The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life
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The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,344 ratings  ·  219 reviews
Having less stuff is the key to happiness.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed, instead of overjoyed, by all your possessions? Do you secretly wish a gale force wind would blow the clutter from your home? If so, it's time to simplify your life!

The Joy of Less is a fun, lighthearted guide to minimalist living. Part One provides an inspirational pep talk on the joys and rewards of...more
Kindle Edition, 298 pages
Published June 25th 2010 by Anja Press
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You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap) by Tammy StrobelThe 100 Thing Challenge by Dave BrunoThe Big Tiny by Dee  WilliamsThe Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life by Leo Babauta50 Best Ways to Simplify Your Life by Patrick Fanning
Simple Living
13th out of 28 books — 6 voters
Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie MorgensternStuff by Randy O. FrostEat That Frog! by Brian TracyClear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen KingstonClutter's Last Stand by Don Aslett
Best Organizing Resources
48th out of 63 books — 34 voters


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Cayenne
This was a great reminder of a lot of things I already knew, but it also helped me gain a new philosophy about owning things. It renewed my motivation to organize and reduce, but it also helped me take it to a new level, such as helping me feel less guilty about getting rid of things I might "need someday" or increasing the value of empty space. She mentioned several times the freedom one felt in college when possessions were few and focus was more on doing rather than on owning. Yet, she encour...more
Todd Nemet

I really wanted to buy this book in physical form, despite the barbaric nature of not reading on a Kindle, because I figured it would be the kind of book that I would loan or give away to someone else. But after several months of trying to find it, even braving the dread Self Help section, I gave up and downloaded it.

This is a very good and practical book for anyone who wants to declutter or streamline their life. And who doesn't? Conveniently, the first letter of each step actually spells out t...more
Colleen Wainwright
While I have a soft spot for Brooks Palmer's approach to clutterbusting and a preference for the confident, easy good humor of Peter Walsh's writing, I was bowled over by the sheer quantity of useful information in this book. The author has come up with a 10-step method for handling the knotty problem of reducing stressful clutter, with the clever acronym "STREAMLINE". After a quick setup section on why clutter is (probably) a problem for you, she spends one full section breaking down the steps,...more
Darla
just from the opening, I'm getting a whole lot of inspiration to start moving out "stuff"...starting with (gasp, dare I say it) passels of books. More & more is available in electronic form. Why do I hold on to so many? Answers will vary.

~ OK, I'm about half way through & I rather feel like I'm stuck in the corner of a party listening to a chatter box rattle off everything she knows about minimizing without taking a breath! Obviously, minimizing word usage is not on her list of to-dos. P...more
Lisa
The good thing about moving last year from a single family home to a one bedroom apartment was purging. I rid myself of much of my belongings, things still taped up in boxes from the last move six years ago. A family member helped with purging and another with finding a company to pick up everything and give as much of it to charitable organizations or recycling centers. I've never been frivolous with money (well, maybe as kid/teen) and I was amazed by how much unused stuff I had.

I've retained t...more
L
Some really great concepts on how to minimize and declutter in this book. I really liked it and I'm going to apply a lot of her tips and suggestions in my life.

The writing was not stellar. Francine Jay is way too verbose and repetitive. It seems like she is a minimalist with everything but words! She starts off with some general principles and explanation of her perspective, and then goes room by room to further explain the concepts. I liked the room by room section and enjoyed the examples, but...more
Lia
I really liked the opening chapters with the philosophy of minimalism. They gave a good foundation and got me ready to move into the book and get something new, I hoped. The STREAMLINE acronym chapters were good. I liked the concepts underlying the "system." Here's what STREAMLINE stands for:

Start Over (empty the drawer, cupboard, room, and start from scratch)
Trash, Treasure, or Transfer (separate the items, and determine what you truly treasure)
Reason for Each Item (why do you have it?)
Everythi...more
Suzanne
Full disclosure: I'm not an aspiring minimalist. I read this to get inspired to reorganize some areas of our home.

The basic strategies for reducing the amount of stuff you have are solid, but overall, I found the philosophy too aggressive and the author's tone annoying and overly chirpy. (So many exclamation points!) It's very self-helpy, too. Minimalism = happiness. Less stuff = more joy. I know it feels great to rid yourself of clutter, but something about her presentation felt shallow to me,...more
Sara
I read this book at the suggestion of a friend whose opinion I value. We are both interested in adopting more of a minimalist life style as part of our general commitment to environmental values. Like him, I seek to live more lightly on the earth these days.

