Francine Jay

Do you ever look around your house, at all the things you’ve bought and inherited and been
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.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

Say no to logos. If a company wants you to be a walking advertisement, they should be
paying you.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

Generally speaking, our stuff can be divided into three categories: useful stuff, beautiful
stuff, and emotional stuff.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

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
material goods.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

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
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

Surfaces are not for storage. Rather, surfaces are for activity, and should be kept clear at all
other times.
– Francine Jay

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!
– Francine Jay

Our goal: a clear, calm, uncluttered space that relaxes and rejuvenates us.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

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.
– Francine Jay

Let’s take a breather, and reminisce about how carefree and happy we were in college. Not
coincidentally, that period was likely when we had the least amount of stuff. Life was so
much simpler then: no mortgage, no car payments, no motorboat to insure. Learning, living,
and having fun were far more important than the things we owned.
– Francine Jay

Sometimes we can feel positively overwhelmed by our to-do-list. We know we have a million
things on it; so we jump from task to task without rhyme or reason, tackling each new chore
as it pops into our head. However, while we’re trying to do one thing, we’re worrying that
we’re not doing another – and may even start to panic that we don’t get anything done…
When we set priorities, we take control over our time. We know what needs to be done, and
in what order. We can then focus our energies on wiping out our tasks, rather than worrying
about them.
– Francine Jay

British writer and designer William Morris penned one of my favorite minimalist quotes: “Have
nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
– Francine Jay

If you’re tired of the clutter in your home, the finance charges on your credit card, the
commercialization of your holidays, or the pressure to keep up with the Joneses, you don’t
have to accept the status quo. Channel your inner rebel, and fight back.
– Francine Jay

By simply not buying, we accomplish a world of good: we avoid supporting exploitative labor
practices, and we reclaim the resources of our planet – delivering them from the hands of
corporations into those of our children. It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to
heal the Earth, and improve the lives of its inhabitants.
– Francine Jay

When our homes – the containers of our daily lives – are overflowing with clutter, our souls
take a backseat to our stuff. We no longer have the time, energy, and space for new
experiences. We feel cramped and inhibited, like we can’t fully stretch out and express
– Francine Jay

As you sort through your items, stop and question each one headed for your Treasure pile.
Nothing gets a free pass!
– Francine Jay

With minimalist living comes freedom – freedom from debt, from clutter, and from the rat race.
Each extraneous thing you eliminate from your life – be it an unused item, unnecessary
purchase, or unfulfilling task – feels like a weight lifted from your shoulders. You’ll have fewer
errands to run, and less to shop for, pay for, clean, maintain, and insure.
– Francine Jay

If one comes in, one goes out. Every time a new item comes into your home, a similar item
must leave. For every drip into the bucket, there must be one drip out. This strategy ensures
that your household won’t flood, and threaten the progress you’re making.
– Francine Jay

We may be reluctant to admit it, but we likely acquired many of our possessions to project a
certain image… Why would we pay double (or even triple) the price for a “luxury” car?
Because automakers pay advertising firms big bucks to convince us that our cars are
projections of ourselves, our personalities, and our positions in the corporate world or social
– Francine Jay

The best way to reduce is to buy only what we truly need… We should develop a habit of
asking “why” before we buy.
– Francine Jay

Our homes are our castles, and we devote plenty of resources to defending them. We spray
them with pest control to keep the bugs out; we use air filters to keep pollutants out; and
we have security systems to keep intruders out. What are we missing? A stuff blocker to
keep the clutter out!
– Francine Jay

Practicing a minimalist lifetyle can sometimes feel like you’re swimming upstream. You’ll
encounter people who feel threatened by any deviation from the status quo; they’ll say you
can’t possibly get by without a car, a television, or a full suite of living room furniture. They’ll
imply that you’re not successful if you don’t buy designer clothes, the latest electronic
gadgets, and the biggest house you can afford. They may even go so far as to say you’re
unpatriotic, and a threat to the national economy, if you don’t consume to your full capacity.
– Francine Jay