As we begin a new year it’s natural to think about what you want your life to look like this year. What will make it a better year? One way to find out is by exploring simple living books.
A simple living book can provide inspiration for decluttering your home and simplifying your life overall. They offer practical tips for reducing stress levels, which often comes from less clutter around the house or being able to live more frugally. Books that explore these topics are perfect if you just need a little push before changing up any part of your lifestyle.
If you’re looking for a little inspiration to help jumpstart your journey to a more focused life, or you’re tired of living with too much stuff, then you’ll want to check out these best simple living books. Featuring everything from decluttering and organization tips, to advice on living a more fulfilling life with less, these books are sure to motivate and inspire you.
Here are 20 simple living books to help you take back control of your life this year.
Read also: 21 Simple Living Tips To Reduce Stress
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Here are 20 simple living books to help you take back control of your life this year
Table of Contents
- 1. The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
- 2. Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist
- 3. The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz
- 4. Soulful Simplicity: How Living With Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver
- 5. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- 6. Everything that Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists
- 7. The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker
- 8. The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essentials… in Business and in Life by Leo Babauta
- 9. Zen: The Art of Simple Living by Shunmyō Masuno
- 10. Down to Earth: A Guide to Simple Living by Rhonda Hetzel
- 11. The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
- 12. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- 13. You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s cheap) by Tammy Strobel
- 14. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
- 15. The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
- 16. Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle
- 17. Simply Living Well: A Guide to Creating a Natural, Low-Waste Home by Julia Watkins
- 18. Living with Less: An Unexpected Key to Happiness by Joshua Becker
- 19. Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary
- 20. The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living by Janet Luhrs
1. The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
Her guide is broken down into four parts:
Part 1 outlines the many benefits and rewards of decluttering and paring down our belongings, and why living a simple life can result in a much happier and more fulfilling life.
Part 2 covers purging, organizing, sorting through drawers and closets, putting systems in place to maintain order once your purge is complete. Francine calls this the STEAMLINE method.
We are not what we own; we are what we do, what we think and who we love.francine jay
Part 3 shows us exactly how to use the STREAMLINE method to tackle each room in your home individually.
Part 4 is a chapter on minimising your to do list and free up your time so you have more time to enjoy life. She then wraps it all up and covers maintaining a simple lifestyle and how to keep your uncluttered space uncluttered.
The Joy of Less is a useful book for those who want to declutter their lives, but need guidance on how to start and where to begin the process. It’s very much like having your own personal guide alongside you as you begin.
2. Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist
We, the human race, tend to think that we must be perfect in order to succeed. We have this idea that if we are not perfect, then our lives are not good. This drives us to strive for perfection, even when it is at the expense of being present in our own lives.
Present Over Perfect follows Niequist’s journey from being constantly on the go, tired and burnt out to slowing down, simplifying her life and living with intention. In this inspiring read Niequist discusses hectic schedules, constant comparison to neighbours and friends, feeling like she was constantly behind on her life goals and how it all took a toll on her mental health.
The world will tell you how to live, if you let it. Don’t let it. Take up your space. Raise your voice. Sing your song. This is your chance to make or remake a life that thrills you.Shauna Niequist
Present Over Perfect is a book about living a life without guilt and shame, and enjoying the beauty of what you have instead of constantly striving for more. It also discusses how taking small moments to appreciate your surroundings can lead to a simple but fulfilling life.
This book is an excellent read for those who are feeling burnt out or feel as though they are not living the life they want because they don’t have time to do what they enjoy. It’s also a valuable read for those who feel as though their lives and relationships are lacking without having so much stuff.
3. The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz
Have you ever found yourself with too much choice that you freeze, not knowing what to do, and end up trying to have everything instead? You end up coming home from the shops with five things instead of the one you needed as you couldn’t make the right choice?
The Paradox of Choice discusses the psychological theories that explain why having too many options can have a negative impact on your decision making and overall happiness. This book explores the real-world significance of being presented with more choices as well as how it affects our everyday lives as consumers, employees and citizens.
Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in a world of unlimited possibilities is harder still, perhaps too hard.Barry Schwartz
Schwartz also presents some insightful tips for achieving satisfaction with the choices you do make, and devising a strategy to help you select the right options.
While this book does not directly discuss simple living it certainly helps to understand why having less may actually lead us to be happier in life. By consciously reducing our choices we can keep life manageable and focus on the things that really matter.
4. Soulful Simplicity: How Living With Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver
Soulful Simplicity is probably one of my favourite books which has inspired me to live a more simpler life.