Unfortunately, this book has its ups and downs. It certainly is a guide to decluttering and organizing, I'll give it that. What it isn't is a guide to truly reducing one's footprint and learning how to minimize one's impact through truly env...more
Kate
For being a book about minimalist living, this book seemed to have a lot of redundancy. The concept of simple living just lands a little flat when stripped of the connection to stewardship of God's world and resources. Jay had some good ideas, but most of what she shared was common sense. I also felt that many of her approaches were strictly selfish in nature. For example, she suggests only having enough dinnerware for the number of people living in the home, which leaves no room for valuing hos...more
Stacey Lemire
This book contains some excellent ideas and strategies for paring down the amount of clutter in your life. The decluttering principles really aren't very different from other organizing books I have read, but the philosophy is more pronounced here: live simpler and better with fewer things to care for.

As other reviews have noted, parts of the book were repetitive, especially the word choice. I'm pretty sure I've never read the word "tchotchkes" so many times in my life. Judicious application of...more
Heather
Lots of great information that seems like it will be pretty easy to implement. I like that she laid out everything very simply and didn't go into information/detail overkill. This is the first book I've read on simplifying, and it really helped to get my mindset where it needs to be to let the decluttering and freeing begin. Can't wait to put her tips and ideas into practice!
Christine
The first part of "The Joy of Less" is brilliant and inspiring. Jay outlines a process for working through one's clutter, a room or a drawer at a time, and winnowing out the unnecessary, unused, and/or un-beautiful. I read "Joy of Less" during a traumatic moving experience and it helped me create a huge pile for curbside pickup, 30 boxes for charitable donation pickup, and about 20 boxes of book donations. I have been successful (mostly) in keeping almost everything off my kitchen and bathroom c...more
Emily
I loved this book. I think it's a book I should re-read every few years.

This booked helped me look at my possessions in a new light, to value what's truly important to me, and not feel guilty about getting rid of things that were given to me many years ago or items I might "need someday." Now that I have empty space in my closets and cupboards, I love it! For the first time, I felt no guilt giving away 12 year old wedding gifts that we haven't used once. I'm grateful to send them away so someone...more
Sharlene
So, I read most of the first section and skimmed the next two. I like it enough that I want to check it out of the library again and read it more thoroughly, but dislike it for this same reason.

I love the idea of the book, which is why I picked it up. The author does a great job convincing us that more is not better. I don't, however, feel I needed the convincing. I already agree with so much of this. I think that the type of people who pick this book up will find she is preaching to the choir....more
Maya
I'm ready to start clearing out our house after reading this book. It's not like those organizational books that tell you to go buy fancy containers and reorganize your stuff, instead Jay tells you how to decrease the amount of stuff you own and how simplifying can make you less stressed and in less debt. She says that each thing we own "should make a positive contribution to your household."

Jay first dives into the idea of stuff and how we accumulate it. She divides our things into useful stuff...more
Tina
This would be a true 5 star book – if not fort he last chapters…

To my mother’s disappointment, I am not a very tidy person. Though I have no hoarding tendencies, I am a collector of sorts. While I seldom collected anything for the sake of it, I find myself saving things I might put to good use at some point or objects which are in perfectly good shape, so it would be an awful waste to throw them away. It can’t hurt to store a few more towels in the closet, can it? Who knows if a soccer team will...more
Emily
I'm giving this 4 stars for the beginning section alone, since I agree with some other reviewers that the room-by-room section got overly repetitive. I've read a few books on decluttering, and everyone seems to take a slightly different psychological and philosophical approach, however, I think that "The Joy of Less" has done the most to shift my perspective. Francine Jay introduces a few "exercises", such as the old "what would you bring with you if your house was burning down?" But what I foun...more
Terry
"In 99% of the stuff we do, perfection is superfluous. It's not necessary, not expected, and likely won't be noticed or appreciated. So here we are, devoting extra time and effort to making everything just so - and nobody cares. It's actually a wonderful realization; because when we stop striving for perfection, we get our stuff done faster, and with greater ease. We fly through our to-do lists in half the time, and the world keeps on turning." Very insightful.

