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The Joy of Less by Francine Jay: Decluttering Best-Seller

Updated on June 4, 2020
Gloriousconfusion profile image

I've always been a keen reader and have so many books that I couldn't hope to read them all in my lifetime. I love being surrounded by them

This book by Francine Jay is well written and easy to read, with lots of helpful ideas, and a minimalist ideology which you can adapt to your own way of life--you don't need to follow it blindly--just take the bits that appeal to you.

In the author's own words "The Joy of Less makes decluttering easy, enjoyable, and empowering". She states that many of her readers tell her that rather than finding decluttering a chore, they become excited about it and once they actually learn to let go, the results can be life-changing.

My own experience after reading the book is that even using just some of the small steps recommended left me feeling better, and so enthusiastic that I wanted to recommend it to other people who, like me, love hoarding things. I'm not an Obsessive Compulsive hoarder, but I do tend to hang on to things when I have no use for them, just in case I might need them at a later date.

Source

Here's What You'll Learn From This Book About Decluttering

  • a discussion about the rewards of paring down
  • 10 steps to help you achieve (and maintain) a home that is clutter-free
  • guidance room-by-room to help you acquire more space and serenity
  • explaining how your family household can all be involved in decluttering
  • illustrating how this way of life can contribute to saving the planet

An Accidental Opportunity to Declutter

Before I had even finished reading this book, my eyes were opened to its possibilities:

Not long after reading a chapter, I had a disastrous day when I couldn't stop spilling things or knocking them over. It started when I accidentally broke a raw egg, which dripped all over my open kitchen drawer. Normally I would just have mopped the place where the egg spilt, but, mindful of Francine Jay's advice, I duly emptied the complete contents of the drawer out on my kitchen counter, thoroughly mopped out the whole drawer, and put back only the items which I use regularly.

Then I considered which things I should just throw away, which things might actually be useful to someone else and who I might pass them on to, and whether there were any other articles which I considered were worth keeping.

Decluttering Unused Utensils

I surprised myself by sorting out quite a large pile of utensils which I had not used for years.

I put them in the dishwasher and gave them a clean-up, so that they looked as good as they would ever look, and my plan was to take them to a charity shop, after first letting my daughter select any she wanted. I was quite proud of myself.

All this came after reading one random chapter in the middle of the book.

After reading about a quarter of the book my enthusiasm for decluttering was boundless.

This is strange, because I am a self-confessed hoarder.

Disposing of Empty Containers

I looked around for more easy things to clear from the house, and started on my empty bottle collection. I keep them to store all sorts of things I have made, such as pickles or chilli prawns and also to decant packets of dry food, once they have been opened. I hate being in a situation where I need a bottle urgently, and there are none to hand. But I myself am completely out of hand when it comes to moderation, and I can't bear to throw containers away. So this was a big test for me. You'll see part of my collection of bottles in the photograph below.

My son jeered, saying "just throw them in the rubbish bin, Mum, nobody could possibly want someone else's old bottles", but I knew otherwise.

My daughter was delighted to take some of the jars for her jam-making sessions so I boxed up the most suitable ones for her, using one of my large number of hoarded cardboard boxes and thus killing two birds with one stone. I was happy that they would be used, and felt no pain about parting with them.

Then I advertised on a local community website that I was giving away bottles and three people immediately replied with requests. It was a bit time-consuming, with emails backwards and forwards, and eventually I left them on my porch for one lucky person to collect. My saucy son sneaked the bottles away and dumped them by my waste bins behind my back, but I found them, and carried them back to my porch. By the following day they had been collected by someone who wanted them, and I felt very comforted that I had not thrown them away and it gave me the strength to look around for the next step in de-cluttering.

Through reading The Joy of Less, I have found that giving my belongings away is a far pleasanter way of parting with my hoarded possessions than simply binning them. Even before I had finished reading the book, I was impressed by the fact that I already felt greatly encouraged to sort out my home and to stop hoarding junk.

All-in-all a very impressive and influential book.

Glass Jars Galore--My Embarrassingly Large Collection of Glass Jars and Plastic Containers
Glass Jars Galore--My Embarrassingly Large Collection of Glass Jars and Plastic Containers | Source
The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life
The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life
This book would make a good present--easy to read, lots of helpful ideas, and it might just permanently change the way you organize your belongings.
 

