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Still haven’t decided whether or not to pursue a minimalist lifestyle?
Minimalism can be very challenging, especially when you are new to it. Can you really let go of the things that you don’t necessarily need, but that you still want? It’s a tough decision, and you want to be sure before you dive in headfirst. You are going to need a lot of advice and inspiration.
Fortunately, there are a lot of great books out there that can provide the information you need before committing to this alternative way of living. We have gathered nine of the best minimalist books that can help you live more by having less.
Let’s get started!
1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo is an authority when it comes to the art of decluttering and tidying up. She is definitely one of the most iconic figures when it comes to minimalist living. “Does it spark joy?” is what she always asks, and if the answer is no, then she tells you to get rid of it.
This particular book focuses on the KonMari Method, which she developed to help people learn how to start tidying up. This has been called the “revolutionary category-by-category system” because it allows you to get rid of insignificant things all at once. It doesn’t require the usual “room-by-room” or “little-by-little” method.
Kondo teaches us that tidying up is all about two things: discarding and placing. Discarding is eliminating everything that is unnecessary. You can either throw them away or donate them. Placing, on the other hand, is figuring out where to store what you decide to save.
Kondo’s books are about more than just organizing and simplifying your things. As Dan Silvestre suggests, they are more about how you go about choosing what matters the most, and then realizing how these essential things can impact your daily life. What is useful to you may not be useful to others. It boils down to your choices and preferences.
2. The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
If you want to take control of your life, you need to start with your belongings. Stop being overwhelmed and start thinking about how you can eliminate the things that are not important. Learn how to manage the things that are truly essential. You own your stuff—it shouldn’t be the other way around.
This is what Francine Jay wants us to learn from her book, The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify. It is specially made for people who feel like they are surrounded by too much stuff that they don’t actually need. It is for those who want to reconsider and re-prioritize the things that can ultimately make them happy.
The guidelines included in this book are divided into four parts. First, inspirational speeches on the joys of having less. Second, the “streamline method,” where you learn about the steps involved in decluttering. Third, specific guidelines on how to tackle each step. And finally, some tips on how to influence those around you to live a minimalist lifestyle.
3. Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki
Goodbye, Things is literally about what the title suggests: the art of saying goodbye to the things that you don’t necessarily need. For the most part, it talks about how we should all learn to live simpler lives.
Fumio Sasaki describes himself as a simple guy. He hasn’t accomplished anything super amazing, but he is happy. He found this happiness from having a simple, minimal way of living. The book is sort of a memoir where he shares his experiences and how he found the will to improve his life through gradual changes.
We recommend this book to those who are yet to start the minimalist lifestyle. If you are looking for some inspiration, or if you are a bit unsure as to whether or not you want to pursue this lifestyle, this book explains exactly what it involves.
4. Essential by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are two of the most prominent advocates of minimalist living. Their blog, The Minimalists, is an excellent, eye-catching resource. In addition to books and blogs, they also have a podcast that motivates and inspires you to live a simple life.
The duo has published several books, including Minimalism and Everything that Remains (the latter of which is a bestseller). However, Essential is probably the easiest to read and understand because it is simply a compilation of all the finest articles in their blog.
In this book, the essays are carefully organized and edited to provide a step-by-step process for starting a minimalist lifestyle. It provides a noticeably different experience compared to when you read the articles individually online.
We highly suggest this book, as well as the rest of the titles from these authors. Nothing beats a book from someone who has mastered their field.
5. Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
Zero Waste Home is the book that pioneered the waste-free living movement. As a minimalist, Bea Johnson wanted to teach people they could help nature, improve their health, and simplify their lives naturally by reducing waste. She shares her struggles and experiences in this cordial and relatable book.
In the book Zero Waste Home (and in her blog), she provides inspirational stories and helpful tips to assist anyone who is starting a minimalist and sustainable lifestyle. If you are a minimalist who wants to learn the fundamentals of sustainability, then this book is perfect for you.
CNN calls Bea Johnson “the mother of the zero waste lifestyle movement.” Zero Waste Home was originally a blog geared at helping families live comfortable and waste-free lives. Eventually, that blog became a bestselling book. And now, thanks to the overwhelming support it has received, it has turned into a global movement.
6. Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White
Dana K. White understands that the minimalist way of living can be more difficult than many people expect it to be. She knows that it can be hard to grasp all of the principles in one go, and that you may end up having second thoughts, or even give up. That’s why she wrote this book.
Decluttering at the Speed of Life is more than just a step-by-step description of the process of decluttering. The author focuses on the emotional and mental struggles that prevent people from sticking with their decision to simplify. She reveals negative attitudes and mindsets that we may not even know exist, and then provides solutions for re-wiring our brains.
7. Essential Zen Habits by Leo Babauta
Leo Babauta is another important name in the minimalist scene. If you visit his blog, you will quickly see that he lives up to his principles. His site is neat and refreshing, and simply reading it can bring you emotional peace and mental clarity.
According to Babauta, Essential Zen Habits is a “concise guide to changing habits and dealing with struggles.” He also calls it the “just do this” book that everybody has been waiting for and wanting, free from unnecessary intros, stories, and explanations. It is quite short, as it is meant to be simple and straightforward.
Babauta has a lot of other books that you can check out if you need guidance about starting a minimalist lifestyle. His writing style is beginner-friendly, and he doesn’t use obscure or confusing words. In addition to minimalism, he also provides lessons on Zen habits and mindful meditation.
8. I Am Here Now by The Mindfulness Project
I Am Here Now is more of a mindfulness book than a minimalism book, but we still find it to be suitable for this list since mindfulness is part of a minimalist lifestyle. You won’t be able to live more by having less if you can’t live in the present.
The Mindfulness Project is the team behind this awesome book. It focuses on paying attention to what is happening right now instead of ruminating about the past or the future. It aims to make people more curious about the world and help them access their creativity in order to find happiness and satisfaction.
The book is appropriate for both beginners and experts in mindfulness, and is perfect for those who want to practice mindfulness meditation along with a minimalist lifestyle.
9. Simple Matters by Erin Boyle
Erin Boyle believes that living a simplified life is beneficial for two reasons. First, it helps in maintaining a well-balanced and sustainable environment. Second, it aids in increasing our happiness and improving our health. Living simply is applicable to everyone, regardless of age or status.
In this book, the author provides her personal insights on how to deal with over-consumption and extravagant living. She gives practical advice on how to be more resourceful and innovative, particularly if you are residing in a tight, small space. As long as you are aware of the things that matter most, you won’t find it difficult to declutter and tidy up.
A lot of bloggers and minimalists are praising Boyle’s writing style in this book. They say that she really speaks from the heart and that she’s an effective narrator. It is easy to understand what she has to say and turn it into effective action.
Final Words on Minimalist Books
Today’s list of the best minimalist books feature some of the most important names in the minimalist movement. We hope that we were able to help you choose a book that can help you on your journey toward a simpler, happier life.
We also hope that we were able to give you a general overview of what minimalist living is like. If you are still deciding whether or not to pursue this lifestyle, these books might be able to help you make your decision.
Finally, if you want to increase your happiness and life satisfaction, then watch this free video that details the 7-minute habit for planning your day to focus on what's important.