Francine Jay quotes page 1
Blogger and author of "The Joy of Less - A Minimalist Living Guide"
Do you ever look around your house, at all the things you've bought and inherited and
given, and feel overwhelmed instead of overjoyed? Are you struggling with credit card debt,
and can barely recall the purchases on which you're making payments? Do you secretly wish
a gale force wind would blow the clutter out of your home, leaving you an opportunity for a
fresh start? If so, then a minimalist lifestyle may well be your salvation.
It's not easy to be a minimalist in a mass media world. Advertisers constantly bombard us
with the message that material consumption is the measure of success. They exploit the fact
that it's a lot easier to buy status than to earn it.
Cancel subscriptions. Magazines and newspapers become clutter when you don't have time to
read them and they pile up. Worse yet, your contact information is often shared with other
companies and publications, creating even more incoming clutter. Save some trees, and read
the articles online instead.
Say no to logos. If a company wants you to be a walking advertisement, they should be
Declutter clothes that don't fit. Why torture yourself by storing different clothes for different
weights? If you keep "fat clothes," you keep the expectation that you might gain weight; if
you keep "skinny clothes," you'll be depressed that you can't fit into them. Likewise, ditch
anything that bunches, pulls, stretches, or sags in the wrong places.
Generally speaking, our stuff can be divided into three categories: useful stuff, beautiful
stuff, and emotional stuff.
Unfortunately, busyness seems to be a prized trait in our culture - as if the more activities,
events, hobbies, committees, appointments, meetings, and responsibilities we can jam into
our schedules, the better people we are... Minimalist living is the opposite. We've been
learning how to say "no," eliminate the excess, consolidate, standardize, and delegate not so
we can get more done - but so we have less to do.
The more I'm told to consume, the more enthusiastic I become not to. And you know what?
My rebellion has paid off in spades. I have a bigger bank account, a more spacious and
serene home, and a better ecological footprint than if I'd accumulated a pile of unnecessary
When we become minimalists, we strip away all the excess - the brands, the status symbols,
the collections, the clutter - to uncover our true selves. We take the time to contemplate
who we are, what we find important, and what makes us truly happy.
Buying used enables us to obtain the things we need, without putting further pressure on the
earth's resources. Why waste materials and energy on a new item when an existing one will
A place for everything, and everything in its place. Memorize this mantra, repeat it often,
sing it out loud, say it in your sleep - it's one of the most important minimalist principles.
Ignore trends. They're just a clever ruse to get you to part with your hard-earned money.
Don't buy stuff that'll be obsolete, outdated, or out-of-style in the blink of an eye.
Most people hear the word "minimalism" and think "empty." Unfortunately, "empty" isn't
altogether appealing; it's usually associated with loss, deprivation, and scarcity. But look at
"empty" from another angle - think about what it is instead of what it isn't - and now you
have "space." Space! That's something we could all use more of! Space in our closets, space
in our garages, space in our schedules, space to think, play create, and have fun with our
families... now that's the beauty of minimalism.
Embrace "good enough." In 99 percent of the stuff we do, perfection is superfluous. It's not
necessary, not expected, and likely won't be noticed or appreciated. So here we are,
devoting extra time and effort to making everything just so - and nobody cares. It's actually
a wonderful realization; because when we stop striving for perfection, we get our stuff done
faster, and with greater ease.
We should also keep the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) in mind. In this
context, it means we use 20 percent of our stuff 80 percent of the time. Read that again,
closely: we use 20 percent of our stuff 80 percent of the time. That means we could get by
with just a fifth of our current possessions, and hardly notice a difference.
Things can be anchors. They can tie us down, and keep us from exploring new interests and
developing new talents. They can get in the way of relationships, career success, and family
time. They can drain our energy and sense of adventure.
Surfaces are not for storage. Rather, surfaces are for activity, and should be kept clear at all
Do a No Shopping challenge. Determine your worst clutter category - such as clothes, books,
kitchen ware, or electronics - and don't buy another such item for a set period of time (a
month, six months, or even a year). Stopping the flow of stuff into your house is just as
important as decluttering!
Our goal: a clear, calm, uncluttered space that relaxes and rejuvenates us.
In our quest to become minimalists, we typically focus first on the stuff that clutters our
homes. We want to purge the excess and reclaim our space, so that we have ample room to
live, play learn, and grow. However, we also need ample time for such pursuits, and
therefore must streamline our schedules as well.
DIY. Grow your own veggies, make your own furniture, sew your own clothes, bake your own
bread. Use your particular skills and talents to avoid buying mass-produced stuff.
Become a minsumer. Advertisers, corporations, and politicians like to define us as
"consumers." By encouraging us to buy as much as possible, they succeed in lining their
pockets, growing their profits, and getting re-elected. Where does that leave us? Working
long hours at jobs we don't like, to pay for things we don't need.
Is it really worth the environmental consequences to send a mango, or a mini skirt, on a
3000-mile journey? Not to us minsumers. We prefer to buy our goods locally, keep our air
cleaner, and save all that energy.