Book review: “The joy of living with less” by Francine Jay

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I have just finished my second book on minimalism and it has been helpful, as well as inspirational in my process of decluttering and minimising. Francine Jay walks us through four main sections in her book, starting with philosophy in part 1, continuing with part 2 where she presents her Stremaline method for decluttering. In part 3, she guides us through room by room, giving us useful tips on how and where to start, and what to be aware of in the various rooms. She introduces us to the aspects of lifestyle connected to simplifying our lives in part 4.

In part 1, she walks us through a lot of the thoughts and expectations around things, where especially two of the subchapters got to me: “You are not what you own” (Part one: chapter 2) and  “The Joy of enough” (Part one: chapter 9). I think it’s easy to feel that we need more things, newer things and a bigger house to accommodate all these things in society today, as images of how we “should” live our lives often appear in social media and are orchestrated by advertisers. In addition, I have tended to keep things that I feel say something about who I am (or at least, who I want to be, or in some cases, who I used to be). After starting the process of minimizing, I still want to buy new things and keep my old things, however, I feel that I now reflect more about the things I buy and I want everything I buy to last a long time and to have a purpose.

The streamline technique which is introduced in part 2 is extremely helpful when decluttering. Before I read this book, I followed these steps to a certain degree as I think many of these steps are natural in a decluttering procerss, but I have become more aware of the various ways of organising and of where clutter “lives”. Streamline stands for Start over, Trash/treasure/transfer, Reason for each item, Everything in its place, All surfaces clear, Modules, Limits, If one comes in, one goes out, Narrow down and Everyday maintenance. I will not go into detail into these, some are probably self-explanatory, however, I have discovered that I have tended to cheat on the first point; Start over. Sometimes, when I have decluttered a shelf, or some drawers, I have not taken everything out. It does really make a difference, when you do Start over.

Another point which I found useful from this book are the Modules. I have organised some of our things, to a certain degree into modules before, but I have become more aware of this after reading the book. Furthermore, the Outbox is a brilliant concept as well. You place an outbox somewhere in the house to encourage family members to get rid of things. I have for a longer period of time kept an outbox to myself, but I think it will be interesting to see if other family members will make use of it as well.

If you want to go on a decluttering journey or simply minimise your everyday somewhat, I definitely recommend this book. It is easy to read and you can easily jump to the points relevant to you, if needed.

I feel inspired by reading books on minimalism and decluttering. Do you have any books or articles or blogs you would recommend, please share, as I love to learn more.

Lots of love,

Kari

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