When the author, Courtney Carver, was diagnosed with MS, she knew she had to slow down and reduce the amount of stress she was facing as a result of her busy lifestyle. This spoke to me greatly because of my own battles with stress and my chronic illnesses.
Soulful Simplicity is about relinquishing the ‘badge of honour’ that is earned by being busy all of the time without any real purpose. It’s about cutting out the things that are not adding to your life and nurturing yourself.
Start to think about what really matters to you. If you aren’t sure at first, don’t worry. Sometimes you have to get rid of the things that don’t matter to let the things that do rise to the surface.Courtney Carver
Carver discusses how living with less stuff can give you more freedom, lightness and clarity of thought so you are able to focus on what is important to you.
She provides tips on how to simplify your home, your schedule and even your approach to life. She encourages you to take time out for yourself each day, find ways to enjoy life’s little moments and make conscious choices when it comes to the things you own, do and say.
This book is a must read for those who are feeling overwhelmed by life. It’s also a good read for those who feel as though their life is controlled or dictated by material possessions, time pressures or even chronic illness.
5. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Are you overloaded, overbooked and overwhelmed? A busy life can often lead to us feeling as though we are chasing our tails. We may feel like there is not enough time for everything so we prioritise what is important to us.
However, this could be at the expense of the things that will help us feel more fulfilled.
Essentialism shows how we can gain control over our lives by focusing on what is essential and learning to say ‘no’ so we have time for the things that truly matter. It encourages readers to forge their own unique path and not be afraid to stand out from the crowd.
The message of this book is a simple one: less is more. It’s about questioning whether each activity you take on adds value to your life and not doing anything that doesn’t align with your values, passions or reason for being alive. These are the things that matter most in life so it makes sense to get rid of everything else.
You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.Greg McKeown
While being productive is important, this book encourages you to focus on doing only the things that matter so you do not over-commit yourself or take on too much at once.
This book will resonate with those who feel as though their life is running away from them and they are no longer in control. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do or feel as though your time is constantly being interrupted, then this book will encourage you to look deep within yourself for the answer to achieving more through less.
6. Everything that Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists
Everything that Remains is written by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, better known as The Minimalists.
It’s about two men who were successful in traditional careers but hated what they did with their lives. They felt they were sacrificing precious time to accumulate wealth only to end up dying disappointed, broke and unfulfilled.
In this book, The Minimalists share personal stories about the journey towards minimalism and how it can transform your life. All material possessions are examined in detail to determine if they add value or bring you joy. If not, then the Minimalists encourage readers to let go of their attachment to these things.
You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.the minimalists
The Minimalists encourage you to stop consuming mindlessly and live a life of intention by focusing on what really matters most, such as the people in your life, experiences and things that make you happy.
“Not a how-to book, but a why-to book”.
This book will inspire those who feel as though their lives lack meaning or purpose and want to start living a simple, less cluttered existence.
7. The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker
Joshua Becker is one of the most influential voices in the minimalist living movement, and he also runs Becoming Minimalist. He’s gotten hundreds of thousands of people to rethink their lives and choices and is by far my biggest influence when it comes to my minimalist journey.
The More of Less encourages you to reduce the amount of stuff in your life, while also rethinking what’s most important. It will help you realise that buying material possessions is not a ticket to happiness and offers suggestions on how to free yourself from constant consumption so you can focus on living with more meaning and purpose.
The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.joshua becker
Becker passionately believes we can live better with less, becoming more carefree and happier in the process. He believes that you can have everything you need without filling your life with superfluous material possessions that only serve to drain your energy.
This book is perfect for those who are overwhelmed by their possessions are looking for less stress and more happiness.
8. The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essentials… in Business and in Life by Leo Babauta
The Power of Less encourages readers to take control of their lives and focus on what really matters most.
Leo Babauta is a minimalist blogger and the creator of Zen Habits which has become one of the most widely-read productivity and simplicity blogs on the web.
This book will resonate with those who feel as though their life is in need of simplification and want to cut down on mindless spending and overindulgence. It will help you look at your life differently and find new, better ways to live so you can become happier with how you spend your time.
Doing a huge number of things doesn’t mean you’re getting anything meaningful done.Leo Babauta
It provides simple steps for getting more done by doing less. The key is found in the title itself – the power of less. Babauta teaches that we should strip away all non-essential tasks and concentrate on only the basics which are essential to our happiness.
