Friday, 13 December 2013

'The Joy of less': Can less really be more?

'Minimal Impact' Art Print available from society6

'We are not what we own; we are what we do, what we think, and who we love.'
Francine Jay, author and blogger

If there was a written agenda for a meeting of over spenders, item one might read something like this:

1) Brainstorm ways to live well for less (and by 'well' we mean 'no visible reduction to our current standard of living').

and two;

2) Let go SHOPPING!

Just to avoid confusion, I will confess up front. I would be at the meeting, I would probably 'Chair' the meeting. I might have even sent the invites.

Despite my 'consumer' tendencies, there is something about the frugal approach that appeals and it is not the 'cheap' aspect of the movement, rather the minimalist ethos.

 Making do with what is beautiful and necessary, and jettisoning everything else.

So I have set out to find books that embrace the philosophy of simplicity and minimalism as opposed to the 'how to' of extreme couponing (which I have to admit is not even really a 'thing' in my country).

This search has been surprisingly difficult, for all the thousands of books in the market place on the topic of minimalism, very few seem well written and for those that tick this box, even less focus on inspiration and mind set and not on time consuming money saving 'tricks'.

While I am looking forward to sharing as many great books as I can find on this topic, I am going to have to content myself with sharing just one today, 'The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life 'by Francine Jay (an ironically long heading for a book on simplifying life ;).

Francine is a fellow blogger (see 'Miss Minimalist') and the conversational tone of her blog carries through to her book. Jay admonishes her readers to 'speak with' their belongings asking;

'What are you and what do you do? How did you come into my life?'

I love this suggestion; it seems a fun exercise that just might help those keen on reducing clutter really 'see' their belongings and the place they have in their lives; perhaps for the first time.

This is what Jay does best, helping us 'unpack' the emotions around owning and purchasing 'stuff'. While you may not love all of her minimalist ideas (is a no couch house really a great idea?), you will love the way she can make you think about your consumer and pack rat tendencies, after all, change happens first in our minds and then in our worlds!

For those of us who also like some practical tips with our dose of inspiration, Jay offers chapters on decluttering and simplifying every room in the house and tackles the tricky issue of dealing with heirlooms and sentimental items (if you are like me you will have cupboards devoted to these treasured but never seen items).

I am still on the hunt for more wonderful and inspiring books on paring back and simplifying life and would welcome any recommendations offered! In the mean time I am happy to give Francine Jay's uplifting and practical book my own tick of approval.

Francine's book is available for purchase through amazon, simply follow the link below to get started:

'The Joy of Less' By Francine Jay

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