Over the past decade, I’ve read quite a few books on minimalism and simple living. In this post, I’m sharing a selection of my favourites with you.
There’s a variety of titles here—some are “how-to” guides, others are memoirs, and a few read more like personal manifestos—but there’s one thing they all have in common.
In some way, every book on this list has inspired me on my minimalist living journey. Hopefully, you’ll find inspiration here as well.
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But Shouldn’t I Be Decluttering Books?
Before I dive into this list, I thought I’d share some thoughts on how I deal with books as a minimalist. After all, I know the topic of decluttering books is sometimes controversial!
First, let me say that you should do what’s right for you and not worry about what anyone else thinks. If you love your books and don’t want to declutter them, then don’t feel pressured to let go simply to conform to the label “minimalist”.
But if you do want to reduce the number of physical books in your home, here are a few tips that work for me:
- I only keep books that I plan on reading again.
- When I want to read a new book, I usually listen to the audiobook first. (You could also borrow from the library but I find audiobooks suit my lifestyle better.)
- If I get a lot of value from the book, then I’ll buy a physical copy. I like to highlight my books and write notes in the margins, and you can’t do this with a digital version!
- I have a small shelf where I keep books and I’m strict about not exceeding this space.
In full disclosure, I occasionally buy a physical book without listening to it first, especially if it’s been highly recommended—but this is the exception, not the rule.
I’ve been using Audible to listen to audiobooks for several years now. If you’re interested in trying it for yourself, click here and you’ll get two free audiobooks!
Minimalism Books That Will Inspire You To Live With Less
Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver
After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Courtney was forced to simplify. In her book, Soulful Simplicity, she shares how to create a life where minimalism and practicality come together to change every area of your life.
Courtney is the creator of Project 333 (a minimalist fashion experiment), and I really appreciate her thoughtful, values-led approach to minimalism.
Add to Your Reading List: Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben
This book isn’t officially about “minimalism”, but I had to include it on this list because it was my first introduction to the idea that more isn’t always better.
You won’t find any decluttering tips here. However, you will learn about local food movements, community radio and other ways that intentionally choosing less can create a better world for all.
Add to Your Reading List: Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben
The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
Francine Jay is the voice behind Miss Minimalist, another blog that has inspired me over the years. (In fact, she once featured me on her site as part of her “Real Life Minimalists” series!)
I recommend this book if you’re looking for a simple but practical guide to minimalism. It offers advice on how to declutter, organise and simplify your life.
Add to Your Reading List: The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
I’ve mentioned this book before because I genuinely love it. Every time I read it, I’m inspired to pay closer attention to my life. What are the little things that add more value, and how can I do more of these and less of everything else?
I should mention that this book is a bit “business-y” and, depending on your circumstances, not everything will be applicable for your life. Still, I recommend it because the general principles are strong. (I have the audiobook but plan on getting a hard copy because it’s one I can’t wait to highlight and add notes!)
Add to Your Reading List: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki
This book is an excellent choice if you’re struggling to find the motivation to simplify.
It’s inspiring and non-judgemental, with a lot of discussion about how minimalism changes you from the inside out. There’s also a good mix of practical tips and personal stories (many of which hit very close to home). An all-around warm and enjoyable read!
Add to Your Reading List: Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki
Related Post: Minimalism Before And After: How It Changed My Life
The Big Book of Less: Finding Joy in Living Lighter by Irene Smit and Astrid van der Hulst
This beautiful book is brought to you by the editors of Flow magazine, and it shows because it reads more like a magazine than a traditional book. There are lots of short essays on different aspects of minimalist living, along with a few extra paper “goodies” (like art posters and journals).
And yes, I know these extras aren’t very minimalist! But regular readers will know that I love journaling, and besides, this book is a treat. I like to read a few pages every day as part of my morning routine. It’s a lovely way to start the day!
Add to Your Reading List: The Big Book of Less: Finding Joy in Living Lighter by Irene Smit and Astrid van der Hulst
The same authors also wrote A Book That Takes Its Time: An Unhurried Adventure in Creative Mindfulness which isn’t technically about minimalism, but it does encourage slowing down. I have it and I adore it. Either book would make a fantastic gift.
The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
When I first started blogging in 2015, Cait was one of the first bloggers I “met” online. She was incredibly kind and supportive, so it was interesting to read her book and learn more about her.
And to be clear, that’s what this book is about—her personal story and what she learned during a one-year shopping ban. It’s more of a personal memoir than a decluttering guide, which isn’t a bad thing. I believe that our past experiences cause clutter in our lives and you can’t let go of one without coming to terms with the other.
I recommend this book if you’re feeling a bit lost and you’re looking to minimalism to help you find your way again.
Add to Your Reading List: The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
Cait has a new book called Adventures in Opting Out: A Field Guide to Leading an Intentional Life. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s at the top of my list!
Read More About Minimalism
I recommend all the books on this list! But if you’re looking to read more blog posts about minimalism and simple living, here are a few you might enjoy:
- How I Became a Minimalist: My Story of Living with Less
- 3 Real Life Minimalist Stories That Will Inspire You
- 20 Simple Things You Can Do To Declutter and Live Minimally
- 5 Essential Mindsets for Simple Living
What are your favourite minimalist living books? I’m always looking for new recommendations so please feel free to share in the comments!