9. Zen: The Art of Simple Living by Shunmyō Masuno
Zen: The Art of Simple Living is a beautifully written guide by Buddhist monk, Shunmyō Masuno, about Zen philosophy and the ways that its teachings can be applied to everyday life.
It contains practical and easy lessons to learn how to to live simply in 100 days or less. You will learn how to find happiness by making small changes in what you do, your interaction with other and appreciate the present moment. Peace and inner calm are at the heart of this book.
Those who do not pay attention to their foot- steps cannot know themselves, and cannot know where their life is going.Shunmyō Masuno
The author shows you how to clear your life and mind of the outside world and achieve happiness through detachment and inner peace, all while maintaining a healthy work-life balance
This book will inspire those who want to lead a calmer, richer and more meaningful life by looking within themselves through the practice of Zen philosophy. It’s perfect for anyone interested in Buddhism or simply wanting to make their life simpler and find what really matters most.
10. Down to Earth: A Guide to Simple Living by Rhonda Hetzel
Down to Earth is a practical guide to simplifying your life in a sustainable way. It’s designed to help you look at minimalist living in a whole new light and provides the inspiration and practical advice needed for anyone who wants to downsize their life.
I was pulled into simple living before I knew what it was. It crept up on me using the smallest of steps and didn’t reveal its true beauty and real power until I was totally hooked.rhonda hetzel
It will teach you simple, practical habits that can make your life more rewarding while also saving you money and reducing your impact on the environment.
You’ll learn how to grow your own tomatoes, make soap from scratch, preserve fruit and bake bread, in an effort to sustain a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
11. The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
This inspiring and insightful book really resonated with me, having had a similar journey as the author.
In her late 20s, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in a cycle of consumerism, fuelled by growing pressures of adulthood. She started to recognise that her life was out of control and becoming increasingly unhappy with the way she consumed.
One lesson I’ve learned countless times over the years is that whenever you let go of something negative in your life, you make room for something positive.cait flanders
Out of this, The Year of Less was born – a challenging experiment in which Cait committed herself to only buy consumable items (groceries, toiletries and other day to day essentials) for an entire year. She cut out alcohol, gave herself a TV ban and stopped clothes shopping.
Throughout her Year of Less, Cait reduced her belongings by 70% and was able to clear $30,000 in debt along the way.
This book is a raw, personal and witty account of her journey to minimalism. It’s full of useful tips for reducing your spending while also learning how to improve your way of life.
12. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo is a household name at this stage and her show was one of the first I’ve seen that inspired me. To this day, my clothes are still folded the way she shows in her TV show!
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a must-read for anyone who is tired of living in clutter and wants to transform their home into a place of beauty, peace and inspiration.
The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.Marie kondo
The Konmari method has the power to help you embrace minimalism by simplifying your life and removing all of the negative influences that act as invisible weight on our shoulders.
Marie Kondo teaches how to love what you have and only keep things that ‘spark joy’ within. You can let go of everything else, thanking the items for being a part of your life and the joy they once brought you.
13. You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s cheap) by Tammy Strobel
I must admit, while you’re never supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, I saw the title to this one and was super intrigued!
Tammy Strobel and her husband were once the average middle class couple – long commute to work, two cars, living above their means. Now they are living a life with less debt, less stress and less stress.
You can be happier by helping others, donating to charities, and buying a few small pleasures.Tammy Strobel
You Can Buy Happiness is a light-hearted approach to minimalism and happiness. It contains inspirational words to help you to reduce the amount of stuff you own while helping you to become more mindful about living your life.
This book is perfect for anyone who feels like they’re drowning in stuff and wants to simplify their life fast. It’s lighthearted, inspiring and will help release the pressure on your shoulders!
14. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
If you’re anything like me, then you find it hard to put down your phone. We always seem to have our phones glued to our hands – Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, it becomes addictive!
Cal Newport says it can be better for us to set boundaries with our devices and design the life we want using technology rather than allowing our smartphones to dictate how we spend our time.
Digital Minimalism A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.Cal Newport
Digital Minimalism is a guide to help you control the noise and distractions of technology and focus on what’s truly important in your life. Cal Newport gives tips such as turning off notifications and taking regular device-free breaks.
This book is a great read for anyone who wants to enjoy their uninterrupted time, free from the distractions of technology, while maintaining the connection with your friends and family.
15. The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
Hygge (pronounced Hue-guh) is a major new trend and lifestyle for countless people who are looking to live a happier life.
The Little Book of Hygge has become an international bestseller and will help you to embrace the hygge life in all aspects of your world. Hygge is a way of living that encourages you to spend more time with loved ones, while embracing your inner warmth and happiness.
