The Joy of Less: A Book Review

Less, less, less. 2017 is all about less. Less clutter, less nonsense, less of what no longer serves a purpose.

The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify by Francine Jay was a book that I was super excited to delve into because I had heard quite a bit about her in the minimalist circles and her book lived up to the hype!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚


Can we just pause and give thanks for libraries? Because seriously, without them I would be lost! โ™ฅ

So back to the book… the author Francine Jay runs the popular website and her book is chock full of awesome tidbits. I really love how she opens the book with the term “philosophy”. We have to change our mindset and change our relationship with stuff in order for this whole minimalism thingย and life without excess to work. Our stuff exists to serve us, not the other way around.

“A container is most valuable when it is empty. We can’t enjoy fresh coffee when old grounds are in our cup and we can’t showcase our garden’s blooms when wilted flowers fill the vase. Similarly, when our homes -the containers of our daily lives- are overflowing with clutter, our souls take a backseat to our stuff”. – Francine Jay

Ms. Jay had an interesting passage in the book about “aspirational stuff”. Basically these are items that we bought to impress others or indulge in our “fantasy selves”. You know, the one who is 20 pounds thinner, the one who has fabulous cocktail parties, the one who, well…you get it. Human beings have a tendency to acquire many of their possessions in order to project a certain image. Clothes, cars, etc… Ready for some minimalistic truth?

Products will never make us into something we are not.

High-five, Ms. Jay. High-five.

Less stuff equals less stress and I completely agree. In the book, it is pointed out that:

  • We stress about not having stuff.
  • We stress about how to acquire the thing we want.
  • We buy the thing and now have to be responsible for it and take care of it.
  • Then the item inevitably breaks and now we are stressed about our broken item and now… THE WHOLE PROCESS STARTS ALL OVER AGAIN.

Ugh, what a cycle!

Less stuff equals more freedom. Things can be anchors and tie us down. They keep us from exploring new interests and developing new talents. They can drain our energy and sense of adventure.

“Too much clutter can weigh on our spirits. It is like all those items have their own gravitational field and are constantly pulling us down and holding us back. We can literally feel heavy and lethargic in a cluttered room, too tired and lazy to get up and accomplish anything”. – Francine Jay

We want to be able to actually enjoy and live our life, right? Living simply, buying only what we truly need, and learn the joy of having enough.

Other brilliant tidbits:

  • Life is the space between our things.
  • We need space for our ideas and thoughts- a cluttered room usually leads to a cluttered mind.
  • By creating space in our homes, we put the focus back whereย it should be: on what we do, rather than what we own.
  • When we clear our homes of all the excess stuff, we can devote our space, time, and energy to the people we love.

Friends, I really loved this book and I recommend it to anyone looking to start their minimalist/decluttering journey and I also recommend it to those of you already well on your way in your simplifying journey. My point is, this book is for EVERYONE!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

“When we become minimalists, we strip away all the excess to uncover our true selves. We take the time to contemplate who we are, what we find important, and what truly makes us happy”. – Francine Jay

What truly makes us happy…that sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?ย  ๐Ÿ™‚


8 thoughts on “The Joy of Less: A Book Review

  1. Sounds like a great book, Mackenzie! I most definitely have (and if I’m being honest still do to a lesser extent) buy things to impress others or create an image of myself that isn’t really me but what I want others to think I am. Some days I struggle with minimalism because I want things! And then I remember that real minimalism isn’t about not having things, it is about having the things that you truly want and nourish your soul. Adding it to my TBR!

    And yes – libraries are amazing! I wouldn’t be able to read so many books without it.


    • Yup! I think that is one of the biggest misconceptions about minimalism: that you must own barely nothing and everything in your space is stark white! Lol ๐Ÿ™‚ It concerns having what truly matters to you and you value it and it is meaningful.

      I think you would really like this book Tanya!


  2. I remember being completely mindblown on first reading the concept of surrounding yourself with what is necessary for who you are right now – not past you, not hopeful future you, not the you that you think your coworkers like, and so on. And then my mind was blown further by realizing this doesn’t mean just stuff, but people.

    Especially the phrase aspirational clutter. It’s powerful in its simplicity and permission to relieve ourselves of that burden.

    This book has been on my to read list for a long time! I devoured her blog a couple of years ago so it’s about time I check my library again ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Pingback: When Organizing Stops Working | organicbutterflyblog

  4. Pingback: Minimizing: Wardrobe Declutter | organicbutterflyblog

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