This Christmas, I bought myself Francine Jay’s wonderful book to help me on my journey to a more minimalistic life. This book is great for beginner aspiring minimalists, such as myself. Reading this book, felt like having a conversation with Francine, she is witty and funny and breezes through each chapter with great tips.
Francine starts with a philosophical introduction to why we can benefit by living with less. Then, Francine goes through rooms, one-by-one to de-clutter and offers tips to keep this newly cleaned space clean and un-cluttered. Rooms covered include: the bedroom, washroom, closets, kitchen, living room, garages, attics and basements. Each chapter covers one room, and Francine gives the readers tips for each individual room.
Francine uses this acronym for de-cluttering each space.
S – Start over
T – Trash, Treasure or Transfer
R – Reason for each item
E – Everything in its place
A – All surfaces clear
M – Modules
L – Limits
I – If one comes in, one goes out
N – Narrow it down
E – Everyday maintenance
Trash, Treasure or Transfer
This is my favourite part of STREAMLINE. Francine recommends de-cluttering prior to re-organizing your space. There is no point in re-organizing your stuff and storing it, if your stuff is mostly junk. Better to get rid of the things you don’t use, and organize the things that serve a purpose in your life.
Your stuff should be grouped into one of the three piles. Trash pile is for things that are useless or broken (and will not be repaired). Treasure pile is for things that you use or it’s really really important to you. Transfer is for things to be given away to charity or things that need to be returned or gifted.
Francine also recommends having a temporary pile for things that you may be on the fence about. She recommends giving a time line for how long things can stay in the temporary pile, after that, the items must either be trashed, treasured or transfered.
This is my second favourite part of STREAMLINE. Francine recommends grouping similar items and similar function items into “modules.” For instance, keep all your knitting stuff in a box or drawer, and that is your knitting module. This prevents your various hobbies from being strewn all over the room, and also keeps a check on how much you have for that purpose.
Clutter Attracts Clutter
This is repeated throughout Francine’s book, and it is so true! As soon as there is a bit of clutter on a surface – any surface, more things will generally land on that surface. The next thing you know, you’re digging your dining room table out from underneath a pile of junk. By completing regular sweeps of any clutter on your surfaces, you can keep your rooms tidy and clutter-free.
I think that sums up the key points of what I learned from The Joy of Less. It’s a quick and easy read for any beginner who would like to live happier with less. It’s got some pretty easy to follow guidelines, and I highly recommend to anyone who would like a bit of direction with their de-cluttering.