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Lightly: How to Live a Simple, Serene, and Stress-free Life

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  929 ratings  ·  138 reviews
Life is weighing us down. Each day we add more possessions, more commitments, more worries, more stress to our lives. Striving for fulfillment, our closets become overstuffed, our calendars overscheduled, and our spirits overwhelmed. Instead of feeling happy, we just feel heavy.

Lightly offers help. Whether you want to strip down your life to a backpack or free up some spac
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published February 26th 2019)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  929 ratings  ·  138 reviews

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C.J. Maughan
Apr 12, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In the off-brand style of Marie Kondo comes "Lightly." There's no real organization to this book as the author explains early on. She imagines the book as something you throw in your (one! You only need one!) purse and pick up occasionally. But the book isn't really laid out like that and to be frank, its really not that interesting enough that I'd ever think about taking it with me.

The author seems insistent on her readers taking up as little of space as possible even going as far to suggest "
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At this point, writing a completely unique book about minimalism, decluttering, and living lightly seems like an impossible task.

Yes, Lightly is some what referential, but that is to be expected. What is unexpected is the philosophical depth of this book. Francine Jay manages to use religious and philosophical texts to demonstrate that living lightly is a practical, spiritual, and intellectual pursuit.

Jay is not preachy or judgemental. The book is deep, but also "light" and accessible.

I have rea
Allison Sauntry
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’d never qualify as a minimalist — I like things like shoes and purses too much — but I love reading about minimalism and find Francine Jay’s work very inspiring. Although I still like my “things,” reading books about minimalism has made me think more about buying with intention and not just buying for the sake of buying.
Rachel Pollock
I can't. This had promise, but it turns out to be a book on simplifying your life (great goal!) aimed at the kind of woman who buys $75 vagina-scented candles from Goop.

The author presumes a female reader (suggestion to weed out your closet: keep only dresses!) and an affluent one. Also, she assumes that the reader has living family in the same city with whom one might be on good enough terms to share various items on occasion. This kind of blindness kept giving me pause--I often found myself t
Panda Incognito
I decided to live a simple, serene, and stress-free life by lightly skimming this book instead of reading the whole thing. This manual to minimalist living is derivative, presumptive, and annoying, and I only made it to the end because I wanted to write a fully informed negative review about it.

The first half of this book shares the same kind of decluttering advice that I have already read elsewhere, and none of it is a sufficient improvement on the author's other writings to justify its publica
Hillary Rose
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a complete review, check out my Young Adult book blog:

As the subtitle implies, this book gives you tips on “how to live a simple, serene, & stress-free life” (oxford comma added because oxford commas are awesome). Jay addresses the heaviness of life that we all live with, and suggests a lighter way to go through life.

lighten your stuff
Eliminating the excess so that you can curate your things to match your needs.
lighten your step
Adopting some eco-friend
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stunning and So Good

Practical, philosophical, and practically perfect. This is, perhaps, one of the most important books I have read. A manual full of information so you can choose your own path.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you like self help books make this one your next read.

Applicable, modern and fitting to almost every age and life stage, it makes a great gift as well.

I don't want to give too much away, just read it yourself.

Highly recommended!
Sara Rauch
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gem of a book! Beautiful design, wonderfully written, and so inspiring.
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written, tiny book on living simply. Inspiring and calming and just as wonderful as her first book, The Joy of Less, and her blog.
Sarah Elizabeth
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great quick read. This was the first book I’ve read surrounding minimalism. I found it to be a great intro to the concepts. I will likely revisit it and check out her other book, the Joy if Less.
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A simple but beautiful need for when you need to be reminded of what truly matters.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Francine Jay's previous book, the Joy of Less, which is sort of a bible to minimalism. This book touches on many of the same themes. She covers decluttering and letting go of stuff, as well as lightening one's schedule, obligations, unplugging, buying less, letting go of ego, being kind, etc. Lots of her ideas are very simple yet sensible. I find all of her writing to be inspiring. ...more
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Lightly will be a new mantra for me when life feels heavy. One of my favorite quick reads.
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book is excellent. It is not just about home, although that is important. It's about inside and all around you. I really appreciated and enjoyed reading and I will pick it up AMD read relevant chapters as time goes on. ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Keep only those items that make your life easier or happier.