Are You a Hoarder? Take This Poll

Do You Find it Difficult to Let Go of Possessions You Don't Use or Even Like?

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Do Leave a Comment--About the Book, About Your Clutter Habits or Just Anything Which Adds to the Conversation--I Love to Hear From People All Round the World!

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    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      12 months ago from United States

      I hate to admit it, but I was laughing while reading your article. If I had taken the utensils out, washed them and made the look shiny and new, I would have had to find a special place in that drawer for them. They would have taken on new value to me.

      I am not a hoarder, but years of crafting taught me that all kinds of odds and ends have a purpose. I would use you jars for storing pins, buttons, beads, scraps of leftover ribbon, etc.

      I do throw a lot of stuff away. If it is broken or doesn't work, to the trash it goes. No doubt the book would help me identify other things I could easily eliminate, plus it would motivate me to look. One thing I do know, it is a lot easier to clean if the house is clutter free!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 

      23 months ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I have moved 4 times in the past 11 years and each time I 'downsize' what I think is a lot. Then I unpack and find 'stuff' I wonder why I packed and paid to have it moved! I've read several books about clutter and some of the information has 'stuck' and other has been forgotten. This book may give me a boost in the right direction. :)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      23 months ago from Central Florida

      Being the child of parents who grew up in the Great Depression era, I inherited their saving ways. Now I'm trying to release my stuff, but like you, I don't want to just trash it. It's time-consuming but necessary.

      Take a look at the Swedish Death Cleaning process. That is giving me ideas for paring down my possessions.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      3 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I wish I was a minimalist. Instead I'm always struggling to keep the clutter down. Sometimes I'm more successful than other times. Right now my home isn't really terribly cluttered but there are little pockets of clutter than need to be worked on and organized better.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I can understand that, and I don't collect much these days....but it is hard to get rid of stuff already collected!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I tend to hoard things in case I can make something with them, or use them later - in the days after the war it was called Good Housekeeping. And of course it's hard to give away presents, but I have to stop being so sentimental I suppose.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I find getting rid of unread books is like tearing my heart out! I gave myself a deadline of 31st December 2016 to clear out all the books I've been trying to sell, and clear out all the spare boxes I store to put them in. I've done quite well, but not achieved my goal. But it does help to give yourself a deadline.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      4 years ago from Templeton, CA

      It is really hard to clear over 50 years of accumulated stuff. I've read the books and been inspired and made a start, but the physical body doesn't want to do the work it takes. I can't tell you how many carloads I've already taken to thrift shops! It still doesn't seem to make a dent. Of course, I'm also dealing with inventory from a closed online bookstore and have to itemize every book I get rid of that's part of it for the IRS. If didn't have to do so much paperwork before getting rid of the inventory it would go a lot faster.

    • profile image

      Olivia 

      4 years ago

      I come from a family of hoarders so it's very easy for me to keep things. Trying to control that impulse, is hard!

    • profile image

      Karen 

      4 years ago

      We lived in an RV for 13 years and really got out of the habit of collecting or even wanting to collect stuff.

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I so need to declutter We spent the whole afternoon today clearing out old lesson plans, receipts and other paperwork. Some went back to 1995 even so I was worried I might need it again, so we had a bonfire. The kitchen is full of jars and gadgets we never use too.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Diana, this sounds like something I really need to read (or, more likely, listen to in audiobook format). Reading about its effect on you is very encouraging, and I really appreciate your excellent review!

    • Craftymarie profile image

      Marie 

      6 years ago

      I need to read this since we tend to hold on to so many things that we don't need and it ends up making the home look untidy. Learning to let go would be very freeing.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      6 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      A very fun review to read, and so relatable. It sounds like a book to add to the wish list. More and more now, I try to thin thing out. That can get nearly as addictive as hoarding. We actually need so much less than we have. I love that you are finding pleasure in the giving too.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Ibidii: I didn't think of that - I can see now that staying in the same house for over 50 years has not been conducive to having a good clear-out

    • profile image

      Ibidii 

      6 years ago

      I learned from my parents and grandparents to recycle and repurpose. A certain amount of retaining things is good. But I can see that people who live in the same house for many years will keep more than they need. I have moved too many times in my life - nearing 70 times - so I have been forced to examine all my belongings and give to charity all the time after a garage sale. The book sounds good!

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