that doesn’t work but is beautiful and fills me with joy and memories. Jelly glasses from Grandma’s kitchen. My great aunt’s crystal candlesticks. A pitcher and bowl with a matching chamber pot, all from the now gone farmhouse. Even a hand-carved wooden grain shovel, which I remember from the barn. And yes, more than a few books of my own. There is no way I could go minimalist.

  14. I’m a maximalist who lives with a minimalist — so he says although his office says otherwise. But it does mean there are less pictures on the walls than there would be if I lived here alone. My office is the exception picture wise.

  15. I’m a maximalist, living (neatly) in a studio! What helps is very little furniture so no feeling of clutter which I avoid, and keeps the studio looking spacious! I have lots of books (shelved and stacked imaginatively!) which I’ve saved over the years, donating others; about eighty journals (I love to write); framed family pictures; lots of clothes, all of which made a difference during the beginning of the pandemic – I didn’t need anything while I stayed home!
    I still have books, classics and philosophy, that belonged to my grandfather; Longfellow’s Poems, a gift from my grandmother when I was 13; and a bound collection of magazines on art and current events 1909-1910, that my great grandmother gave me (she would say those years were the best).
    Then there are the knickknacks which are more than that for me: a set of demitasse spoons (gift from my sister), a tiny set of porcelain Japanese bowls (gift from my mother), a tiny alabaster duck (gift from my nephew when about 12 who bought it on a trip to northwest Argentina), a small gilt painted plaster angel (painted and gifted by my eldest niece). Memories attached to all.
    A box of Victoria magazines, with the older issues having photos by a brilliant Japanese photographer. A small collection of teapots, among them one gifted to me by a friend which she brought from her trip to China, another that I purchased at a folklife festival 20 years ago, made in Uzbekistan.
    I’ve given away things over the years but they are mostly what I bought, with some exceptions. I am a sentimental maximilist, like saving a set of resin butterflies, a dragonfly, from a collection called One Enchanted Evening, which I bought while temping for nine years! The figures are very cute -a dragonfly reading a book of poems, one butterfly in a dress and hat with a tiny handbag… They made me smile then and lightened my heart (and still do) until I found the best job I could have imagined.
    One can live and manage without these things but they give color and texture to memories and moments.

  16. I don’t like too much clutter but am pretty much a maximalist. I think that’s what happens when you’ve spent over 20 years in the same house!

  17. Definitely a maximalist! I do work at decluttering, donating bags & boxes of excess stuff on a regular basis. The two biggest culprits are books & yarn stash, trying to sort & cut down there too. But…that doesn’t stop me from getting more!

  18. I’m sure I’m a maximalist, I like my stuff! Some remind me of a particular time or event, some given to me by someone special. Sure I have a lot of yarn but I’m going to use it to make something and maybe give it as a gift so that shouldn’t count right? (Lol) And books are a must.

    1. I’m definitely a maximalist! I have a love for books and boy, I have a lot. My husband was sweet enough to build me a bookshelf for my lovely books! I do weed some out and donate or give to family and friends. Some books I just can’t part with!

      Thanks for the chance!

  19. Congratulations on the new book! I’ve tried decluttering, but gave it up because it never fails that a while later, I’ll need something and think, Darn, I gave that away.

  20. I’m a maximalist. However, I’m on the way to scary out of control. Need to pull it back some. (My ARC is on the way, so no need to add me to the drawing.)

  21. I’m on the side of being a maximalist. It makes me happy to see and touch things that belonged to my mother, grandparents, and some dear friends. And to have art I love on the walls and a few stacks of TBR books upstairs and down. I know I need to declutter more often, but these things make a house a home.

  22. I am absolutely a maximalist. I have my grandmother’s set of Pyrex mixing bowls. I don’t use them because I know me, they would get broke in a heartbeat. No room to display so they are packed up. I could easily sell them for $80 or more, but I refuse. Then there’s the Corning dishes, enough for 3 households, but I refuse to part with them. And there’s so much more stuff.

  23. I hate clutter and overstuffed closets/cabinets, so I am constantly going through them and getting rid of stuff. Having said that, I still have plenty of “things”. My office/museum is stuffed to the gills of travel memorabilia. Every bit of wall space is used and in many cases doubled up. I’m trying to go through books and reading the ones “I will get to someday” and then passing them on. I still have some family treasures, but I passed on the ones to my daughter the things she wants, and got rid of the rest. There is no one after her who wants any of this stuff. So, I”m trying to give them to people now. Many years ago, my daughter asked me to please get rid of anything no longer wanted/needed so she wouldn’t have so much to deal with when I die. Having cleaned out my mother’s house, I fully understand.

  24. I am a maximalist but not to the extent of being a hoarder. I have a lot of things on my shelves (including books) and tables that I have to dust. But each one is special for one reason or another. I have a lot of framed pictures on my walls and shelves and tables. Each one makes me smile everytime I see or touch it. I get sentimental over the memories and often wish the subject of the photos was still here but in a way they are because every time I see the picture it evokes a memory. In that way, they are always there.

  25. I’m a maximalist with vacation treasures and gifts from family and friends. Otherwise, I am always trying to declutter. Thanks for the chance and congrats on your latest book!

  26. I’m definitely a maximalist. Good thing books aren’t considered clutter! I’ve been decluttering a little at a time, but it’s not as easy as it looks. I.have to be in the right mindset when I’m tackling that project.

  27. What I see in that picture is someone who loves books, wine, old pictures, someone who likes to have fun not clutter. Those are all good things to keep

  28. I’m a maximalist, but books don’t count, do they? I’ve been trying to declutter, but I have to be in the right mindset for that. Looking forward to reading you latest book.

  29. I see all your wonderful books!!!🥰
    The older I get I say I’m a Maximalist for sure.
    Thank you for your giveaway!!!

  30. I am a maximalist. At this time, we live in my childhood home. My Mom is now living in a nursing home under Hospice care. We have a house full of her things. At this time in my life, I am struggling with giving her things up. It is a project we have worked on, but have had to stop at various times. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

  31. I am definitely a maximalist, but I do try to cull things every so often. My sister and I had to clean out my mama and daddy’s house when they passed away and it definitely made me want to clean out a bit of my own stuff! I donate books from time to time snd share some with friends but I still have lots!!!!! I have mostly mysteries and childrens books. Love them all!!

  32. Oh, I fall smack dab in the middle! I can’t do clutter, but anyone walking into my office would shake their head. Shelves full of book, photos, mementos, yet my living area is fairly free of mess, a few treasures on table tops, and some family photos. After downsizing my parents home and then two apartments my mom lived in (and she was NOT a collector or saver of things) I realized I do not want anyone to suffer through 30 plus years of my detritus. Love my treasures and my books, but I am constantly paring things away.

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