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

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  10,598 ratings  ·  1,020 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
Kindle Edition, 298 pages
Published June 25th 2010 by Anja Press
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  10,598 ratings  ·  1,020 reviews

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Val ⚓️ Shameless Non-Snowflake ⚓️
4 Stars

This was a solid book on Minimalism, a lifestyle I am becoming more and more in line with. The premise of only owning and keeping things that I need, use, or bring me joy seriously appeals to me. I have always hated clutter.

That said, I am not striving to be a strict or pure minimalist by any means. Rather, I see myself as merely what has been dubbed as a rational minimalist, meaning my goal is not to be a one pair of shoes owning, figurine-less psychopath with only two glass mason jars
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
There's nothing groundbreaking here, just a good reminder. My husband and I are purging and decluttering as we prepare to downsize.

There are a lot of good tips but nothing I haven't read before. But reading these types of books increases my resolve and helps my mindset stay positive. My favorite tip: as you purge, put everything that is in the "maybe" pile (the things you aren't quite ready to give up) in a box, tape it closed and put it in storage. If in one year you haven't opened the box, do
Dec 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 N
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle

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
Apr 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
300-pages long, exhaustingly repetitive book on how to simplify things. Oh, irony.
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,
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: simple-living
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
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 11, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Linsey Nancarrow
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
I found this book far too prescriptive, with the author assuming that her own path toward minimalism is the only way to do it - and assuming that her readers would share her priorities for deciding what to keep and what to let go of. For instance, telling you to only buy or keep simple classic clothes, assuming that you have no particular interest in fashion and disregarding the joy people may find in those impractical items that just make you smile when you wear them. And advising you to have a ...more
Sep 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
i needed a bit of a motivation to start cleaning again so in a way this book served its purpose but other than that... why was it so obviously directed at straight women in relationships? why was it so filled with gender stereotypes? why was it written as if the readers needed every little thing explained? honestly, we've all cleaned before, we're not that ignorant. ...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
I am already a minimalist. But the tone of this book was a bit much. Furthermore, I hate waste and the idea of just getting rid of things that could be used first seems so terrible for the environment and financially. When I became a minimalist I got rid of everything slowly by using things. I think this is a good approach.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf-self-help
Decluttering is great, and I like listening to these things while I'm decluttering or cleaning; but this lady is just a little too pie-in-the-sky and woo-woo for me. ...more
Quick review for a somewhat quick read. I'd probably give this read 2.5 stars overall. I read this over the course of a few days in audiobook form, and I'll admit that I didn't care for it despite having some practically useful ideas. I decided to read this for exploring methods of minimalist living and retention, since that seems to be a pervading topic when it comes to productivity and organization. The text itself has useful ideas if you haven't read very many delcuttering/minimalism guides, ...more
3.5 stars
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. Perhaps a
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mina by: Lifehacker
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
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Amazing book! Just the motivation I needed. I've only gone through 2 rooms and my bedroom has like 14 bags to donate hahaha. ...more
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the sections on the benefits and general WHY of minimalism the most, less so the sections with practical tips, going through each area of the house and how to declutter/organize them. I found those a bit repetitive. I really like that the author makes clear that minimalism means something different for everybody: it's less about owning only a certain amount of items, and more about just owning what you need. Overall a nice and short motivational kick in the butt to start clearing out y ...more
jessica ☾
This is a pretty solid book, but nothing I haven’t read before. Great for someone just starting out on their journey to ridding their lives of clutter.
Nov 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another of my walk-the-dog audiobook. must admit I only was able to listen to 4 of 8 disks. I can only listen to so many versions of toss, donate or keep in regards to possessions. The author is very passionate about decluttering and makes a very strong case to do so. If only she could convince my wife! I got the message after 2 disks but was hoping for a few more pearls. That didn't happen so I abandoned the book.

I listened to enough of this book to get the main idea of decluttering and garnere
Nikita (thebookelf_)
I felt like I’ve read this before. Nothing new but does a good job in reinforcing the idea that sustainable and a minimalistic lifestyle is a good way forward. Also, has practical guides to help you declutter your space from kitchen to your work space.

Loved the importance of highlighting “reduce over recycle.”
Oct 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: simple-life
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?)
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
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Fujin reads
Overall 3.5*

The minimalist activity inspired me to read/listen to this book. The book is a straight punch to the minimalism no other division stories or background makeups.

I would recommend to all who what to know what minimalism is, This is the best place to search for your answers on minimalism.
Marina Guerra
Practical tips on how to declutter. It won’t convince you to do it, but once you are convinced, it is a helpful book to get you started.
Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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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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