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Living Simple, Free & Happy: How to Simplify, Declutter Your Home, and Reduce Stress, Debt, and Waste

3.04  ·  Rating Details ·  129 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Upcycle Your Life

Get ready to trade in headaches and hassles for life skills, exchange clutter for money, transform eyesores into beautiful focal points in your home, and say goodbye to over-consumption and hello to genuine experiences.

Cristin Frank, the original Reduction Rebel, shows you the freedom and fulfillment you can have when you simplify your life. You'll learn h
Paperback, 176 pages
Published March 15th 2013 by Betterway Home (first published February 15th 2013)
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Dec 12, 2013 Amy rated it it was ok
Shelves: how-to, nonfiction
The latest in an anti-consumerism trend, this book offers some ideas for people who are perhaps at a different point in life than me, although the author seems to be around my age.

She begins by discussing how she and her husband paid off student loans and their mortgage in their 30s by cutting back to one car and having her stay home with their family, while recycling and repurposing cast-offs and garbage from neighbors to furnish their home. She's justifiably proud of the money she's saved, but
Feb 09, 2016 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: organizing-not
Picked this up for $5.00; thought it might motivate me in my ongoing effort to get rid of clutter. Well, paper to be exact. I don't have other forms of clutter, but I struggle with paper and always have.

The author says, "Buck the cycle of mindless entertainment, disposable everything, and the infatuation with what others have. . . . Say goodbye to over-consumption" (p. 6). While I agree (generally) with the author's philosophy, there was little practical information. There's a whole chapter on t
Apr 20, 2015 Jordan rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
There was a way bigger focus on upcycling in this book than I expected. And unfortunately the majority of the examples in the book were really not that great. As much as I like duct tape I would not want to cover a whole table in it. And the coffee table made from a door and a chair sawn in half was just weird. I'd really rather not have a table if that was my only option. I do like the idea of using what you have and I have seen some cool upcycling projects, unfortunately just not in this book. ...more
Aug 11, 2016 Sam rated it really liked it
I kind of loved this little book. I loved that she shared what worked for her family, and didn't profess to share anything that promised more.

The book got me started thinking about how I can do things differently while achieving similar results. As that was likely the intent behind the book itself (to get people thinking critically about their own situations), that's why I love it. Not because it gave me a detailed plan on "how to simplify," but because it immediately got me thinking about how I
Dec 22, 2013 LemontreeLime rated it really liked it
This is a very good cheerleader book for convincing/reminding/encouraging you to look at what you don't need or use in your home. I've been feeling stymied for months, unsure how to get from a to b with all of the things ive collected over the years. The answer is - you can't, unless you want to resemble the 'Junk Lady' puppet from Jim Henson's Labyrinth. It's not a book Id want to hold on to forever but its definitely a good one to borrow from the library. I suspect the author herself would ...more
Oct 05, 2016 Emily rated it liked it
A good first crack at helping readers conquer clutter and lead passionate lives. Concisely written with easy project ideas to get things going. Great ideas for non-consumer activities to do individually or as part of a group.
Kitty Jay
One day, I will find a decluttering/organizing book that does not rest on the assumption that you are (a) married, (b) have kids, (c) own your own home. Today, however, is not that day.

Living Simple, Free & Happy takes the cutesy premise of "Reduction Rebels", people who upcycle and declutter and reuse rather than buy new things, to inspire people to get themselves out of debt and live a simple life. While the idea is nice, some of the author's suggestions are a little alarming. She maintain
Laura Hughes
Sep 04, 2015 Laura Hughes rated it it was ok
This is one of those simplicity books that has a very vague and all-encompassing title but actually focuses on a fairly specific subtopic, in this case, upcycling.

The introductory chapters and conclusion are all about the general benefits of living frugally as a means to the end of financial independence. I like the way the author describes herself as a "Reduction Rebel," because I find the self-image of a rebel to be a very effective motivator. But, I'm not a big fan of the book's general voic
Melissa Massello
Jun 24, 2014 Melissa Massello rated it really liked it
Is there anyone out there who doesn't want to reduce stress, debt, and waste? Cristin Frank has decluttered and upcycled her way to paying off her 30-year mortgage in under 7 years, and her first book, Living Simple, Free & Happy shares her secrets on how to clear your home, life, and schedule of things that weigh you down.

