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Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More
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Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,531 ratings  ·  199 reviews
For anyone looking to declutter, organize, and simplify, author Erin Boyle shares practical guidance and personal insights on small-space living and conscious consumption. At once pragmatic and philosophical, Simple Matters is a nod to the growing consensus that living simply and purposefully is more sustainable not only for the environment, but for our own happiness and w ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Harry N. Abrams (first published December 29th 2015)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,531 ratings  ·  199 reviews

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Sep 27, 2016 rated it liked it
A nice, simple book about simplicity. Enjoyable read, but can we talk about the sprig of flowers Taped. To the wall.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-self-help
I loved every single page of this book. It's the perfect coffee table book to flick through over a cup of tea or to sit and devour in few sittings (like I did). It's filled with practical tips to not just living the minimalist lifestyle but loving everything you own and caring about what you bring into your home and let into your body. Never preachy or judgmental, it felt like having a conversation with a friend. I can't recommend this book enough!
Alissa Dorfman
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Let's just say this was not the book I thought it was. I started reading this because I thought it was a book about organizing. I always like to read what's out there as sort of a continuing education course of my own design. This book isn't about that, not really. It's really about having some sort of zen lifestyle that you can only achieve before you have children or if you write a blog about it and are forced to make your own face scrub so you won't be shamed by your fans on FB. The author su ...more
May 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'm a regular reader of Boyle's blog "Reading My Tea Leaves," her muse on living a simple life in Brooklyn. This is not a critique of Boyle, but more of the genre of design and lifestyle bloggers who get book deals and end up writing books that seem steeped in classism and white privilege.
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I would recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about minimal living; it's a gentle introduction with personal essays and helpful advice on how to live simply. Erin Boyle writes the blog Reading My Tea Leaves and is a true inspiration for "making do with less and ending up with more." Simple Matters provides guidance and personal insights into small-space living and conscious consumption; it's about living with purposeful in a more sustainable way, for our environment but al ...more
Artemisia Hunt
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-a-copy
Simple Matters describes, and portrays in quiet photos, an elegant, artistic approach to simple, sustainable living. While Zen-like in its spare, minimalist philosophy, there is also a sweet soulfulness and inviting purity to the idea of such a pared-down, no frills lifestyle. This may not be achievable at this extreme for everyone, including myself, but still it's easy to find some attractive and inspiring ideas in this book based on author Erin Boyle's popular blog "Reading My Tea Leaves" Stil ...more
Marcy Graybill
Apr 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Back in 2014 I started clearing the clutter from my house, I got rid of many boxes and bags. I had more stuff boxed up to go out, when I had to have surgery on my ankle. So from the end of February to the end of April I was unable to walk on my right foot. I did not get the remaining boxes out nor did I clear more out. I spent the next few months just trying to get caught up. In January of this year, I began de-cluttering again and it felt good. Then I lost my motivation.
I've been checking out
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A practical and thoughtful book filled with beautiful photos and great advice for keeping things simple in your home. The author writes with a calm and approachable tone. This is the first book about minimalism that I genuinely connected with. I recommend!
May 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
This author conflates minimalism with her own design preference and an all natural/organic/environmentally-friendly lifestyle. With the stated goal of "simplicity" she presents her lifestyle as correct and anything else as unenlightened. This is the brand of snooty minimalism that gives it a bad name (To quote the author: "Here again, some of the answer lies in simply going without.") This is not a book I would recommend to someone starting a minimalist journey.
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Though there was a lot more practical advice in Marie Kondo's books, I felt like this was a lot more achievable and stressed me out less. I would recommend if you were interested in Marie's books but didn't quite get out of them what you thought you would.
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Erin's world is a little too colorless for me, but I do like the idea of living with less.
Holly Pablo Monasterial
Some tidbits I can get behind:
- storing food scraps in a bucket in the freezer to toss later
- taking a second look at vintage furniture that is made well
- removing household items from original packaging for decanting
- being mindful of items requested on your wedding registry
- maintaining only a small amount of baby toys and supplies
- finally paring down your collection of books (heartbreaking)

I've been on an organizing kick again lately. This book, however, is less about organization and more s
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was a perfect read as we prepare to move into our first house. We often complain about the clutter in our apartment and Erin Boyle paints a very simple picture of living with less that I know is much harder to actually live out. I may need to read this one again. Good stuff.
tonia peckover
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great book on living with contentment and thoughtfulness. Beautifully put together and well written.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Probably a good follow up to The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up if you need some inspiration to actually clean and Marie left you feeling like a cleansing fire was the only way forward.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I tend to be an easy to please reader, so I give out 5 stars to a lot of books. However there are a few, that truly deserve a bit more. Like this book. I would like to give it an extra star. While I do feel that the thoughts and ideas in the book are worthy of the 5 stars, I think that I was particularly ready to embrace them which is why I give it an extra star.

