100 Essentials: Simple Kitchen + Capsule Wardrobe + Minimalist Home

I have some exciting news to share with you today: I’ve published a new book!

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you may remember a little series I used to do called “100 Possessions.” I’d select an item I owned, and explain why it deserves a place in my minimalist life.

They were some of my most popular posts, and many of you asked me to revive the series. So I started writing…but had so much fun, I couldn’t stop! Over the years, I’ve developed a sort of capsule household—a small collection of ultra-versatile items—and I wanted to show you everything. And thus, my new book was born:

100 Essentials: Simple Kitchen + Capsule Wardrobe + Minimalist Home

Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction:

I’m often asked what inspired me to become a minimalist. The answer: I fell in love with traveling lightly.

After over-packing on a few trips, and suffering the misery of lugging around a heavy suitcase, I vowed henceforth to travel with just a small carry-on. The experience was exhilarating! I felt like I could go anywhere, and do anything, when I wasn’t loaded down with stuff. And I thought, wow, if it feels this great to travel lightly, how wonderful would it be to live this way?

I began to edit the contents of my home with the same fervor as I had my suitcase. As I slowly ditched the extra “baggage,” I could feel the weight being lifted from my shoulders. I became a decluttering diva, peeling away the layers of excess, working my way down to the essentials. I reduced and reduced and reduced, for well over a decade.

And then it hit me: how much faster and easier would it be if I started with a clean slate and worked my way up? In other words, what if I looked at my whole life as a journey and simply packed my “suitcase?”

In my book, The Joy of Less, I waxed poetic on the wonders of a capsule wardrobe—a small collection of ultra-versatile clothing to suit all my needs. I also speculated on how lovely it would be to have a capsule office: all my supplies in a single, portable box so I could work anywhere.

Why stop there? What a joy would it be to cook with a capsule kitchen, with just the favorite pots, pans, and tools I always reach for (and without having to rustle through less useful things to find them)?

In fact, we can apply this capsule concept to the entirety of our possessions—a capsule household, if you will. That’s the premise of 100 Essentials.

Click here to read the full Introduction…

It includes 100 full-color photos of my 35-Item Kitchen, 35-Item Wardrobe, and more.

Ultimately, it’s a new twist on decluttering: eliminate the excess by choosing your essentials. When your stuff is in sync with your needs, you can move through your days more gracefully and efficiently.

Whether you’re relocating, retiring, or just starting out, 100 Essentials helps you travel more lightly through life. It’s also a great resource for those who are living in small spaces (or dreaming of it).

My hope is you’ll join in the fun, and use my list as a springboard in making your own. I think we can have a blast sharing and debating our respective choices here on the blog! In fact, I’d love to launch a new series (similar to Real Life Minimalists) in which you, my readers, share your 100 Essentials.

And lest it sound too extreme, don’t worry: I take a friendly, flexible approach that allows for some Extras. I want this to be accessible and enjoyable for anyone who wants to try it. :)

As always, I’m deeply grateful for your support, and hope you’ll join me on this little escapade through my minimalist home!

Please note: 100 Essentials is currently available only as an ebook, as it’s cost-prohibitive to print in full color. But you don’t need a Kindle device; simply download one of the free Kindle Reading apps to your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc.

59 comments to 100 Essentials: Simple Kitchen + Capsule Wardrobe + Minimalist Home

  • Congrats on the new book Francine! Even though I have been a minimalist for quite some time, I still find it hard to limit my belongings to 100 things. It is definitely a challenge. I’m looking at the preview of your book right now.

  • Karen T.

    Yay! A new book by Miss Minimalist! This one sounds essential — I’ll put it on my “to buy” list.

  • Karen T.

    Now that I’ve looked at your lovely book on Amazon, I have to ask: is it going to be published as a real, hold-in-your-hand book? I know lots of minimalists love e-books, but I love real books. I own about 75 of them (my absolute favorites), and I buy others to read an then pass on to friends and family (well, sometimes I keep them for myself if I think I’ll reread them). So I’m not really interested in a Kindle book . . . . :(

  • Yes, I am wondering the same thing. I do like my Kindle but it has its limitations, and one of them is that my current version does not show photographs in colour!

