If you had told me when I was in my early twenties that I would be reading books on tidying in my future, I would have laughed in your face. But, when you start to read books on decluttering and minimalism- it can become quite addictive. With each new one- you really do analyse everything that you carry around with you unnecessarily from place to place. Whether that is excess stuff in your handbag to things you drag to each new home every time you move.
This book is proof that even if you have recently decluttered or feel like you already live a minimalist lifestyle- it’s a perpetual process that requires you to stick to new habits and constantly revaluate your possessions.
Jay encourages a steady approach to decluttering- one that you can do at your own pace- one drawer at a time. She asks that you empty everything out of a space- no matter how small and take a look at each item- then only put back what you use and things you love. Everything else is superfluous.
A few standout examples from the book are- having a wardribe full of things that fit and make you feel good. No more keeping clothes for when you reach a certain weight for instance (guilty)- you can reward yourself with these if you reach you goal. It’s likely that your style will change if your body does anyway.
Another way to keep on top of your stuff- and valuable piece of advice- is to always have a bag or box that you fill with things you want to daonte- this little and often approach means you will never have to have a big declutter again- it’s just an ongoing process. Then when you have a full bag or box- you can donate it.
Finally- look at multiple items in your home. I am guilty of having far too many pens- and I’m sure I’m not alone. No person realistically needs fifty pens all at once. You use one at a time, when that has run out you acquire another. It makes more sense, therefore to buy as you need rather than stock piling for the apocalypse.
Another bugbear for many are gifts. This book makes you realise that people don’t hunt your home from the things they’ve bought you- just as you don’t look around their shelves and cupboards for the things you’ve bought them. In fact- chances are, you have and they have probably forgotten what was exchanged. In which case, there should be no guilt about ridding your home of unwanted gifts if there is no place for them in your space. If others can get pleasure out of something you don’t want or need- surely, it’s better to let them enjoy the item that is burdening you.
The book also concentrates on the environmental impact of paring down your stuff- something other books of this ilk haven’t touched upon in such great detail. It makes you think more widely about the reasons for doing this rather than just focusing on your little space in the world.
I devoured this book in a day- it made sense, it was a concise and simple read and it shows that there are always new ideas to help you in your quest in surrounding yourself with both useful and meaningful things.
It is written in a kind and approachable style- there are no ‘you must dos’ in this book- it merely offers you the ideas, reasoning and skills you need to live a life of freedom, space and gratitude.
I even found myself putting it down to run a little de-cluttering exercise on something in my home in between chapters.
I think that is testament to a truly motivational book!
The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify by Francine Jay (Chronicle Books, £10.99)