Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter
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Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  845 ratings  ·  93 reviews
More than 1,000,000 copies in print!

The more complex life becomes, the more people crave simplicity. Whether it's in your work, relationships, health, finances, or leisure time, North America's simplicity expert Elaine St. James can help you learn to unwind and improve the quality of your life. If you're feeling over-powered, overextended, and overwhelmed, SIMPLIFY YOUR LI...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 1st 1994 by Hyperion (first published 1994)
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Manzoid
The book reads like a collection of household tips, e.g., "Hints from Heloise".
Truly simplifying your life takes a lot more thought and effort than the tips in this book would imply. We live in a society that strongly encourages us to consume and/or strive for status. Real life simplification usually means painfully recognizing and kicking away many ego crutches, summoning up the discipline to let go of a lot in order to focus on what really matters.

To her credit, the author has a significantly...more
Sherilee
She has 100 practical suggestions to simplify your hectic lifestyle. Her thinking clarifies my thinking on why some people are sooo busy! Because they make their lives busy. I've seen people who make their lives more complicated, dramatic, going from one crises to the next. It makes me wonder if some people actually enjoy running around like a headless chicken!

She explores each aspect of our lives and makes suggestions on how to get rid of the fluff, to give you more time to do the things you re...more
Cindy
This book had about 3 really good tips in it; the rest, as far as I was concerned, was total bunk. I am sure it would be useful for the target audience, but I realized as I read it that I am NOT the target audience!!! This book was obviously written toward rich, workaholic 90s era yuppies. I kid you not, in one part of the book St. James brags that her methods will help you get rid of "your gardener, your cook, your housekeeper, your organization consultant, your personal shopper, your psychothe...more
Alice


I felt the ideas in this book were a little "out there". I'm all about simplifying but ideas like "get rid of your lawn" or "get rid of your phone" aren't really that practical. I also felt the the author was an old curmudgeon who got rid of all her stuff and never did anything fun, or spent any money in order to have a "simple" life. It just wasn't selling it for me.
Allie
I guess I was expecting more. I read about this book on Zen Habits, which I love. But given the amount of awesome advice out there readily available I just wasn't at all impressed by this. Step 1 is "reduce the clutter in your life." How you ask? By just getting rid of the clutter! Perfect. How had I not thought of that before? This might have been a good read when it was published (in 1994) but now I don't really see its relevance to me. Speaking of the publication date, it is also tremendously...more
Fatcatwatch
This is The go to book for simplicity written for the twitter generation (as opposed to Walden for people that have time), it will cause you question the rush in your life if you have not already done so and it will make you realise that "the value of anything is how much time you are willing to exchange for it"..... It is full of honest evaluations and suggestions like; sell the boat, get a smaller place, reduce the clutter in your life.... if we all valued the principals in this book the world...more
Susan O'Bryant
I thought this book was chock-full of great ideas and tips to not only to help simplify a hectic life, but also to learn to enjoy life more and make more time for yourself and your family. I wrote down 25 things that I plan to start doing immediately and I'm already excited about the changes I know will happen. Plus, it was consoling and confirming to read #98: Stop Making the Bed (which I found funny that it was in the "hard-core simplicity" section).

Reading this book will give you a new sense...more
Carrie Marcotte
I got this years ago when I was doing something similar for a New Year's resolution. I found it so easy to follow and so logical, that I have since then encorporated a lot of the recommendations into my everyday life. It's written in simple one or two page chapters and you can do the chapters as you see fit in your life. It starts off simply, in your own house, such as 'reduce the clutter,' 'cutting down the grocery shopping' and gets to 'get rid of your lawn.' It moves into life-style, finances...more
Karen
100 tips for simplifying your life. This book was a little hit or miss for me, though there are plenty of really good tips as well. Part of it's problem is that's it's fairly dated (1994). I can't say I really learned anything new from its pages - I'm already either doing a lot of these things or am in the process of simplifying to that end. Basically, get rid of the clutter, ditch the back-ups, simplify your wardrobe, eliminate the excess activities, move to a smaller home, shop less. I think I...more
Mary
Nov 28, 2009 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Mary by: spotted it in a book store
Don't we all wish we could simplify our lives? This woman did it and so can I. I'm positive. I just have to read this book a few more times. It's always in a prominent position on my shelf and its presence reiminds me of its good suggestions, many of which I adhere to.
Breena
Jan 11, 2012 Breena rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Love these ideas. I think every one needs to stream line and simplify to save time for the things that matter most. I like the house hold ideas and especially the laundry ones. We are implementing these now!

Best idea yet -take a vacation at home. Try it!
Chrystal
I loved most of the suggestions. I can't quite bring myself to live some of them but I already live by many of them. This book helps me to keep my focus on what "things" are really important.
Amanda
Well I already do a lot of the things she suggests changing but I agree with a lot of her ideas and will probably read more by this author even though it was published in the early 90's.
♥ Aphrodite
I haven't read all 100 but once in a while I go through it to get more ideas. The ones I've read and applied so far have been helpful.

