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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2011
I am a fairly relaxed person who has always had lots of "stuff." I found it difficult to let go of things," they might be useful", "it s a waste to get rid of it as it hasn t been used!" So things piled up around the house and when you wanted to find something it became a nightmare. I tried getting organised,boxes to store the stuff I didn t use appeared and then where to store the boxes..

This book is amazing-it has allowed me to clear clutter,store sensibly(modules- you can find what you want)but most importantly let go of things I don t need.Now when I walk into a room I see clear surfaces,everything in it own place (well, most of the time)and when I tidy I know where things "belong." I have given to charity "family" items, that were in storage, without guilt and the whole process has made me feel good.I still have a long way to go but I will continue.

If you want to get organised and feel in control of the stuff in your home,read this book.

Oct 30, 2011- Still getting rid of stuff, but life is so much easier- I cannot reccommend this book highly enough.

Buy it, it really will change your life!
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2011
This book is well written, easy to read and very useful. I have read many books about minimalism but I found this one to be outstanding.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 18 December 2012
Being a pack-rat, I have come to the point where I have to declutter, big time! Since it's all about the mindset, I decided to read some books on the matter. This book, by far, is the best one I've read on the topic.

To be honest, the word 'minimalist' in the title, did put me off. I mean, going from pack-rat to minimalist is a tall order, and it's highly unlikely to happen. And while I'll never live in a space with only one or two things, I feel this book has transformed the way I see space (i.e. it has a value!) and whether the things in it, are worth more than the space it takes up.

Essentially, this book takes you on a journey that teaches you exactly how to clear your space, so that you're only left with the things you use or value most (your 'treasures'), and reminds you that you don't need 100 biro pens - 10 will do! The author's writing style is also a joy. Often funny, and definitely friendly, you feel that you have a friend on your side who's cheering you on by the sidelines.

Yes. If you have lots of stuff... too much in fact, I definitely recommend this book. :0)
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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2010
In these times of economic uncertainty, downsizing may bring an emotional upheaval when trying to get by on fewer things. Fortunately, Francine Jay makes this journey a trip to genuinely cherish in "The Joy of Less". She presents minimalism not as something barren and empty but as freedom and space that makes our lives more enjoyable. And where can this make more of a personal impact than our homes?

This book is in four parts: Philosophy, Streamline, Room by Room and Lifestyle. In Philosophy, she introduces the concept of minimalism and asks the reader to think about our possessions and the value we attach to them: Are we defined by what we own? How much is enough to possess and actually use? And how clutter keeps us back in several ways, not just physically but at the very core of our lifestyle.

In Streamline, she lays out a methodical and clear strategy of de-cluttering our homes. In fact, `Streamline' itself is a handy ten-word mnemonic to guide the process of, well, streamlining! Separating our possessions into Trash, Treasure or Transfer helps to identify what we need to keep and what we can let go - either to the dump or to sell or donate to charity. And everything we keep must make a strong case to remain and have a place it can stay. Which is not on a surface like a table or even the floor, that must remain clear of objects lest it attracts stray items like a magnet. Her concept of storage cuts across three realms: Inner circle, outer circle and deep storage for items used often, sometimes and rarely respectively. `Room by Room' takes the streamline concept and applies it to each room in your home, taking into account the different and unique purpose of them all. She goes into detail how each space can be overhauled into peaceful, calm and de-cluttered oasises.

She closes in her `Lifestyle' section with a homily to expanding minimalism from de-cluttering to saving time from our busy schedules and even to a concept of `minsumerism', a means of reducing our consumption by the Three Rs of reduce, re-use and recycle. This is not an eco-rant on the sly but an instructive exploration of how a life of `enough' can pay dividends on the resources of the planet. She sums this up by comparing an ever-seeking, never-satisfied hunger for material acquisition as akin to a bull in a china shop, when in fact a more considerate approach is more like a butterfly, moving gracefully and lightly without leaving nary a footprint behind!