    • miss minimalist

      Hi Frances! Just as an FYI, it can also be read on other devices (phones, iPad, PC, Mac) with the free Kindle reading apps. If you have any of those and care to read on them, of course. :) See below for explanation on why no print version at this time…

      • Yes, your explanation makes sense. I did purchase the book (and have enjoyed it, thank you!). I realised I could see the colour pictures on my husband’s tablet. Not ideal, but it worked. I love the little can opener. I have never seen one that small. We have a very nice one that gets used once in a blue moon as the cans we buy have pull rings. I suggested donating it but husband doesn’t want to. I shall carry on slipping in the question at odd intervals to see if he relents on this one! I have started listing possessions where I would need a minimum to survive and have reached 85 so far. Your clothes list is far more honest than mine. I list 36 items, then count coats and jackets separately (4) and shoes (4 prs) separately! But not too bad though. A bit navel gazing at times but I enjoy knowing exactly what I have got. Thanks, a fun read!

        • miss minimalist

          Thanks, Frances! I’m so glad you were able to see the photos in color, and thrilled to hear you’re making your own list of Essentials. If you’re ever interested in sharing it here, let me know. :)

        • Rayanne

          There are backpacking can openers that are even smaller, and I used mine all through college and until my 30s when I lost it in a move. Most standard can openers are for righties, so us lefties are pretty much left out in the cold on the regular sized things. I have one now that’s attached to a small bottle opener, so at least it’s multi-functional.

  • Malkah Hochman

    I just ordered your new book and I love it already! I have been following your blog for years and I really enjoy it! Thanks for helping me to live a simple, peaceful life. :)

  • Lana

    When will it be coming out in hard copy. I do not own a Kindle. I like real books.

  • Sandi B.

    Hi Francine,
    Just ordered your new book. I love all the things you do and am always pleased to support your efforts.

  • Sophie

    Sounds like a great read! However, I hope it will be published in real book form. I hate Kindle and would really love to read a paper and ink book. If it is published in book form, I will definitely suggest my local library purchase a copy. The Joy of Less is always checked out!

  • As soon as I saw that there were pictures – my lil chubby fingers couldn’t type fast enough to head to Amazon!

    Thank You Francine – I left your first review a 5 star (for obvious reasons!)

    I cannot wait for the hard copy book to come out.

    with love,
    jenny (chicago-orlando)

  • Sara

    Congratulations on your new book! Sounds like a great read!

    I’ve got the earlier edition of Joy of Less and it’s one of the few books I’ve kept – and will keep – in my small collection of books. Which are all solid objects…So, I’m afraid I’ll ask the same thing, will the new book be published as a physical book?

  • miss minimalist

    Regarding a print copy of 100 Essentials…

    I had several generous publishing offers for this book. However, I decided to go indie on this one for two reasons:

    1. It was important to me to have complete creative freedom, with no commercial-driven interests over the content. (This will make more sense if/when you read it.)

    2. I didn’t want to wait another year to release the book (the earliest it would have been published is late 2017-spring 2018).

    So here’s the dilemma. The book contains 100 color photographs, making it cost-prohibitive to print as a self-publisher (each copy would cost *me* $34 to print!).

    Why so photo-heavy? Everyone’s always asking me for more visuals, and feel it’s more inspiring to *see* what I own, not just read about it.

    So until I can find a cost-effective way to print it, it will be available exclusively as an ebook. It’s really the only way I can deliver the content to you for a reasonable price!

    • Sara

      Thanks for a quick answer, Francine, I appreciate it.

      I do get it, really. Pictures in print are expensive, yet highly interesting in this context. And I applaud your non-commercial and creative attitude when it comes to this book.

      I will definitely think about getting the ebook now, I find the introduction so intriguing that I rather think I will want to read – and see – the entire thing. :)

    • Karen T.

      I do get this . . . and I would really LIKE to read your new book! Maybe I’ll download it to my PC. *sigh*

      • miss minimalist

        Thanks, Karen T.! I’d love to have the best of all worlds (self-publish + color photos + reasonable price), but at present have to work with what’s available. :)

  • Can’t wait to get the book! What an exciting surprise announcement!
    I’m leaving on a quick long weekend trip in a couple weeks and really need to pack lightly. I’m about to scour your blog for packing ideas. I wish I could travel with just a large purse! (I’ll be gone three nights.)

  • Annette

    Hi Francine!
    Love your blog! I was so excited about the new I book I purchased it with one click and then realized it’s a kindle edition and I’m on an iPhone! Yikes. Where do I find what I purchased or can I even see where it downloaded? Sorry, I’m tech challenged sometimes!
    Thanks for all your inspiration!

    • miss minimalist

      Don’t worry, you don’t need a Kindle! Amazon has Kindle apps for just about every device (including iPhone). You can even read on your computer, if you want.


      If you go to “Your Orders” and then click on “Digital Orders”, you’ll see the ebook there. You can also access it through “Manage My Content and Devices.”

      I hope that helps!

