I stopped at the library to pick up some books to read on the beach before I left for vacation. After browsing the shelves for a bit, I happened upon The Joy Of Less: The Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify by Francine Jay. I had heard about this book here and there on the internet. Various Youtubers were using it to create a capsule wardrobe. I wasn’t about to get rid of all of my clothes and become a minimalist. However, I wanted to see if I could gain any insight on how to declutter and reorganize my stuff.
Before reading this book, I had a preconceived notion. I figured that it would be about how we are materialistic monsters who have nothing better to do than to buy stuff. I was basically ready to hate this book. However, I opened to chapter 1 and decided to give it a shot.
I was very pleasantly surprised.
It wasn’t a book of reprimanding us for buying stuff. The book was insight on how a clutter free life helped you get the most out of what we have.
The first quote that struck me was this:
“We wear 20 percent of our wardrobe 80 percent of the time.”
I related to the statement so much it scared me. I am always reaching for my favorite pieces, and just keeping the rest because I had spent money on it. All those unloved pieces were crowding my closet and making it harder for me to use my wardrobe to its fullest potential. I can’t tell you how many times I have left later than I should have because I couldn’t find a piece of clothing I was looking for. Now I had the motivation to remove those pieces and organize my closet.
Another point that really hit home is having clear surfaces. It always takes longer to complete a task when you have to clear off a surface first. Making sure all surfaces are clear makes it easier to just begin any task. Yes, you can put your stuff there while you are working on the task, but in the book the author, Francine Jay, says you need to put away the things you were working on immediately after you finish with them. This will make sure you have a clear space for the next time you need it.
Finally, the idea the stuck with me the most is the idea of too many of one thing. In my house, right now I have six different moisturizers and I was about to buy a new one. I only found this out after reading this book and trying to put all the same items together. Six moisturizers is enough for someone to use every day for a year without buying a new one. Another product I have too many of is nail polish. I probably have 60 different nail polishes. I would need to paint my nails more than once a week for a year to actually use all of them. That’s ridiculous. Francine talks about using stuff up or using it until it needs to be replaced and I am trying to apply that more to my life now.
Overall, I loved this book more than I thought I ever would. I learned not only about my own habits, but how to declutter, keep organized, and that its okay to get rid of stuff (even if you spent money on it). Clutter causes stress and doesn’t everyone already have enough stress in their lives?? (I sure do!)
The use of concise chapters, easy to understand concepts, and the great advice from the author made this book one of my favorites. If you want to become a minimalist or if you just want some tips to reorganize I think this book is a great read.