This is a great book from the writer of the `Miss Minimalist' blog (and NOT a reprint of what appears online). As we all face potentially stark choices of doing more with less in these trying times, we could all embrace `The Joy of Less'!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2012
The book is a very thorough instructional guide on how to de-clutter your home, minimise your possessions and live a simple and more meaningful existence. The structure is clear - the author starts by explaining different reasons for and benefits of adopting a minimalist lifestyle, she then goes on to give thorough instructions on how to clear each room in your home. Because she gives a chapter for each room, at times it seems repetitive but the plus side is you can dip in and out of the book and some of the advice she gives is very specific and useful - particularly for the kitchen and bathroom. The book ends with useful and concise final chapters to help simplify your life. I would recommend Leo Babuata's book The Power of Less along with this purchase.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2013
I’m working my way through this after reading "Miss Minimalist" by the same author. I was struggling with my decision not to buy any new clothes this year as I have plenty already but reading Francine Jay's books has turned off the desire to buy and I can look at clothes and admire them (if out with other people) but not want to buy for myself. It's the same with other items too.

I'm still not good at getting rid of things but certainly can look around and see I don't need to buy much apart from food and transport.

Most of what she says is common sense. I've often found de-cluttering seems like losing something but looking at it in a positive way and seeing the space gained and the peace of mind that comes with a minimalist view seems like the way forward.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I bought Joy of Less when on a decluttering kick and found myself underlining large parts of it as worthwhile. Although I had decluttered some years earlier, my junk had built up again to proportions where I felt irritated by it and I really needed to start chucking things out. Although I have read several decluttering guides, this one has proved perhaps the most useful. Particularly important is the advice to empty out EVERYTHING from a drawer, shelf, storage item or room in order to go through it and to only put back the things you love and use. For some reason, that simple advice has really helped me be much more hardcore in throwing things out. Her simple point that you are not a celebrity and that since by and large your clothes will go unremarked, and therefore you don't need a celebrity-sized wardrobe, is also golden, as is the advice to keep a bag in your closet and box in the cellar or somewhere else, into which you can put things that have outlived their usefulness and 'gifts' that come into the house that you don't really want, before they take up permanent residence. The second half of the book is somewhat repetitive if you sit down and read it straight through - it's better used as you tackle each room individually.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
While it's true that there are four main sections of this book, the bulk of it is a room-by-room de-cluttering guide using the acronym STREAMLINE for each room. This made it feel really over-padded, which I thought ironic considering it was a book about minimizing things.

To my mind, Aslett's Clutter's Last Stand does a better job of motivating a major de-cluttering blitz, and Payne's Simplicity Parenting does a better job of explaining how to live a simpler life, not just in terms of stuff, but in terms of routine and meal-planning and a whole lot of other areas of our lives where we have become over-committed and over-stressed.

That said, there were still some useful tips in this book. The STREAMLINE acronym helped a lot (though I really only needed to see it in action in one room to get the hand of it), and I enjoyed the first section about the minimalist philosophy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2011
I especially liked the first part of the book. In the second part, where Francine explains decluttering room by room, she sometimes repeats herself. But over all this is a great book on minimalism and why you should want to be a minimalist. I had already started decluttering 2 years ago (slowly, room by room, little by little), but this book helped me speed up the process. My house looks so much nicer now!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2011
Overall, I enjoyed this book and found the contents/processes useful. That said, it does - for me - become a little repetitive when Ms Jay goes through her room-by-room analysis. Once you have been introduced to the decluttering principles (which, by the way, are excellent), then I personally felt it was somewhat over-egging the cake for the subsequent said room-by-room analysis.

The part that I personally found most useful was that concerning heirlooms and emotional attachment to objects. There are some things, for some bizarre reason, that we simply feel we cannot let go, yet often there is no valid reason for keeping said objects! I also enjoyed the fact that Ms Jay is not overly-prescriptive, insofar she says that there are situations where WE have to decide what is enough for US.

I have to say that this book has certainly refocussed my mind on "stuff" and our apparent need to accumulate "stuff". At a time when more and more people and struggling financially and recycling becomes an increasingly important topic, this book is perfectly-timed. That said - and I know it isn't likely to happen - but Ms. Jay doesn't address the issue of what would happen in a global financial context if substantial numbers of people did actually become "minsumers".

Oh, and our kitchen now looks fabulous! Next, it's time to tackle the wardrobes, but that's a different story all together!
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