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Paperback, Bargain Price, April 15, 1994
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1 edition (April 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786880007
  • ASIN: B002ECEFB2
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,679,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A guide for our time."—Vanity Fair --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Elaine St. James, former real estate businesswoman, is the author of the national bestsellers Simplify Your Life and Inner Simplicity. She lives a quiet, simple life in Santa Barbara, California. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

It's a great book to get started on simplifying your life, your way.
I really try to buy things that will not just be clutter for my loved ones, or I'll give them cash, if that's what they need and ask for.
To be honest, I got into it, but in retrospect, this book is really extreme.
A Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 124 people found the following review helpful By Tim Carlson on December 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
There's a few recent naysayers who reviewed this book and were very negative, but remember, a lot of people are very defensive about any suggestions that go against the grain of how they've lived their entire lives. Also, a lot of people are consumed with keeping up with the Jones'.
This book is not about being a hermit, being cheap, or giving away all your possessions. It's about keeping those things that contribute positively to your life and discarding the rest. Getting to the essence of things if you will.
Most people wear 20% or less of their wardrobe. Why not then give the other 80% to friends and charities and enjoy a clutter free closet where you can easily find what you are looking for?
If you find yourself stressed out going to 10 holiday parties, then try going to only 2 and see how you feel.
I came across this book in 1994, and have gradually employed a lot of the ideas. I've found a few things that I tried that weren't for me, but overall it's been a huge positive in my life. It's great not being choked with possessions and clutter. It's freed up so much time to do volunteer work, exercise more, enjoy the outdoors more, and just to drink my coffee slow in the morning.
This book is fantastic for those who wish their lives to focus on doing and contributing and experiencing, rather than buying, consuming, storing, moving, weeding-through, tripping-over, collecting, and trying to impress.
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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By lindyjulie on February 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
You'll enjoy this book if you are just getting started in the process of simplifying your life, or if you're looking for a little extra inspiration. However, the book is too limited to use an an overall guide.
To understand why, remember that this is really a collection of ideas that St. James and her husband have already put into place in their lives. They were hard core yuppie materialists in the 80's and decided to simplify their lives to have more time for each other. The author's recommendations reflect this orientation. "Get rid of your boat" is obviously not going to apply for everyone. Some of the suggestions to limit your time with others also probably assume that you've already found a life partner; single folks should keep this in mind as they read.
The format of this book also makes for a strange alternation between huge, life-changing choices (move to where you can be close to your workplace), and weirdly specific recommendations (stop using nail polish). I found this to be a little odd, but if you are just looking for ideas, it probably won't bother you. I also found the suggestion to "change your expecations", which turned out to mean, "avoid doing difficult things" to be defeatist and unhelpful.
There are some great ideas in this book in every section. Some of the suggestions are challenging, but could yield great results. Each one, although not helpful to EVERYONE, will probably be helpful to SOMEONE. For these reasons, I'm giving it three stars. The book could be very useful as a way to provoke thought about what is really necessary in your life. Just don't look to it as an all purpose guide, and keep in mind the backgrounds of the authors as you read.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Carol C. VINE VOICE on July 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is essentially a brainstorming session - it briefly describes 100 options for simplifying (and from my perspective, organizing) your life. This is a collection of ideas, not a bible. Each reader will have to determine which of the 100 suggestions make sense in her life. Many of the suggestions I took to heart. There's advice on getting rid of clutter, streamlining errands (including grocery shopping), consolidating finances. I developed a standing (daily / weekly / monthly / bi-monthly) to do-list and a standing check-off-what-you-need grocery list in large part based on her suggestions; both are helpful.
Others ideas, primarily those in the "special issues for women" section (which is at the end of the book, and seemed like a desperate attempt to figure out how to get to 100), I wouldn't even consider. Throw out the nail polish? No way; I get great pleasure from looking at my bright pink toes from time to time. Skip the high heels & wear shoes of a consistent low heel height? Pack your lunch every day and stop eating out? Grow your own vegetables? (Don't worry -- since you've streamlined your grocery shopping and can pull resources from your own vegetable garden, it will be a snap.) Get rid of your telephone (not just your cell phone or car phone, mind you, but your basic garden-variety local service?) Get rid of your car? (I'm thinking overpriced taxis, long delays on public transportation, trying to track down a friend willing to play chauffeur.) These things are supposed to simplify my life?
Moreover, many of Solden's suggestions involve cutting yourself off from people - bow out of holidays, stop sending holiday cards, say no to invitations; stop going out to dinner with friends, stop being a member of organizations if you don't enjoy the meetings.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book overall, although I did not agree with all of her suggestions (i.e. Not making the bed all day to simplify my life? Come on, Elaine, I can't stand looking at it!) I especially appreciated her suggestions on the social aspects of our daily lives. She has quite a few good practical ideas, while some are not for everybody (including me). However, even the "bad" ones will make you think about what we do! For $10, it is not a bad buy at all!
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