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The Joy of Less | Jen On Life

The Joy of Less

The Joy Of Less book

I try to be a life long learner. I’m constantly reading self help books when I have the time. It’s not that I’m trying to change myself, but I know that I can always improve my processes (like getting better at organizing even if my friends know I’m already organized), constantly learning new things online since I work on websites. 🙂 Trying new recipes since I want to be a better mom for my family. At the end of the day I want to be the best version of me.


I was browsing the Kindle books online and happened to come across this book by Francine Jay called The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Living Guide. For months I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with my stuff (especially my closet) and knew I needed a change. I just want to live with fewer things. Luckily I came across this book when I did. Since I’ve read the book, I’ve basically been cleaning out closets, refrigerators, pantries, etc. I read the book at the right time since I was ready to embrace some of her words like:

  • “We’ll learn to see our stuff for what it is and weaken any power it may hold over us; and discover the freedom of living with just “enough” to meet our needs.” That’s my main goal — to live with just enough to meet my needs. I don’t know if I can actually do that but I am trying to buy less things and only buy what I truly need at the moment.
  • “We have to remember that our memories, dreams, and ambitions, aren’t contained in these objects; they’re contained in ourselves. We are not what we own; we are what we do, what we think, and who we love. By eliminating the remnants of unloved pastimes, uncompleted endeavors, and unrealized fantasies, we make room for new (and real) possibilities…we need to clear out this clutter, so that we have the time, energy, and space to realize our true selves, and our full potential.” And with those words I was more motivated to declutter my house one closet at a time. Of course I can only declutter the rooms I’m responsible for. My husband is the opposite of myself and is more of a packrat and keeps a lot of things in the garage and in his office. At least he keeps his stuff in his areas and I will respect his space. For the areas I can declutter… I’m on a new mission. 🙂 I want to be free of my stuff and have more freedom by having less things.

When I read her book, I started clearing out things I knew that could be cleaned out quickly. I decided to start cleaning out the “easier” places like the pantry, refrigerator, kids’ closets, REI closet (stuff where I keep my camping and travel gear). It still took awhile to clean out these areas but it was easier to clean since I didn’t have a lot of things that I was attached to in these areas of my home.

I still have to declutter the difficult rooms. Yup! I saved that for last since it will take a longer time for me to sort through my stuff. The hardest rooms to declutter are my office, closet, and guest room closets (where I still have a lot of my office work clothing and stuff (or junk) I need to go through).


  • S – Start over
  • T – Trash, Treasure, or Transfer
  • R – Reason for each item
  • E – Everything in its place
  • A – All surfaces clear
  • M – Modules (organize like items together)
  • L – Limits (stuff must fit into the space, if the space overflows that’s when you need to donate your items)
  • I – If one comes in, one goes out
  • N – Narrow it down
  • E – Everyday maintenance

Because of the book, I was able to clean out several closets by taking everything out of the closet and questioning every item I brought back into the closet. Deciding what to keep is easier than deciding what to throw away. This method works wonders. Now that I’ve tackled several areas of my home I know that I can finish up the rest of my home.

My home is pretty tidy and everything has a home. Just because I have more room to store things doesn’t mean that I should treat my home like a storage space. Most of my clutter is hidden in a closet. Because I don’t see it on a daily basis, it’s easier for me to forget about it and not deal with it. My goal this year is to really go through my stuff and declutter. With less stuff I’ll have more freedom and will feel free and lighter by having less things.

My goal is to also travel with less stuff. It’s not fun for my husband to bring a huge luggage while going around the Metro in Paris. He was in charge of carrying my large check-in luggage and he told me never to bring a large luggage again. That was enough motivation for me to try and work with a carry-on luggage for future trips.

I also find that I can easily get around and am much happier having to deal with less clothing and items to put into my carry-on luggage. I’m constantly trying to find the right things to bring on a trip. Once I find the right travel essentials for any trip, I’ll post it on this blog.

Reading “The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Living Guide” helped me to declutter various areas in my home.

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