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

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  2,265 ratings  ·  289 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
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 StrobelWalden by Henry David ThoreauThe 100 Thing Challenge by Dave BrunoThe Power Of Less by Leo BabautaThe Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide by Francine Jay
Simple Living
5th out of 34 books — 16 voters
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie KondoZero Waste Home by Bea JohnsonEverything That Remains by Joshua Fields MillburnSimplify by Joshua BeckerThe Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide by Francine Jay
5th out of 43 books — 12 voters

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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
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
Mina Soare
One could be blind and still unlikely to completely avoid all the marketing geared to make us think that it is wrong to not want more, probably the influence of a culture with a long history of people always having less than they need.

For those already of a pragmatic bent, this can be one of the pillars of their philosophy. For those strongly attached to their stuff, it has the required arguments, but lacks persuasive power. If you get this book, consider the fit. Few will ever concede anything
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
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
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
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
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,
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
After reading and enjoying Marie Kondo's 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' and Tolstoy's writings on living simply and consciously, I was inspired to get rid of most of my possessions and only keep things I truly need. This book has inspired me to continue on a minimalist path and I have seen an incredible change in my life - particularly in having so much more time to spend seeing family, working on my painting and getting out in nature.
I was particularly blown away by Francine Jay's fi
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?)
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
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!
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
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
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.
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
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
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
"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
Diana Barrick
I own it in Kindle format. Another book in my non-minimalist collection on minimalism. I like the author's approach to having a formula for decluttering... even though I would never remember the words that are associated with anacronym STREAMLINE unless I actually studied them or, gasp!, put them into practice while actually decluttering. After years of "going minimal," there is actually little to declutter in my home, but rather just basic upkeep from time to time. I appreciated the reminder to ...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
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
A good book if you are starting to think about a minimalist lifestyle. We are already halfway through our journey so a lot of the book no longer applied. Still, as an introduction, it is a good book.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
This book would have been better if I had not done other reading on minimalism and decluttering prior to reading it. It contained a lot of common sense reminders and was very repetitive with the description of the "streamline" approach in every chapter. I found that the farther I got into the book the more I was just skimming it for any new ideas it might have contained. The best part was the beginning of the book and the introduction to the minimalist mindset...After that the rest was something ...more
"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
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Goodreads Librari...: Need Super Librarian to Fix 2 21 Jan 30, 2013 08:27AM  
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Francine Jay pioneered the minimalist living movement with her blog,, 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.” 3 likes
“Remember, the things with which we choose to surround ourselves tell our story. Let’s hope it’s not “I choose to live in the past,” or “I can’t finish the projects I start.” Instead, let’s aim for something like, “I live lightly and gracefully, with only the objects I find functional or beautiful.” 3 likes
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