Live life today like there is no coffee tomorrow.Meik Wiking
This book will help you embrace the art of coziness, even when faced with the harshness of winter! It’s full of practical tips on how to introduce more hygge into your life, from lighting candles to making a meal with loved ones.
If you need to fall in love with your home again, then this is the perfect book for you!
Read also: How Minimalism and Hygge Make a Cosy Home
16. Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle
Erin Boyle teaches how to live with less and embrace a lifestyle of material simplicity. She aims to show you how to be free from the excess stuff in your life, so you can focus on what is most important.
Simple Matters will help you discover new ways to simplify your home and life. It contains practical tips on decluttering your space and that living simply and purposely is more sustainable for your life.
When I think about adding a new thing to my home, I think first of its beauty, second of its utility, and finally of its staying power.erin boyle
This is the perfect book for anyone who is looking to live with less stuff and therefore more freedom! If you’re interested in minimalism but feel like it’s too daunting of a challenge, this is the perfect read for you.
17. Simply Living Well: A Guide to Creating a Natural, Low-Waste Home by Julia Watkins
Simply Living Well is filled with practical helpful tips on how to create a more natural, low waste home. It will teach you easy ways to reduce your waste while becoming more self-sufficient in your home.
Julia Watkins helps you make simple swaps toward a zero waste lifestyle and when possible introduce reusable items into your life to become less wasteful. You’ll get practical checklists with easy swaps you can make around the home to help with sustainable living.
I do think there’s no better way to enrich your life than learning about the way things used to be and weaving into your daily routine at least a few time-honored practices and traditions whose simplicity and charm nourish the mind, body, and spirit.julia watkins
Whether you’re just starting your journey to a more environmentally conscious home or you want to take your natural lifestyle to the next level, this book is perfect for anyone who wants easy ways to help create a greener home.
18. Living with Less: An Unexpected Key to Happiness by Joshua Becker
Another great one by Joshua Becker, Living With Less is aimed towards teenagers and young adults.
Since day one, we’re programmed to constantly want more. And how can we not, with the advertisements, social media and world at our fingertips?
Owning less is better than organizing more.joshua becker
Living With Less aims to influence the future of young people to take control of their lives from the culture that is constantly telling us what we need to be happy. It encourages readers to rethink their priorities, rid themselves of excess stuff and instead embrace a simpler life by focusing on what’s truly important.
This book will help young people embrace a life of simplicity and practicality, which is the key to happiness.
19. Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary
So you’ve decided to embrace a simpler lifestyle and manage your home with more simplicity and less chaos, but that overwhelming feeling still haunts you? You want to simplify your life, but don’t know how it will even be possible?
Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World is the perfect book for the person who wants a simple life, but has a lot going on. Brooke McAlary describes slow living as “stepping away from the never-ending demands to constantly succeed and acquire more and more”.
Always pay attention to what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Use it as a tool, not as a crutchBrooke mcalary
This book will teach you how to slow down and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. It will help you embrace a lifestyle of less stress with realistic tips on simplicity. Instead of overwhelming yourself by trying to change everything at once, you can begin practicing these techniques one step at a time until they become part of your daily routines.
Another great read for the busy person who wants to take steps towards a simpler life.
20. The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living by Janet Luhrs
The Simple Living Guide has everything you need to know about deliberate and intentional living.
Author Janet Luhrs offers a lot of great tips for creating a simpler lifestyle while also offering encouragement and celebrating personal achievements. It’s perfect for the person who wants to take small steps toward a life with less stress and more joy.
This book is filled with inspiration, encouragement and practical advice on how to live a life of simplicity. It offers advice on decluttering your home, embracing minimalism and becoming less wasteful.
Simple living is about living deliberately. Simple living is not about austerity, or frugality, or income level. It’s about being fully aware of why you are living your particular life, and knowing that life is one you have chosen thoughtfully.Janet Luhrs
Whether you’re looking for motivation to start living with less or you want more ideas on how simplify your life in specific areas, this is one you’ll want to reference throughout your journey or keep on hand as a great resource!
So, there you have it. Twenty of the best simple living books to inspire simplicity in your life now and always. I’ve included my favorite simple living books with their titles and authors and why they are great for someone looking to simplify their lives.
If you’re looking for a new book, why not consider one of these simple living books – or audiobook if you’re looking to reduce the amount of physical books in your space.
Do you own any of these simple living books? Which ones have resonated with you and the way you live your life?