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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  ·  Rating details ·  1,695 ratings  ·  175 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
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 1st 1994 by Hachette Books (first published December 12th 1951)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Sherilee
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
...more
Alice
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.
Sassa
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
...more
Karen
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
Manzoid
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
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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
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
Karmelle
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
...more
Bonnie
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.
Eileen
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
A easy read to help one learn some new ways how to de-clutter our lives. Lots of suggestions on ways we can make things much easier especially when at times you feel behind with chores or projects since you not home much to do them. I highly recommend anyone that is looking for more organizing to read this book. For example, you do not always have to answer the phone or the doorbell just because it is ringing. Try to relax more. Learn to live on half of what you earn and save half. Great idea. L ...more
Carolyn Donoghue
Jan 28, 2020 rated it did not like it
I found this book on my book shelf during the move and thought it might have some helpful tips. First, it was very dated. I laughed when it made reference to a tie clip, when was the last time someone wore one of those? And it felt like it was written by a couple of grandparents so it didn’t feel relevant to the average person. A bunch of ridiculous tips, like get rid of your phone and car, and a couple of decent ones. Wouldn’t recommend.
Nicole
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dated but interesting.
Amy
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 inve ...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
Mary
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.
Breena
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!
Diana Nagy
Nov 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Some of it was pretty good but since I'm a pretty well read individual it's nothing I haven't heard of before. Much of it is about her and her family or her friends and whet they've done to simplify their lives. Likely some good advice for you if you've never read a book on simplifying your life.
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."
Amanda
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.
Chrystal
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.
♥ 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.
Jenifer
A little outdated, but otherwise many useful ideas and tips.
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.
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
Maureen
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: simplyfing
Although the book was published in 1994, much of it is right on the mark. It's odd to think that Ms. James was living in such a different world from the one we inhabit. I pulled this book from my "to be read" pile and was very glad I did. It helped solidify my personal approach to simplifying. It was delightful to see that #73 was Just Be Yourself! A number of the items, we'd already done... #28 , for example "Stop Your Newspaper Delivery". Super! Write it down on the list and check it right off ...more
Nita
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.
Cat
Mar 08, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
While some of the material presented may be relevant to a few people, I found the majority to be outdated and unhelpful. Let go your domestic help...say good by to the 3000 square foot home...buy a used car instead of a new one...forget the high end foreign sports car, etc. etc. Maybe a millionaire who wants to rough it or go slumming would find this useful. The best advice I can give is if you want to simplify your life then follow your intuition and do what makes sense to you.
Heather
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think I skimmed this book, or read it quickly when I bought it new about 20 years ago. It was fun to reread it when my life is in a completely different place. I disagreed with her on some ideas, and found many irrelevant to my life, but there were eighteen or twenty I marked with flags and will review and consider. I found some of the technology changes that have happened in the last couple of decade fun to think about as well.
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