Frank is the champion of the Reduction Rebel lifestyle— using your talents and common sense to get out of the cycle of mass-production, as well as being able to saying no
Shawn [The Nerd Stop!]
This book was full of useful projects, websites, and sources into living simple and with less clutter/debt/waste/etc. I was interested in how Frank (author) set up goals and plans to make your life more simple. The goal of this book was to live with more self reliance and to buy or use things in your own that will benefit you and not become a problem in your life. (example: three cars, or extra items that are not needed.) The resources and advice in this book were helpful, but I felt like it was ...more
Aug 23, 2015 Loraine rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Although I wasn't greatly attracted to this book I was able to find a few ideas and quotes for thought to complement my task of 'letting go'. The recycling of furniture was a large turn off as it really didn't fit my ideas of interior design and the pictures only added to this. The concepts of possessions owning you as you have to tidy the garage, store and clean them etc. really had me thinking more about my inability to 'let go' of items. The thought of not only more space but good karma ...more
Jan 23, 2015 Tasha rated it did not like it
The tone this author took really rubbed me the wrong way.
There were very little advice on actually downsizing or living simple, and a lot of advice on garbage picking, and 'refurbishing items that you have garbage picked.
Unfortunately, the photos of the repurposed & refurbished items in the book did not look very good - most were dark. The items in the photos themselves did not also look that great as an example.
I understand that part of the author's statement is that you will get better by
May 28, 2014 Maggie rated it did not like it
This book was pretty terrible. There were a few nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout, but there was not enough to justify reading this book. The author came off as very judgmental and self-righteous, and a lot of her ideas make no sense at all. She also offered some design options with refurbished pieces. Some designs were good while other made did not make aesthetic or functional sense. The entire book was just her rambling on. Reading this book was like being stuck at a dinner party in a ...more
Mar 05, 2014 Jared rated it it was amazing
This book isn't perfect (some sections could have been left out and some of the messages are repetitive), but I'm giving it 5 stars because the message and insights are great (and the book is short enough as is).

Although the book is based mostly on anecdotes and emotional arguments (i.e. this is not scientific), I felt that the steps to and reasons for simplifying your life resonated very well.

If you're feeling over-stressed, questioning taking on more debt, or just looking for some more reasons
Tyler Griffith
Aug 12, 2014 Tyler Griffith rated it it was ok
Shelves: home
The most interesting take-away from this book was: consider the time attached to new things. For example, that silk shirt will require special cleaning and careful wear, so maybe the cotton one next to it will suit your lifestyle more. That point is interesting the first time you read it, but chapter after chapter repeats it and I lost interest. I finished it out of determination but gained little after the first chapter. Maybe skim this book at your library, but I wouldn't bother checking it ...more
Mar 15, 2016 Katherine rated it liked it
This book takes on decluttering and reduction of debt and waste. There are personal stories, exercises, as well as lots and lots of ideas on how to use what you have and upcycle discarded items.
Admittedly, this was not the book that I need in my simplifying and minimizing journey but I would suggest it to someone getting their own place for the first time, maybe someone starting out and in need of a general guidebook.
Jun 08, 2013 Ashley rated it really liked it
Contains some tips on debt reduction but pretty basic in this area. However, does not focus deeply on current money matters that change with time (ex. interest rates), like some other books in this genre. Encouraging tone but not obnoxious. Also contains step-by-steps for some simple projects you can learn to do yourself, lists of resources, and recipes. A good option.
Sonja Cannell
May 14, 2014 Sonja Cannell rated it really liked it
I found this book to be a great resource and encouragement to be a "Reduction Rebel" rather than a hoarder -- A Reduction Hoarder" forgoes all the little stuff so they can focus on finding items truly worthy of their money and time." You find great tips for saving money, downsizing, and living a debt-free life.
Christy Wheeler
Feb 11, 2015 Christy Wheeler rated it it was amazing
I felt like this book was full of useful tips on how to simplify your life. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for new ways to save money, feel free of your possessions, and really enjoy what you have.
Jan 17, 2016 Jen rated it it was ok
Nothing revolutionary or mind blowing. It's a quick read with some steps broken down for up cycling projects, but nothing I plan to do soon. It lacked concrete advice on where to start with finances and purging belongings, and everything else was just eh.
Dec 10, 2014 S rated it liked it
One of the better simplify/declutter books. More about trying to "fix up" and sell stuff than declutter, but still amusing. Not a complete loss. 3*
Jul 15, 2013 Carrie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home-making
A nice take on the whole organize-your-house genre. Enjoyable read and happy that I came away with some thoughts on the clutter in my corners and what to do about them.
Jun 16, 2013 Kristin rated it liked it
Well, it encouraged me to finally getting around to selling some things I'd been hanging onto for nostalgic reasons. Simple message but I liked it.
While I don't think I will go dumpster diving anytime soon, there were a lot of other useful tips on minimizing and uncluttering in all areas of life.
Mar 21, 2014 Vanessa rated it liked it
Maybe I've read too many of these simplify books but this one just didn't do it for me. It has some good information but I didn't find it all that inspiring.
Jules Lambert
Jules Lambert rated it it was amazing
Jul 25, 2015
Carolyn J Kibbe
Carolyn J Kibbe rated it really liked it
Jan 29, 2016
Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Sep 04, 2013
Danielle rated it liked it
Oct 23, 2016
Deborah rated it really liked it
Nov 18, 2014
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“Just because you lived through times of sacrifice doesn’t mean you over-compensate when your situation changes. If” 0 likes
“So many people think buckets of money will solve or eliminate the stresses in life. Such is not the case. More is more and less is less. In other words, the more you bring into your life, the more you have to maintain. If you are accumulating things, the initial purchase is just the beginning. In addition to any debt you took on to make the purchase, this new item you now own may need to be stored, dusted, watered, cleaned, oiled, tightened, filled, emptied, refilled, tuned, insured, renewed—or any number of other time-consuming (and possibly expensive) maintenance chores. If you avoid the purchase altogether, you cut out the chain reaction of obligations to this thing. So” 0 likes
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