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Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More Hardcover – January 12, 2016

4.4 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Erin Boyle speaks to the heart and soul of the minimalist lifestyle. With her deft prose and graceful imagery she details not only how we can approach homekeeping more simply, but why—for our own happiness and peace of mind—we absolutely must. Simple Matters is a must-have manual for serenity in the modern world!"
(Anne Sage, lifestyle blogger and author of Sage Living 2015-09-01)

About the Author

Erin Boyle is the writer and photographer behind the popular blog Reading My Tea Leaves. She was formerly an editor at Gardenista. Past work in cultural preservation informs her desire to cherish what is beautiful, useful, and meaningful and to reevaluate everything else. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (January 12, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419718630
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419718632
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really thought I'd love this book, because I do enjoy reading little snippets on Erin's blog. However, it seemed a bit scattered and, dare I say, generic. There are so many simple-living books available these days, so it seems like everything has already been said and done, and this book seemed to be much of the same, and often in a generalized "brushed over" format (no big "YES!" moments and I found myself skimming over a lot of repeat info). I fully agree with most of the ideas, views and opinions that Erin writes about, in regards to simplicity, sustainability, etc., but a lot of what is written is just repetition from the blog. I also wasn't drawn into this book as I have with other books on simple living, because it is primarily focused on living in a small space with an underlying feeling of temporary living. It's pretty much a given that if you live in a small space, life will feel less cluttered with less stuff. While I agree that making any big investments or decorating decisions while living in a temporary apartment is unwise, there isn't much helpful information for those who are living in permanent homes (apartment or freestanding, with or without children). While I get the "write about what you know and all that," I don't think this book will be as appealing to the average person who is looking for advice on simplifying their lives...there are better options available.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Our youngest child went off to college last Fall making us Empty Nesters. My task for the next few months? Decluttering so my husband and I can downsize to a smaller place. Inexperienced at an entire household declutter, I Googled ‘decluttering’, ‘simple living’, etc. and, among other things, up popped Erin Boyle’s blog, Reading My Tea Leaves. I found hints on decluttering and set up my “trash”, “Goodwill”, “think about” and “keep” piles, then set to work sorting 28 years of worth of detritus, accumulated while raising kids. And while I decluttered …. I also got hooked on Erin’s Blog: her beautiful writing style, her ideas, and her photography.

Erin Boyle’s book, Simple Matters includes a few of her best blog essays, and also, a series of brand new essays. The book is not merely about decluttering, but about embracing a simpler lifestyle in the broadest sense of the word. As Erin puts it, “We can’t maintain a clutter-free home if we don’t also change our approach to accumulation in the first place.” Or how about this gem? “We’re under the false impression that we’re not in control of our spaces, when the opposite is true.” Woven throughout the book are simple statements like the aforementioned, containing profound thoughts about our American lifestyle: does accumulating things make us happier? do the ethics of clothes companies we buy from, matter? does your physical clutter translate to mental clutter; feeling overwhelmed? do the things we own work for the space they inhabit in our house? If you stop and think about her questions you’ll see that, not only are they good for the Earth, they are transformative for the way we discern what we want in our homes and in our lives. Erin is doing all of us a favor by challenging the status quo: “more is more” ….
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By DNA on February 3, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Don't expect any "aha" moments about living simply. It's a nice sentiment but full of a lot of conceptual information and not a whole lot of actionable tips that you can't get from the blog or a dozen other books about living simply and sustainably. Many of the photos are small, too, so it's not a good visual/coffee table book, either.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Truthfully I might have given this three and a half stars if that was an option but....I love Erin's blog and what she is putting out in the world too much to downgrade to a mediocre three star rating. That said the reason this is not a five star review is because as a longtime reader of her blog, I found the book very repetitive in terms of philosophy and projects/tips (i.e., brown sugar body scrub recipe, how to create a minimalist wardrobe, etc.). The narrative was lovely and I learned a little bit more about her story, but I was a little disappointed that there wasn't anything new that isn't already in some form on her blog.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a long-time reader of Erin's blog, I expected new and interesting content. This book is full of the same content that's on her website, with a chummy but condescending tone. Most of the infirmation is common sense for hipster Brooklyn. Sadly, not a fan.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I first started reading the book I was like "omg this is so me!" and truly related to her story (hello NYC living). However, as the book went on, I found that it was too generic and didn't really find anything valuable in it. A lot of information was repeated and even worse, it was all over the place.

While I agree with her views, I found that a good chunk of it wasn't applicable to the average person and seemed too idealized/glorified to actually pursue. I like the concept and wish I had come out of with a few good tips. At least the cover is cute and looks good on my coffee table...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was an absolute pleasure to read and inspired me to go through my home with a fine tooth comb and eliminate superfluous items. It had me questioning why I need multiple of most items - and the answer is, I don't! With two young children in my home, simplifying isn't always easy, but this book was a great help.
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