Eliminate anything that doesn't fit you or flatter you.

The best way to deal with sentimental things is to never let them settle in.

These objects are nice but not necessary to remember the special people, places and times of your life. Its the memories, not the mementos, that are magical.

Baking soda deodorizes, polishes and removes stains. add water to make a gently abrasive scouring powder that cleans pots, sinks, tubs and counter tops
Good book with several good advice about minimalism and calm life. Some of them works for me and I am surely trying out them. Some doesn't work for me and that's okay. I only take what I accept and agree with. Writing is good and I liked the structure of the book. ...more
Jun 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun if you find the concept useful. One-sided too though. For example the concept of “only buy things you truly need”, capsule wardrobe, etc totally ignores for a whole lot of people shopping is basically short-term self rewards. While saving up money to go on a vacation is great and going to museums in your own city is always fun, someone who only has one day to socialize will still need rewards for motivation. And some find that in shopping.

And the idea of a minimalist house is also too “will
Pixi Jo
Look you read this book, you won't come away psychologically scarred or horrified, it's just really that you won't come away with anything really, in fact you might feel a tad bit cheated that your psychology didn't get a shake up!

Also is it just me or does she really latch onto women as the prime evil of her book, needing the TLC and advice and such? I know we wimminy folk do tend to go into keeping house above & beyond most males, but I don't think you should alienate them all the same, poor f
This was a nice read to begin a year, a decade - and there were some thoughts and ideas that were intriguing, if not entirely practical. I know that I have tried - for some time - to pare down my possessions, and those that have been left behind by loved ones. That, of course, is the hard task: to strike a balance between sentimentality and practicality.

The author discusses ways to lighten your life and you can define that your way: is it your stuff getting in the way? or your lifestyle? your s
Amy Layton
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help, nonfiction
The more we have on the plate, the heavier it is.  Whether its stuff, commitments, relationships, work projects--it can sometimes be too much and be draining.  It seems hard, at first, to get rid of things, to declutter relationships and learning how to say "no".  But once you've got the knack for it, living lightly simply becomes a way of life.  

Think first to one's house: how many linens or towels do you have?  More than enough for you, a backup, and some for your guests?  How many cups and di
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women who want to be more mindful
This is my own fault for not reading the synopsis before starting this book, but I thought it would be more about minimalism and not so much about mindfulness. I picked this up because I really enjoyed Francine Jay's The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify and assumed this one would be similar. There is a section about stuff, but it's only small.
It's also very much aimed at women of a certain age and mothers, but that's fine because I just applied all the kid adv
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars, 2020
I think this book is hit or miss with lots of people but I think one should just take what they want from it, and leave the rest behind.

Whether tomorrow I still feel like I want to be mindful or not, today I cleared out my closet and organized my life a little. Not gonna lie, I feel pretty good. So thank you to this book haha!
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first section, Lighten Your Stuff, did not resonate with me as much as other organizational works have. But the rest of the sections, on "step" (impact), stress, spirit, all made some good points, and offered easy example tasks to get you started. ...more
Kelsey | Kipperblossom
I mostly just read this because the design is gorgeous
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Encapsulates much of my own philosophy on life, so she's basically preaching to the converted here, but I found it uplifting and inspiring anyway. ...more
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It was an okay book - nothing mind-blowing if you've read books on minimalism before. If it's the first book on minimalism that you want to read, it's definitely a good choice. Jay gives you a lot of actionable advice, which is always good. ...more
This book was beautifully written with practices I have not run across before such as: aparigraha. Much of what she writes about I already do, or try to do, yet her approach was gentle and written lightly!
Amanda Hunsberger
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing new, but I do enjoy a good minimalist read. I especially like Jay's thoughts on intangible ways to live lightly in areas such as schedules, emotions, reactions, stillness, thoughts, commitments, etc. ...more
Oct 24, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Total waste of time. There are better books on this topic. Try goodbye things.
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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

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