12 Books To Help You Live More With Less
In a time when 300,000 items can be found in the average American home, we believe the need for minimalism is undeniable. As ethically-minded consumers, it is important to practice lifestyles that contribute to a sustainable world void of excess. At The Good Trade, we see it as our responsibility to celebrate the things we truly value, and remove anything else that serves as a distraction. We want to become intentional, driven, priority-centered, aware people, and we see minimalism playing a crucial role in that.
These 12 helpful books show readers how having fewer material possessions can harmonize with a fuller life. Written by a wide variety of minimalists, these books discuss homes, closets, finances, and even parenting to help readers learn more.
1. Essential Essays by The Minimalists
What We Love | Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, known to their readers as “The Minimalists,” write about living a meaningful life with less stuff. These gentlemen mix humor and satire with insightful and practical steps for living a minimalist lifestyle. They speak to the truth that minimalism can assist us in finding freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around, and allow us to make lifestyle decisions more consciously and more deliberately. From simple living, decluttering, and finances, to passion, health, and relationships, Essential Essays is for anyone who desires a more intentional life.
Perfect If You Are | Looking for a practical primer on minimalist living.
Reviews | “No matter where you are on the continuum of Minimalism, these essays provide an honest reflection on the author's experiences, bundled with kind consideration for how it might be possible for you to see positive improvement in your life.” - B. Taylor
Price | $13
2. Zen Habits by Leo Babauta
What We Love | Leo Babauta is a Guam-born husband, father of six, writer, runner, and vegan currently living in Davis, CA and inspiring people daily. His book, Zen Habits, is a collection of articles from his blog, ZenHabits. What we find especially great about Babauta is not only his pragmatic collection of ideas, but the fact that he openly admits he’s “not an expert, or a doctor, or a coach.” He’s just a regular guy… who managed to quit smoking, run marathons, become an early-bird, get organized, eat healthy, triple his income, write a novel, commute via bike, and publish this fantastic book. His story emphasizes simplicity, productivity, and happiness.
Perfect If You Are | Looking for a guide about simplifying everyday routines and setting goals.
Reviews | “[Leo Babauta] has the knack of saying exactly what I need to hear, exactly when I need to hear it. . .I find his thoughtful, sincere, real comments and suggestions to be priceless.” -Ellen Morris
Price | $10
3. Simple Matters by Erin Boyle
What We Love | Erin Boyle lives with her husband, James, and daughter, Faye in New York City, where she keeps a blog about “slow, simple, sustainable living.” Her sensible and philosophical approach to conscious consumption helps make living small accessible. Boyle uses Simple Matters to inspire people to cherish what is truly meaningful, useful, and lovely. Her beautiful photography and flawless writing style partner well with stories of how to improve the environment and personal happiness.
Perfect If You Are | Looking for a book on living simply.
Reviews | "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
Price | $14
4. The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
What We Love | We think The Joy of Less is a hands-down keeper. Perfect for anyone eager to declutter, Francine Jay coaches readers through the process of building lifelong minimalist habits. Her refreshing, relatable, and streamlined method is partnered with inspirational pep talks and room-by-room organization guides. We appreciate Jay’s personal example of keeping her lifestyle about “eliminating the distractions that keep us from fully appreciating life.” Her story of owning nothing more than she needs has been featured on CNN, BBC, NBC TODAY, Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, Financial Times, Forbes, Huffington Post, Spiegel, and the Irish Times. Read more from this hiking, travelling, yoga-loving blogger here.
Perfect If You Are | Looking for a book on living simply.
Reviews | "I loved the many words of wisdom in this book. The Joy of Less puts power back into the hands of all who feel like objects have overtaken their home or life." - Holly Becker
Price | $13
5. I Am Here Now by The Mindfulness Project
What We Love | I Am Here Now is a delightfully creative exploration of mindfulness. The Mindfulness Project, headed up by Alexandra Frey and Autumn Totton, is about training our attention to be focused on the present-tense. Through a wide variety of thought exercises, guided meditations, coloring pages, and habit-breaking strategies, the book and web-based program helps readers minimize stress. We adore this London-based project, and are thrilled by stories of how it has enriched lives and taught people to be more in tune with their senses.
Perfect If You Are | Looking for a book on mindfulness.
Reviews | “This book not only inspired me to pay attention to what has heart and meaning in my everyday life, but also to be ok with my experiences. It has encouraged me to explore other ways of thinking.” - Shannon Spiller
Price | $11
6. Waking Up by Sam Harris
What We Love | Waking Up is both a memoir and scientific exploration of spirituality. Within its pages, Sam Harris discusses the marriage between neuroscience, meditation, and psychology. He urges readers to find truth from many spiritual figures such as Jesus, Rumi, the Buddha, and Lao Tzu, among others. By discussing spirituality without religion, Harris starts an open conversation about “how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.”
Perfect If You Are | Looking for a book on mindfulness and living in the present.
