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‘The Joy of Less’

I just finished “The Joy of Less” by Francine Jay and wanted to recommend it to anyone flirting with the idea of minimalist living or simplifying. She does a great job of breaking it down and truly defining it.

Initially, I know, it sounds like this great self sacrifice. Like living a life of denial. It isn’t. Minimalism, and living simple is about freedom, space and time. It is about having only what I really want … and not constantly tripping over and stacking what I don’t.

It struck me, as I was reading the book yesterday that what I really want is to feel like I am living in a nice hotel. (not the tiny cheap dirty places… much more high end). The small space is decorated to be inviting. Not only is it clean from dirt, but there isn’t a spot of clutter or stuff in sight. It is a place where friends could stop over anytime without embarrassment, kids can always find a place to work or play, and a place that is easy to go to sleep in and wake up to. … if only I could figure out the daily housekeeping and the breakfasts 🙂

The key to minimalist living is not organization or more color coated totes. It is really simplifying. It works on the 80/20 principle that says that you really only use 20% of your stuff 80% of the time…. Which means, most of it could be gone and you wouldn’t even notice.

We have been minimizing for several months now. It has been a process. I first went through stuff last winter and pulled out lots to get rid of. Since then I have gone through stuff several more times and gotten rid of more. We moved beginning of May and got rid of lots. Since May we have gotten rid of more stuff at least once, and now I am going through everything again to see what we can cut back before winter so we can park the car in the garage. I wanted to emphasis this. It is too hard emotionally to get rid of everything right away, but get rid of a little first. That bit gone feels so good and it is easier to look for more to get rid of. Each time there is less to go through and it is easier to notice if you have actually used it. Each time gets easier and more fun. Each time there is less mess, less hassle and more space.

I truly think everyone would benefit from being a minimalist. That said, everyone has a different definition of what enough stuff is. I talk about us and what we are doing as an example, but to someone else it might be entirely different. The point is, know what you have, only keep what you need and love in your house and your schedule, and create your life around it. Stuff can take over your life with maintaining, cleaning and paying for it. Schedules can run your life. That sucks… don’t let it happen… fight back (and read Francine Jays book for breakdowns and steps, she says it better than I)


  1. Katy Katy

    Checked out from OPL. Love it!

    • Lorilee Lorilee

      great! … note the picture, it reads better with iced coffee 🙂

  2. Lisa Lisa

    I have read her book and would love to start the journey as a couple, but my husband will not jump on this band wagon with me. So I am starting on my own stuff and maybe he will soon see the light!!!!

    • I hear ya. When I really started to get rid of stuff last spring I realized that most of the stuff in the house was mine anyways. Good luck!

  3. Kendra Carlson Kendra Carlson

    what other books have you liked about minimalism? i really need help figuring out which things I do/have that give me enjoyment and which ones don’t…

    • hum, that is a tough one. I am actually working on writing one (hopefully to be out in March) on this because I haven’t found a good one that covers what I want it too. A similar book from a different perspective came out today. Here is the link. I like these guys a bunch and hope to read this at some point. What I am trying for is similar but from a female, mothers prospective on simplicity and minimalism. If you would like, I would love to find a few like minded people read it and give me some feedback on it in a few weeks.

  4. Kendra Carlson Kendra Carlson

    absolutely…I’d love to read it, though my newness to the topic may make me a poor choice. somewhere on your blog, you mentioned a book that discussed how only 20% of what we have/do give us enjoyment, but I can’t find where I read that and what book you were referencing.

    coming up to Christmas and the influx of toys (not huge in our family, but still), I’m talking to the kids about giving away some of their toys to kids who don’t have any. They are excited so I think we’ll succeed in it being a fun thing, not a guilt thing. What guidelines can you give in the toy sorting process? I want to be a wise voice helping them choose well, but I feel clueless. 🙂

    • It is the 80/20 principle and there are several books on it. I liked how Tim Ferriss put it in The 4 Hour Work WeekI got more out of his short overview when I read it a few years ago and didn’t get much more from reading the whole book on it. He is crazy, brilliant and is an out of the box thinker and do-er.

      I will get back to you on the toy thing. I have covered it in bits in different posts.

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