  • TJ

    I also would love to read your new book but don’t use electronic devices. Please let us know if you ever do decide to publish in paper. Thanks!

  • Amanda

    What a sweet and lovely book! Congratulations!

  • AnnaE

    Thank you miss Minimalist for this book! I find it to be lovely and instantly I started to think about my own 100 essentials (I must have a potatopeeler in my kitchen for example).

  • Julia

    Hi Francine,

    will the ebook also be published on pther platforms?
    As I have a Kobo ebook reader, I cannot open Kindle files… :(

  • Lesley Armstrong

    Hi Francine, I am trying to order your book but as I am in the UK, I have to order through Amazon UK, where your book is not available. Are you able to make it available in any other way?
    In high hopes, Lesley

  • Lesley Armstrong

    Thanks Francine, that worked! Settling down for a good read right now. lesley

  • Alicia

    I love it!! I’m getting ready to move into a new house with my 2 kids and decided to re-read some of your archives and The Joy of Less for inspiration. Came here to find you have this new book which is just what I needed to read.

    • miss minimalist

      Hi Alicia! Moving is the perfect time to think about your Essentials. (Much of the book was inspired by my cross-country move.) Congrats on the new house!

  • Jen

    Thankyou for this new book Francine, it’s perfectly timed as I am just about to buy my own house after splitting from my former partner. I find the Kitchen section so inspiring and can’t wait for my new kitchen to only be full of truly useful things (and not the large stacks of plates and casserole dishes I’ve been previously used to!)

    • miss minimalist

      Thanks for the kind words, Jen! I’m so glad you found inspiration in the Kitchen section, and wish you much happiness in your new home.

  • Tina

    You are always an inspiration for me. I recycled a bunch of old greeting cards. I make collages out of the beautiful pictures on some of them. But I don’t need a 10 year supply. Congratulations on your new book.

  • Teresa

    I bought your new book and LOVE it! It’s the perfect sequel to Joy of Less, which I also have and love. It was fun to see your items, and also great to see that you too have a transformer dress: wearing one is like playing dress up, but for grown women lol! The gray one is so elegant (mine is a deep eggplant color, bought it at Goodwill). Congrats on your new book launch!!

    • miss minimalist

      Thank you, Teresa, I’m so happy to hear you love it! :) Yes, the transformer dress is such fun, and your eggplant color sounds lovely (a nice alternative to basic black).

  • […] I decided to buy this ebook since I’m always looking to deepen my understanding and my practice of minimalism. 100 essentials […]

  • Janice

    Bought your book when you first announced it. It is great!

  • Kathy

    I just finished your new book & I love it so much!!! It came just when I was feeling the need to recommit myself to my minimalism. One question, you showed us your minimalist toiletry case, any chance of a blog post on what your minimalist toiletries or “minimalist medicine cabinet” would consist of? I’ve pared down a lot in this area, but we keep a well-stocked medicine/emergency cabinet and while I like the security of having it for emergencies or illness that strikes in the middle of the night, it also feels like a big clutter hide-out too.

  • We had a $100 gift card for an upscale dept store. I bought 2 bracelets and a pair of earrings at 90 0/0. I will donate some items to Goodwill. My husband bought a jacket and will give his old jacket away. We still have credit left on the card. I love costume jewelry. I am giving away several of my houseplants when the weather warms up. I don’t think I could live with 100 things but I could live with very few.

  • Dee


  • Patricia Williams

    I love your book!! The best decluttering book I have read. I love your reasoning behind your purchases. I wish I had read it many years ago. But it is not too late! I would love to see some of the picture of your Moduls.

  • […] About The Important Things. I read further books on the subject; Simplify by Joshua Becker,  100 Essentials: Simple Kitchen + Capsule Wardrobe + Minimalist Home by Francine Jay, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie […]

  • Tara McClenahan

    Hi Francine!

    100 Essentials is changing my life for the better! I was wondering is there a printable list of the 100 essentials?


  • Jess

    Hi Francine,
    I have a quick question about 100 Essentials. I requested that my local library purchase a copy, but they let me know that it has not been made available through the e-book vendors that sell to libraries. I’m just curious if you’ve heard this from anyone else as well?

    I really enjoy your work, thank you! :)

  • Rayanne

    I found the kitchen section really lacking. It seems like it was written by a person who doesn’t cook. And the equipment was too expensive for what it does. I have great equipment that I’ve banged around in my kitchen for about a decade and they were at much lower price points and still going strong. And I’m not sure how anybody would cook a casserole such as a lasagna or a lentil loaf in a sheet pan.

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