I recommend this book to anyone.
Heather
She had a big job, big clients, and probably big hair. It was the big 80s, and she was the most 80s-est person evar. But then the decade turned, and Elaine St. James rethought everything. In 1994 she wrote this modest book about simplification. During the first few chapters I was sort of rolling my eyes at how very clearly a reaction to the 80s this book was. This woman clearly had a more complicated life (and more money at her disposal) than I ever have had—but then I found out this book was th...more
Jackie
I requested this book by accident, while searching for another book on the topic of simplicity. It wasn't quite what I was looking for, which made me tempted to give it a poor review. But I can't really blame the book for my own expectation. So, in all objectiveness, setting aside starting out on the wrong foot: I give it 2 stars.

There are different definitions of living simply and each person has to figure out what that means to them. For the most part, St James sticks with a stress reduction m...more
Tom Romig
Skip this one, not only because it's nearly 20 years old but because even when published it wasn't worth it. Sure, there are some good ideas here, but they're mostly obvious--move to a smaller house, get out of debt, that sort of thing.

There's also the question of who this is intended for. The author says at one point that, "once you start simplifying...you won't need the cleaning lady...the cook...the chauffeur...a fashion consultant...a book keeper...a shopping service...the gardener" and so...more
Kim Tong Lim
The book has an impact on me and I have practised some of the ideas and it has simplified my life.

Top on the list of 100 ways is: Reduce clutter in your life

Start by going through your wardrobes and then move on to your bookshelves, drawers, around the house and do the same at your office.

The rule is simple, if you have not used or referred to the items you have kept for a year and more, then they are not worth keeping. These items can be disposed. If you have items that you think is of use to...more
Talyah
While a large portion of Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter seems to apply to people who have money to spare, there are a few ideas that the average Joe could use.

One way I was able to simplify my life while reading this is by doing what I loath and skipping parts that didn't really apply to me. Like getting rid of your gardener, your cook, your personal shopper. There are a lot of ways people like me already live the simple life. Then there were a...more
Emily
It was in the bargain section of Barnes n noble. I do want to simplify, but I don't know that I buy into all her ideas, like carrying a small purse because all you need is cash and lipstick. Don't own a home , get rid of your lawn and garden, pets create more work.

Some of the good points , be in bed by 9 at least 1 night a week, take time to watch the sunset, spend some time in solitude, if it's not working stop doing it, learn to laugh.
Jeremy Preacher
Simplify Your Life is stuck firmly in the (very) early nineties, but it remains charming and often useful despite that. While the admonition to get rid of your "car phone" because of the "as-yet-unperfected technology" sounds awfully quaint, the fundamental question about the wisdom of multitasking and the necessity of being perpetually available remains worth examining.

I reread this every few years - it's basically a collection of very short admonitions about a wide variety of topics, and it go...more
Diane
I first read this book shortly after it came out in the 1994. An urge to simplify came over me again recently and so I picked it up and reread it. It surprised me to realize how many of the suggestions in the book I have actually implemented. It was also interesting to realize how much has changed in the twenty years since this book was written. One suggestion (#32) is to get rid of the car phone. When this was written the author did not conceive of a time when the world would be dominated by ce...more
McKinnon
I liked this little book. I does run counter to the movement for high productivity and great accomplishments in one's life, but I suppose that is really the point of the book. This book shows, in many ways, how much of what we strive for accomplishing in our lives is, in the end, making us miserable, or in the least may not be adding a great amount of happiness to our lives. I would caution the reader to take some of the advice with a grain of salt, so he/she does not just become a home-body, no...more
Ana T.
Having two small children at home and not that much space - not to mention a growing need to declutter both my home and my mind - have led me to look for books that could be halpful in that process. I had seen this one recommended on a minimalist blog I visit so I decided to try it.

I wasn't as happy with it as I thought I would be. Some suggestions were just common sense and others showed concerns that are totally outside my reality but I guess for a fist read on the subject it wasn't that bad a...more
Renee
I requested this book from the library because it's the basis for a team that I love on SparkPeople. It was okay but not wonderful, in large part because I already do most of what St. James recommends. There are, however, one or two exercises that I do want to sit down and complete, just to put parts of my life in better focus.

I'm currently reading the next in the series of 3 books (as I said, I didn't dislike this one, just found it somewhat superfluous) and am getting more out of it. I'd recom...more
Sandy
This book was too simplified!

Out of 8 chapters, I only felt that I could take away something from the section on Health. And then there was the traditional "Clean out your clutter."

This edition was printed in 2001 and talks about getting rid of your "car phone." I'm not sure updating it would make it any better.

On the positive side, there were 100 easy to read suggestions that each ran a page or two in length.

Maybe my life is already simplified (except for the clutter). Maybe I am not ready to s...more
Carley
A good quick read, the information in it is a little dated though
Dianne Whitney
Very informative if one is interested in truly simplifying life.
Ginger Hallett
Feb 23, 2014 Ginger Hallett rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Brankovic
Old data- not entirely realistic in today's day.
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