Reviews | “In Waking Up [Sam Harris] gives us a clear-headed, no-holds-barred look at the spiritual supermarket, calling out what amounts to junk food and showing us where real nutrition can be found. Anyone who realizes the value of a spiritual life will find much to savor here – and those who see no value in it will find much to reflect on." - Daniel Goleman
Price | $10
7. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
What We Love | “The most organized woman in the world,” Marie Kondo, is a dearly loved Japanese cleaning consultant named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2015. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up shares the KonMari method for simplifying, organizing, and decluttering the home. Kondo challenges readers to honestly decipher which possessions add joy to their lives, then rid of the rest. Her story and strategy leads to long-term results that trade clutter for mindfulness, introspection, and optimism.
Perfect If You Are | Looking for a book on organization for the home.
Reviews | "It is enough to salute Kondo for her recognition of something quietly profound: that mess is often about unhappiness, and that the right kind of tidying can be a kind of psychotherapy for the home as well as for the people in it . . . Its strength is its simplicity." - The London Times
Price | $10
8. Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
What We Love | Bea Johnson teams with her husband and two sons in Mill Valley, California to show others how to diminish their footprint on Earth. Zero Waste Home is Johnson’s story about how she reduced her family’s waste to one liter per year and cut their spending by 40 percent. She empowers individuals with knowledge of how to create a better future for humanity and the earth. This wonderfully designed step-by-step guide equips and encourages readers to achieve their no-waste goals.
Perfect If You Are | Looking for a book on reducing waste.
Reviews | “Waste not, want not isn't about penny pinching. It's about gratitude and loving our lives. Bea Johnson doesn't just teach us to save the planet. She teaches us to save ourselves." -Colin Beavan
Price | $13
9. The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees
What We Love | We adore Anuschka Rees for inspiring us and many others around the world all the way from her closet in Berlin, Germany. In The Curated Closet, Rees advocates for clean, streamlined clothing collections. By only keeping pieces we love and wear regularly, she promises we’ll feel more confident and refined. The book helps readers (and shoppers) navigate closet organization, style identity, selective shopping, budget efficiency, and color palettes. Alongside stunning images, she offers creative exercises and pep talks that will undeniably leave you in a more joyful relationship with your wardrobe.
Perfect If You Are | Looking for a book on organizing and decluttering the closet.
Reviews | “Anuschka Rees’s The Curated Closet is a smart, straightforward manual that encourages readers to discover what they like and to develop a wardrobe that makes getting dressed easier. Anuschka's pragmatic book should be required reading for anyone familiar with staring at a closet full of clothes and still feeling like they don't have a thing to wear.” - Erin Boyle
Price | $16
10. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
What We Love | Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover is a must-read for anyone interested in saying goodbye, once and for all, to debt. This book helps readers recognize money myths, develop efficient spending and saving habits, and learn how to effectively budget. Ramsey not only offers practical plans for paying off all debt, but also for creating retirement and emergency security. The American businessman, motivational speaker, television personality, author, and radio host is the lead of Financial Peace University.
Perfect If You Are | Looking for a book on becoming debt-free.
Reviews | “Every month I used to stress out about how to pay all our bills. Now, I have peace and comfort knowing that I am in control. I have bought this book for my family and friends. I think that this book is a must for everyone.” - Ethan Harvey
Price | $20
11. Minimalist Parenting by Christine Koh
What We Love | Minimalist Parenting is Christine Koh’s celebration of simplified family life. She encourages readers to run from over-scheduling, over-parenting, and background noise by stepping into the present-tense. By setting habits of multitasking and planning aside, Koh believes families will better be able to focus on their values and priorities. With helpful strategies and relatable stories, Koh reveals the importance of self-care and streamlined daily routines.
Perfect If You Are | Looking for a book on minimalist parenting.
Reviews | “For any parents who feel overwhelmed with clutter in their homes, their schedules, or their brains (that is, just about every parent!), Minimalist Parenting is an invaluable guide to making family life more serene—and more fun.” - Gretchen Rubin
Price | $18
12. Clutterfree With Kids by Joshua Becker
What We Love | Joshua Becker’s Clutterfree With Kids is the perfect tool for any parent needing clutter management assistance. Becker’s practical solutions and inspirational stories are the result of his family’s journey towards minimalist living. Along with his wife, son, and daughter, the Arizona-dwellers exemplify how “the best things in life aren’t things.” Their story of decluttering for the sake of developing cleaner habits has been seen on CBS Evening News, NPR, the Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal.
Perfect If You Are | Looking for a book on organization and decluttering for families.
Reviews | “Joshua Becker’s Clutterfree with Kids is filled with practical strategies and deep wisdom. It is a must read for professional organizers and parents! He brings an important message to the world. His easy to read style, clear ideas, and inspiring personal journey provide a great catalyst for reconsidering our lives.” - Linda Samuels
Price | $11