Francine Jay, also known as Miss Minimalist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people declutter their homes and simplify their lives with her easy and effective streamline method. I’ve just chomped my way through her book, The Joy of Less, which has sold over 150k worldwide and has been translated into 18 different languages. It’s an easily digestible book, segregated into tackling different areas of the house with an underlying narrative; the less you have, the easier and happier your live will be. She really needs to come round to my parents house and have a sit down with my family and tell them..
“Look, you’re sweet and caring and giving people. But your son has constantly requested that you don’t need to get him any gifts for Xmas. He has everything he needs and he really has little use for remote control cars, or pump action water pistols and whose idea was it to get him a trampoline? He is a 37 year old man and he has not got the apartment Tom Hanks had in the movie Big.”
So you started blogging before you wrote the blog?
I started blogging, we moved to the UK for my husbands job, I didn’t have much to do and was always interested in writing so started blogging. I wanted to explore my interest in minimal living. Initially I was happy that a few people started reading it. But it snowballed. It seemed like a lot of people were interested in living with less and it grew into a community. They were asking me for a ‘how to’ manual, so I wrote the book.
Are you still hands on with your own website?
The website is entirely mine, I’m either writing, or if its content that’s been submitted, I’m reformatting and uploading – its under my compete control.
Why is it so hard to get rid of clothes?
Clothes is how it started for me in my mid 20’s. I never wore 80% of my clothes, they were ‘fantasy life’s’ clothes, cocktail dresses, they didn’t suit my lifestyle. I started decluttering the closet. As I released each item I felt good, felt great to trim down and have a wardrobe that reflects who I am, not who I think I am or who I might be. When I blog, I get a greater response about the wardrobe than anything elsee. But its easy, you don’t usually have sentimental attachments when it comes to clothes. People talk about a capsule wardrobe, I apply that capsule concept to other areas. Find the essentials and let go of the excess.
Have you ever regretted anything you’ve turfed out?
People ask me that, there is a little planning that goes on. I do have one cocktail dress I have for back up if I’m caught in a pinch, so you do have to look down the road a bit. You have to be a bit mindful you don’t ditch everything.
I love the Material World book by Peter Menzel you highlighted in your book, have you ever met the author?
I love that book, I cant remember the context that I found it. But with all the access we have in social media we compare ourselves to the celebrities, to what we wear to what we own. That’s what we use as a benchmark and not our place in the greater world – that book is a great perspective. Not everyone lives like this and its quite possible to be happy without it out.
I like the mention of how camping is a holiday away from your possessions, do you still view it like that?
It started with travel, we (Husband) always traveled lightly, just a small carry on each, so when on holiday it was enlightening that we could get away with so much carrying so little. We wanted to have that same sense of freedom in everyday life. Nowadays I don’t feel like I need to get away because I don’t have a lot. It’s easy to pack, I don’t need to make decisions being this streamlined.
Is it harder to be streamlined now? Now that your a successful writer and you have more going on, more contacts and people to engage with?
The hardest thing is finding a work/life balance. I have a 4 year old that’s very important I don’t have work take over my life. There’s only so much you can do with blogging and social media. I try to set limits on social media, I have to make my peace with that. I set amount a certain amount of time for blogging, writing, interviews, the rest is set aside for my family.
How hard is it for people to buy presents for you?
Ha I just ask people to buy me lunch if they feel like they need to get me anything.
The Joy of Less is available now for £10.99