I fully grasp the idea of minimalism for the home, but I must admit, I found the concept of minimalism for the mind a little unusual. However, after completing The Joy of Less Journal- it made complete sense.
I am a person who hates to bend the spine of books while reading them so you can image how I felt about writing in a published book! I decided instead to write my thoughts and feelings in a separate notebook so the journal remained intact. This also gave me more pages to write in if there was a lot I needed to get down- but you do whatever works for you.
I think deep down most of us know what we should be doing with our time and what we can do to improve our circumstances. With that said, his book makes you stop and think, write it down and beak it into manageable chunks so it’s not overwhelming. It also makes you realise your potential and your next moves if they weren’t obvious to you before.
The journal is designed so that you can tackle one area of your thoughts at a time. You might want to focus on one chapter of the book, say, the regrets section- over a month or you may feel that you can achieve what you need to over a few days. There is no right answer- you simply do it at your own pace.
The only way I can describe this book is looking at your mind as a room that’s filled with ‘boxes’. These ‘boxes’ contain common burdens like worries, expectations, guilt, regrets, unachievable goals and bad habits- all the things that weigh us down. Just as you would tackle a room full of things you need to sort through- you go through each area or box at a time, deal with it and move on. As you would take unwanted things to a charity shop or throw them away- you release whatever you no longer need in your mind and let it go.
Once you have completed the journal, you should be able to ‘look around your room’ i.e. explore your thoughts and have a clearer space to think and feel lighter as you no longer have things lurking ‘up there’ that were serving you no purpose.
I have never completed a journal like this before so the experience was totally new to me. I thought that I wouldn’t find any benefit in de-hoarding my thoughts- but actually, it was a very therapeutic process. I have cleansed just about everything I can from my home and now have ‘just enough’ in my living space but that means nothing if you have a cluttered mind.
This was a book I thought I would cast aside after just a few pages but it made me realise that it’s just as important to have the room to think as it is the room to live. It’s the same as having a tidy home but all the cupboards are full of junk that only you know about. Junk that will cascade out of you open the doors. You may look ok- but behind the scenes it’s a very different story. This book guides you through how to match what people can see with what’s going on inside.
Minimalism is an all-encompassing process and the two definitely go hand in hand.
The Joy of Less Journal: Clear Your Inner Clutter by Francine Jay (Chronicle Books, £10.99)