To get ready for spring cleaning we asked organization expert Francine Jay, founder of Miss Minimalist, for a little help.
What is the biggest misconception of minimalist living?
First, let’s pull this term “minimalism” down to earth. It seems to have acquired a somewhat intimidating, elitist air, as it’s often associated with chic, multimillion-dollar lofts with three pieces of furniture. The word conjures up images of spare, cool interiors, concrete floors, and gleaming white surfaces. It all sounds very sober, serious, and sterile. What role could it possibly play in lives filled with kids, pets, hobbies, junk mail, and laundry?
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.
There’s a specific chapter in your book that really stood out to us. Can you share with us what the STREAMLINE method is?
The STREAMLINE method is ten surefire techniques to rid our homes of clutter and keep them that way. They’re easy to use and easy to remember—each letter of the word represents a particular step in our decluttering process. Once you get these under our belts, there’ll be no stopping you!
Decluttering is infinitely easier when you think of it as deciding what to keep, rather than deciding what to throw away.
TRASH, TREASURE, OR TRANSFER
Be generous! Something that’s been sitting in your house, unused and unloved, may bring a great deal of joy to someone else.
REASON FOR EACH ITEM
We could get by with just a fifth of our current possessions and hardly notice a difference.
EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE
Clutter is a social creature; it’s never alone for long.
ALL SURFACES CLEAR
Surfaces are not for storage.
Consolidating your stuff lets you see how much you have.
You may initially think that limits will be stifling; but you’ll soon discover that they’re absolutely liberating!
IF ONE COMES IN, ONE GOES OUT
Every time a new item comes into your home, a similar item must leave.
You must determine your own list of must-haves, then narrow your stuff down to match it.
The best part about minimalist living is that the rewards are immediate.
As featured in the Spring 2017 Edition of Beekman 1802 Almanac Magazine. For more check out The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify (Updated and Revised). Published by Chronicle Books.