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

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,579 ratings  ·  161 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
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 1st 1994 by Hachette Books (first published December 12th 1951)
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,579 ratings  ·  161 reviews

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Oct 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 21, 2012 rated it did not like it

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.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This book contains common sense advice really, things we already know but perhaps need someone else to tell us to do. Sometimes it’s harsh advice, some things I couldn’t do (such as don’t answer your door unless you have invited someone over or using only one towel the whole week long). I did like the idea of leaving the competitive spirit out of entertaining and just being yourself!

Notable quotes:
“Wise men and women in every major culture throughout history have found that the secret to happine
Jan 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ouvi falar neste livro há alguns anos, numa reportagem sobre pessoas que tinham abdicado da maior parte dos seus bens para viver uma vida mais simples e mais desprendida. Quis saber de que se tratava, numa sociedade puramente consumista e que se alimenta das aparências, a verdade é que dou muitas vezes por mim a olhar em volta e a pensar que nada disto faz sentido. Temos de mais, complicamos de mais, somos felizes de menos.
Este livro foi escrito nos anos 90 por isso está muito datado, faz-lhe fa
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
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
Feb 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it
More than a little bit vintage, most of what Elaine St. James presents is still quite useful. The book does assume you have children, investments, and other signs of age or wealth. I simply skipped what didn't apply, or what I felt was beyond dated, and feel satisfied with the (quick) read.

To reap the biggest benefits of this book, one will need to be in a position of thorough self-reflection and conscientiousness. Akin to Voluntary Simplicity, the theory is that by paring down the excess, we a
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve already incorporated many of her ideas but did enjoy this old book. There’s always something to learn and I did remove two huge bags of old linens from my linen closet and took them to the goodwill and I will no longer even look at the vintage linens in shops bc I love them but then never use them. I now have room in my linen closet to see what’s there. I thought I didn’t have many pillow cases and I found about a dozen.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dated but interesting.
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A little outdated but good advice on how to get rid of all the extra stuff we have in our life and to just enjoy the simple pleasures instead. Like a sunset, a good book, etc.
Jess Dollar
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s fascinating to read a book on simplicity that was written in the 1990s. The simplicity movement feels so modern but reading this book reminded me that these ideas are timeless. I didn’t agree with all 100 ideas, of course, but much of her critique of modern excess was still 100 percent on-point 24 years later.
Amy Rodman
Sep 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Just finished "Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down & Enjoy the Things That Really Matter" by Elaine St. James. It was a quick read and kept me engaged. I particularly enjoyed the sections devoted to "Lifestyle" and "Work", as there were several new suggestions I plan on implementing in my own life. The only section I really disliked was the section on finance. Nothing new or original was recommended, and I disagreed with the author's recommendation on how to simplify your portfolio by ...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
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
Nov 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
O Dia da Liberdade - Silvia Reis
Simple but straightforward book that has some nice ideas on how to simplify one's lives. Some advice are well-know, others not so much! It's worth a reading.
Laura Grant
Jul 16, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general
A home and life self-help book with personality and hilarious suggestions like "don't waste time on a lawn, plant ground cover."
A little outdated, but otherwise many useful ideas and tips.
♥ Aphrodite
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Maria Reinhardt
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
Can we agree that creative people have a hard time letting go of things? Okay, so maybe I’m only speaking for myself here. But, as a writer, I find letting go a challenge—it’s created a problem, especially as it pertains to books [the kind that you can touch and thumb through]. Oh, how I love them so! When we did have a bookstore nearby [laughs], I loved to spend free moments sipping coffee, pursuing through all the latest titles, and taking lots [and lots] of them home. Sadly, those days are go ...more
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
As expected from a book from an earlier era, some of the tips/suggestions for simplifying your life are obviously not relevant anymore. Some suggestions will not work in today's day and age unless one is wealthy and has the luxury to do what one wants. But it certainly makes one consider things that one can do or should do to find some much needed sanctuary in the midst of our fast paced, complicated, always-on lives lived as much on social media as in the physical world.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author gives 100 ways to simplify your life. Some of the suggestions about getting rid of excess seem practical and doable, where as a few seem radical, such as getting rid of your phone or car. Some of these suggestions are even outdated!!

That being said, I did appreciate the reminders of ways that I can simplify everyday.
Lisa Longoria-Cusick
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in my mid 20’s and was so surprised how much it all made sense to me. Elaine st James was a true minimalist before it was a cool thing to be. I still use many of her principles and have kept this original copy of my book for over 25 years. I re-read very couple years to reset my mind and behaviors when I’m feeling chaotic.
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Had high hopes for this, but only managed to find a couple of ideas to implement. All of which are things i have worked on before, but can continue to improve. Unless this is the first book you are ever reading about simplifying your life, skip it and find a guide more suited to the specific things you are looking to work on instead of spending your time on this book and it's generalizations.
K.P. Jones
The book gives some really good tips to simplify. Unfortunately, many were just not practical for me to follow. I think it's worth the read, then, take from it and adjust the suggestions to make your own life easier.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A classic. Written in the 1990s, before the Simple Living, Intentional Simplicity or Minimalism became popular. Her advices are sound and still valid and effective. Plus the oat muffin recipe is a keeper!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Slowing Down to the Speed of Life: How To Create A More Peaceful, Simpler Life From the Inside Out
  • The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life
  • The Simple Living Guide
  • Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich
  • The Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle
  • Live the Life You Love: In Ten Easy Step-By Step Lessons
  • Houseworks: Cut the Clutter, Speed Your Cleaning and Calm the Chaos
  • Clutter's Last Stand: It's Time to de-Junk Your Life!
  • Living More With Less
  • The Joy of Simple Living: Over 1,500 Simple Ways to Make Your Life Easy and Content-- At Home and At Work
  • The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less
  • Choosing Simplicity: Real People Finding Peace and Fulfillment in a Complex World
  • Nothing Left Over: A Plain and Simple Life
  • Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better
  • When Organizing Isn't Enough: Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life
  • Essential Buddhism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs and Practices
  • Living a Beautiful Life
  • Organize Now!: A Week-by-Week Guide to Simplify Your Space and Your Life