As stated in the beginning of this book, most organizing and decluttering books start by having too much stuff and needing to get rid
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I loved this book. The author provides fairly easy ideas to simplify our homes and lives. There is an emphasis on small spaces, but these ideas would be effective in any size space. I like that the chapters are de-cluttering, simplifying, organizing, etcetera, instead of living room, kitchen, garage, etcetera.
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked this. There wasn’t much in it that was new to me, but it did bring to my attention how I could do some things more environmentally than I do now. For example, Erin Boyle mentions that she freezes her compostable scraps and the like to keep them from developing a smell before she can dispose of them. Each week, she takes the scraps to the farmer’s market for composting. This was a manageable solution for something I would otherwise not have bothered with but may now consider doing.
Hannah Carlson
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Most of the info was not new to me, but I love her philosophy on life. This is a must read for someone who wants to live minimally, be good to the earth, and live frugally but beautifully.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home, nonfiction
“More begets more. It stands in the face of reason, but when we have too much stuff we’re likely to amass still more of it. We forget what we have. We start looking for solutions to contain what is already there, and in the process we bury what we started with and add to our ever-growing pile. We end up overwhelmed.”

I have loved Erin Boyle's blog, Reading My Tea Leaves, for years, so it is no surprise that I loved this book as well. Simple Matters is a readable and energizing summation of Boyle'
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was more of an extended blog post than a book -- one woman's opinion on how to live. I think how much you like it will depend on your personal circumstances. Like the author, I also live in a small apartment where "practicing minimalism" is synonymous with "living in New York City" so a lot of her suggestions are ones I already practice out of necessity. While she espouses good tips on focusing on natural products, the lack of research made them less compelling; for example, I'm going ...more
Lourdes Uribe
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've been looking forward to this book for a while now, and I'm so pleased that it exceeded my expectations. Not only is it absolutely beautiful to look at, the photography is wonderful, but the storytelling is simple while being rich, and interwoven with practical advice on simplifying one's life. I love that it emphasizes and encourages investing in beautiful, yet practical, home goods that enrich your life as much as they are useful. I would recommend to anyone who loves decor, is looking to ...more
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a good book for anyone that's trying to live with less stuff. Unless arty pictures of almost bare tables spaces are enough to get you to declutter, I'm not sure how practical this book is: it's inspirational and aspirational. The author's focus for herself is finding beautiful and practical objects that she loves, and not just buying stuff. She makes me want to spend the weekend at thrift stores and flea markets to upgrade my IKEA furniture with unique vintage pieces.

I'm keeping this boo
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
First sentence: Many minimalist narratives begin with too much.

Favorite quote: We can, each of us, seek out a simpler mode of doing things.

I loved this book. In many ways I thought to myself how I would have loved this book when my husband and I first got married and moved into our first home. It took me many years of buying things to realize I really did not need so many things. This book suggests gently using many phrases like "in my own home", "when James and I", "for me" and "in our own liv
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I found this much more inspiring than the KonMari approach and I love Boyle's voice. It feels familiar to me. There were a few suggestions that made me cringe, but as a whole, this philosophy resonates with often has...but moreso now than ever. I haven't ever read a non-fiction text so quickly, let alone on the week that I wrapped up my master's degree and final projects (I stretched out my bathroom trips as long as I could)! "After all, we are more than the sum of our possessions." Now, ...more
Michelle G.
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, home
Quick read. Addicting for fans hungry for a second dose of Marie Kondo. There is some privilege, though, I mean who is walking down the street to their local organic grocery everyday then buying clothes from local designers, etc. It's something people might want to strive for and it's where she's coming from so you just take what works for you. It's not a Method. It's a reflection with a couple of practical tips thrown in.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
I've read Erin's blog for several years and always admired her style (of both writing & home). Happily, this was more than just reformatted blog content–which can so often be the case with the blog to book deals–but it still felt a bit surface level to me. It was beautiful and inspiring, but more of a coffee table book to flip though than a "rubber meets the road" type of read. ...more
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Simple book about making simple choices. She wrote on how she chooses what she brings into her home, which is a small apartment, based on her values. I liked that. It made me think about what I am bringing into my home, and how I can align that with my own values. Also, she had some good information on natural cleaning.
Becca Garber
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! So straightforward, simple, and inspiring. As we look forward to a huge move, months of transition and road trippin', and eventually a smaller home, this was the perfect book to inspire me to pare down and live a slower, simpler life.
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
The book has made me think a bit more about reducing my use of plastics and packaging, but otherwise it was basically like reading Pinterest in prose form. Mason jars, sprigs of flowers, farmers' markets, wooden crates, etc.
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