The ideas on cleaning out your hou...more
Jennifer Garoutte
I love this book and have read it twice since purchasing it a few months ago. The author gives very persuasive reasons and guidance in simplifying life without preaching or being pushy about what one should and should not do. So many times she seemed to be inside my head as my mind raced with "buts" and "whatifs" and swiftly countered those abstract fears with calm reassurance and logic. Whenever I find myself falling back into the rut of old excuses, habits, and thought patterns, I hop on the i...more
Aurelija
This book is really good at moving the less obvious clutter out of your life. It asks questions that I personally didn't think of, and targets the areas that are clutter because I never stopped to consider why I had it in the first place. Nothing is to be taken for granted; it's aimed at a shift in concepts and perception, not just behavior.
It does, however, get quite repetitive as it rehashes the STREAMLINE system for every room in the house; even the language and expressions are recycled - it...more
Beth
I really enjoyed this book by a blogger - "Miss Minimalist." I've read a few other books on downsizing, reducing clutter, etc. and this one is my favorite. The author gives similar tips to others (create piles of things to trash, donate, or keep), but she does more than many other authors to really make you think about why you're keeping all this stuff, and how much is enough. She has some suggestions for streamlining your schedule and working more efficiently as well. I'd love to see her house...more
Jen
Truth be told, I skipped most of the middle of the book. The first part was great, the last part was great, the middle was repetitive for each section of your house. I get it, de-clutter, take everything out, give away, throw away, sell. I don't need it explained for my living room, kitchen, and bedroom. I get it. That being said, if one is new to minimalism and hasn't read much else, it could be REALLY helpful! I certainly wouldn't pass it up as a read, it was just due at the library and I had...more
Christy
"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

This is a great book from the writer of the `Miss Minimalist' blog (and NOT a reprint of what appears online).

This book is in four parts: Philosophy, Streamline, Room by Room and Lifestyle. In Philosophy, she introduces the concept of minimalism and asks the reader to think about our possessions and the value we attach to them: Are we defined by what we own? How much is enough to possess...more
Sanz
As an aspiring minimalist, this book impacted me greatly and furthered my convictions.

Part One explores the philosophy of minimalism:
"Becoming minimalists puts us in control of our stuff. We reclaim our space, and restore function and potential to our homes. We remake our houses into open, airy, receptive containers for the substance of our lives."

Part two outlines a 10 step approach to decluttering: STREAMLINE. A lot of the content of this section wasn't anything new to me, but a good reminde...more
L
The things you own end up owning you. This book is much more than just eliminate clutter by throwing/donating your material possessions. It's about creating a life that is open to new experiences and giving room to focus on the things that really matter in life. The first section focuses on the philosophy of living a minimalistic lifestyle including detaching oneself from stuff, finding the freedom to move and do with less stuff, and finding contentment within. The second section offers practica...more
Tanja
I read this book in preparation for a massive declutter/clean-up planned for my tiny but overflowing flat.

It did have some redundant info in it, which I read about before starting so I felt prepared. I like the enthusiasm and kindness of the book. The 10-step STREAMLINE process sounds very attractive to try out (I'll add my experience with it as soon as I've tried it out).

Part three of the book mostly consists of redundant parts, however, I do not mind. It goes through the most common rooms acc...more
Andrea
Jul 26, 2012 Andrea is currently reading it
Best idea I've gotten from this book so far:

Instead of looking at your stuff and asking what you can get rid of, pick out the things that you treasure and then consider getting rid of everything else. I tried this on a bookcase and went from 2-3 books that I could get rid of to 2 big boxes full.
Kathy
Minimalist living is trendy now. And I love the concept in principal . But this lady is over the top. No couch? Really? She is one end of the continuum with extreme hoarding being the other end. Both belong in the DSM-V manual!
Lindsey
Perhaps I'm more of a minimalist than I thought, as much of the principles in this book I already practice/attempt. Other philosophies of the author seemed far too extreme or even unreasonable to me (ie reducing number of kitchen dishes to 4 servings, or why buy exercise equipment when you can go to the gym?!?!). I have no desire to be an extreme minimalist at the expense of convenience. That being said, I do feel better about, and am making an effort to, rid the "stuff" I was holding onto for t...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Need Super Librarian to Fix 2 19 Jan 30, 2013 08:27AM  
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Francine Jay pioneered the minimalist living movement with her blog, MissMinimalist.com, and her book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life. In 2009, she and her husband sold their house, and all their possessions, and moved overseas with one suitcase each. After three years as a world-traveling digital nomad, she’s now applying her minimal...more
More about Francine Jay...
Miss Minimalist: Inspiration to Downsize, Declutter, and Simplify Frugillionaire: 500 Fabulous Ways to Live Richly and Save a Fortune

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“We are not what we own; we are what we do, what we think and who we love.” 0 likes
“abundance in our lives, and appreciate what we have, we will not want for more. We simply need to focus on what we have, rather than what we don’t have.” 0 likes
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