The Joy of Less

Reading books about simplifying and decluttering can be a great way to get ideas and boost enthusiasm. One of my favourite books on the topic of decluttering is The Joy of Less, A Minimalists Guide: How to Declutter, Organise and Simplify Your Life, by Francine Jay.

Francine is probably best known for her blog Miss Minimalist in which she shares tips about living a minimalist lifestyle. Her writing has a lovely light and joyful quality to it; she is a great example of someone who truly enjoys living with fewer possessions. Don’t be frightened off by the “minimalist” tag. Her work contains fantastic tips for anyone interested in a decluttering project. As Francine herself would say, you can decide for yourself how much is enough or too much.

The book starts with an overview of Francine’s philosophy about stuff. She puts the point of view that less stuff means less stress and more freedom, and explores “The Joy of Enough”.

The next section called “Streamline” gives practical tips for approaching the decluttering process. She recommends choosing an area to work on, such as a wardrobe, a cupboard or room, then removing everything. This process allows you to “Start Over” by deciding what you want to keep and return to its rightful place, rather than just picking what you want to remove.

I find her explanation of zones a very useful concept. The Inner Circle is the place where you keep frequently used items, which need to be accessible without too much stretching or bending. She gives the example of your toothbrush, or dishwashing liquid.  The Outer Circle is for things that are not used so often. These can go in places that are more difficult to reach such as the tops of cupboards. This might include back up toiletries and cleaning supplies. Deep Storage, which is typically outside the living space, is for things that you rarely need to access or use seasonally. An example would be placing the Christmas tree, or tax returns the garage or storeroom.

Next is a section that applies the Streamline principles room by room. This section is very detailed, zooming in on the specific issues that typically crop up in each area of the house. Referring to a chapter on a particular room can be a great boost if you are feeling stuck or overwhelmed with a specific project.

The last section talks about Lifestyle. One chapter deals with simplifying your schedule, applying the concept of living simply to the way we manage our time. The final chapter considers how living more simply furthers the “greater good” by limiting our use of the world’s resources.

This is a great book for people who feel ready for a decluttering and simplifying project, but need some ideas about how to go about it.

The links to the book are affiliate links with Australian online store Booktopia. A small percentage of the purchase price is paid to Live Light if you buy the book through this link.

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