Looking back, I’ve always longed for a quiet, simple life even when I couldn’t express it in that way. As an adult, I’ve been intentionally pursuing a simpler life for over twenty years. David and I have experienced success and failure with simple living. There have been serendipities I could have never foreseen. There have been hindrances such as illness and financial setbacks that were not a part of our plan. But no matter the state of life, I’ve never lost my desire for a quiet life that is focused on the things that truly matter and bring me joy and contentment. A large part of that journey was shaped by my favorite simple living books.
My Favorite Simple Living Books
The simple living books below are ones I’ve found personally helpful while on my journey. Some have had a tremendous impact on my life, shaping my thinking in significant ways. Some were just the right pick-me-up when I needed it on the journey. There are books on the list that go in and out of print. There are newer books. Some are practical, how-to books. Some are more philosophy. Whatever they are, they are on my bookshelf.
I hope you will find inspiration in the following resources!
Please note: The inclusion of a book is not an endorsement of all its content or the author.
Books About Simple Living
These are books specifically about the big ideas of simplifying your life.
The Yankee Way to Simplify Your Life: Old-Fashioned Wisdom For A New-fangled WorldMargin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded LivesThe Overload Syndrome: Learning to Live Within Your LimitsChoosing Simplicity: Real People Finding Peace and Fulfillment in a Complex WorldThe Simplicity PrimerHenry and the Great Society: A novelGood Bye, Boise… Hello, Alaska – The True Story of a family’s move to a remote island ranchWhat’s Happening to Home?: Balancing Work, Life, and Refuge in the Information AgeA Place Called Simplicity: The Quiet Beauty of Simple LivingView from a Porch Swing: Musings on a Complicated Search for the Simple LifeAbundant Simplicity: Discovering the Unhurried Rhythms of Grace
Practical, How-to Simple Living Books
These books deal more with the daily life choices involved with simplifying your life.
The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative LifestyleThe Busy Mom’s Guide to Simple Living : Creative Ideas And Practical Ways for Making the Most Out of What You HaveFrugal Luxuries: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your SoulFrugal Luxuries by the Seasons: Celebrate the Holidays with Elegance and Simplicity–on Any IncomeAll New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less SpaceFree: Spending Your Time and Money on What Matters MostBack to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills (Back to Basics Guides)Simpler Living: A Back to Basics Guide to Cleaning, Furnishing, Storing, Decluttering, Streamlining, Organizing, and MoreThe Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual of Living Off the Land & Doing It Yourself
Some of the very best books for thinking about financial simplicity and money. The Complete Tightwad Gazette is dated in terms of its design and numbers, but the principles are timeless.
The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative LifestyleYour Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st CenturyThe Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy
Inspiration from the Past
I absolutely love reading books like these with inspiration from the past. These are three I own. The first two are also fantastic for reading short stories about the Great Depression with your children.