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The 10 Best Simple Living Books (That Can Inspire Real Change)

Are you looking for some simple living books to inspire you on your quest for a simpler life? Here I will share what I believe are 10 of the absolute best books on the subject.

Whether you are looking to be more intentional, create a minimalist home, or just practical tips so you can live a more meaningful life, there is something for you on this list.

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The 10 Best Books on Simple Living that inspire real change!

Simple Living Books Can Inspire Real Change

I love a good book, but a book that can change the way you think, help you find more joy, or change your mental health for the better, those books are special. This is where simple living books come in, they can inspire real change so the reader can live a better life.

In a world full of excess, these books dare us to take a different path, and love it! So, let’s get started on my list of the best books on simple living, so we can become inspired to make small changes towards living the good life.


The 10 Best Simple Living Books That Can Inspire Real Change

1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo

Even if you haven’t yet read this book, you have probably heard the phrase “spark joy”. In this first book from Marie Kondo, we are introduced to the Japanese art of decluttering.

She inspires us to have a house filled with what we love and to get rid of the rest. We are taught the Konmari Method, and it’s principle to ask if the items in our homes spark joy when we consider them one by one.

The process introduced to us in this book is long. It would probably take an exceptional amount of time compared to other methods. However, the reward would be a truly changed space with staying power.

Marie’s goal is to help us make the changes to our space that make it easier to maintain on a daily basis. This way tidying up becomes less of a chore in our daily lives.

It is an easy read that really takes you step by step. It even has illustrations to help you learn some of her methods (like the way she suggest you fold your clothes).

If you struggle with keeping a tidy house, or you want to make your home a more organized, simpler space, this just may be the book for you.

For even more help and inspiration from Marie, her second book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up is an amazing companion book to her first. I have them both and like to review them often to help keep my home life in check.

2. Make Room for What You Love by Melissa Michaels

This book is said to be, “Your Essential Guide to Organizing and Simplifying”. It is that, but it is also so much more.

It is not just a decluttering guide, Melissa wants you to learn that decluttering a space will help you create a home you love. She also places an emphasis on choosing quality over quantity when decorating our homes. This way they aren’t just filled with trends, and visually cluttering knickknacks .

This book gives you plans of action, but it doesn’t lecture you. The instruction is done in a patient loving way. It feels like Melissa is really routing for you to have a more relaxed and fulfilling life.

Melissa is so personable it feels like you are doing your decluttering and organizing with a friend. So if you know you are someone who responds better to a lighter, more encouraging touch, this would be the perfect book to get you on your journey to a simple lifestyle at home.

A photo of books representing our list for the 10 best simple living books.

3. Essential by The Minimalists

This book is a collection of essays by The Minimalist (Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus) from their website. It is one of the best minimalist books in my opinion. It’s an excellent read for those with short attention spans, and for those looking for more intentional living in multiple areas of their lives.

Because the book is a collection of essays, it makes it easy to read a bit at a time and not get lost. There is no one perfect method in this book, this is about how minimalist living can change every aspect of your life.

The essays not only cover minimalism, but how to incorporate the minimalist way of life into multiple areas of your life. Areas like your finances, health and relationships. They also give you practical advice while they take you through their own personal stories about how they came to be minimalist themselves.

Joshua and Ryan are very open about their previous lives full of excess and how it made them feel. And they tell you how they found a different way and the positive effect their minimalist journey has had on their lives. This is why they share their story to help you make positive change in your own life.

They also explain how living a disciplined pursuit of less can lead to more sustainable living.

If you really want to make simple living part of every area of your life, this would be a great read for you.

4. Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington

In this book Alli encourages the reader to stop pursuing empty tasks. She teaches us how to say no and set boundaries. Alli does all this with personal and relatable stories that keep you engaged in her book.

She teaches that every no you give to something unimportant gives you the opportunity to say yes to something more worthwhile.

This was a great book for me to read. On my personal journey, I find balancing my task a struggle and I do feel like I am constantly busy. I am still working through this struggle, but Breaking Busy is helping me to set new goals.

If you constantly feel like you have too much stuff on your plate, and that you are always so busy that it causes you stress, this would be an excellent entry into the simple living movement.

5. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

This was a book that was recommended to me by my best friend and I am so grateful she shared her love for this book. It’s philosophy is, “Leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living”. It promotes soulful simplicity.

In this book Shauna Niequist teaches the reader how to let go of perfectionism in order to have a life of presence and connection to those we love. It is about quieting the noisy world and turning it into a refocused life. How to sit in our present moment and live in it, instead of already worrying about the next thing on our to-do list. We learn that having a more focused life can really lead to a happy life.

If your struggle to live a more simple life includes the struggle to show up for yourself in your life, this would be a great read for you.

6. The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs

This book is described as, “A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful living”. And Janet herself says in her book, “Simple living is about living deliberately”.

This guide teaches us to try to make choices thoughtfully so we are designing our lives to match our ideals. It is a practical guide that has many real life examples of how you can redesign your life and learn to savor each and every moment. And the real life examples help you make connections to your own life and struggles staying focused.

It is a book that you will enjoy going back to time and time again, so if you are someone who often needs to refocus on simplicity, this can become one of your favorite books and the subject, and may be the best book for you.

And there is even a book that can become a great companion book also by Janet Luhrs titled, Simple Living Handbook.

A woman enjoying a book on a nice day. If you need a book to read, try one from our list of the 10 best simple living books.

7. A Year of Living Simply by Kate Humble

This is a book about, “The joys of a life less complicated”.

It asks the question, if having the latest and greatest stuff is supposed to bring us happiness, why is there so much depression and anxiety? Especially in such a consumer driven period of time?

Why when we have so much stuff do we feel so empty? And what would happen if we had a year of less? An entire year of reflection on the power of less?

Kate’s stripped back approach to having an uplifting and balanced life is fresh and will keep you turning the pages while you contemplate the “extra” in your own life.

If you want a book that is frank, but somehow still warm about how less stuff can actually make our lives more full and happy, then this a great read for you.

8. Things That Matter by Joshua Becker

Anyone who knows me knows I love Joshua Becker. I love that he is a more practical minimalist. I love his story, his books, and I am a regular stalker of his YouTube channel. Things That Matter is one of his new books, and it is excellent.

This book explores how our current culture is distracting us from living a meaningful life.

It also helps the reader identify the obstacles stopping them from living their best life, obstacles like money, fear, and possessions. Then how to figure out what you want to replace those things in your life.

This is a book about how living a simple life can help you have a life with few regrets.

9. The Art of Simple Living by Shunmyo Masuno

This book is described as, “100 Daily Practices from a Zen Buddhist Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy”. It gives you 100 days worth of easily adoptable lessons to help you make simple living a part of your life.

There is also a point made between each lesson to give the reader an opportunity for a deep breath. This teaches the reader to stop and reflect before jumping to the next thing.

This book is perfect for the beginner easing their way into the simple life who wants to learn how to also take a moment for themselves to learn to bring reflection and calm to their lives.

10. The More of Less by Joshua Becker

Being that I have already admitted that Joshua is a personal favorite of mine, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he is on the list twice. This though is the book that started it all, and it is one of my absolute favorite simple living books.

The More of Less is about, “Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own”.

This book reflects on the weight we feel while being buried by excess and clutter. And it then helps you learn to desire to let it go instead of just managing and organizing you stuff. It teaches you how to feel the joy of less.

Joshua shares his own personal experience that changed his life in 2008, and how his life has changed since he learned that valuable lesson.

This book is for the person not just wanting to use a minimalist lifestyle for a clean house, but for a fuller more fulfilling life.


A list of the best simple living books for all your needs. Learn to declutter, simplify life, and live with more intention. | We Three Shanes

Why We Love Simple Living Books

I just love simple living books! They can be a teacher, and encouraging friend. There can be new ideas sparked from reading its pages.

These books are a tangible thing that you can have in your arsenal. You can look back on them when you are struggling or when you need a little encouragement.

That is why I am so happy I can share these amazing 10 books with you. I hope they bring you all the inspiration you need to start living that more simple life you are desiring.

Do you need a little inspiration to get moving on a simpler life in 2023? Why not try one of the books on this list? There is a book on this list for just about any reason or season of simple living. Have you already read some of these simple living books? Do you know of one we just have to read next? Let us know in the comments. We love to hear from you!


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