Books To Help You Live More With Less

As ethically minded consumers, it’s 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 15 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.

Head here for our guide to book club subscriptions so you can keep the inspiration coming. Don’t want to add more books to your collection? Check out your local library, or borrow a friend’s copy!

1. Essential

Authors | Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

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” is for anyone who desires a more intentional life.

Perfect If You Are | Looking for a practical primer on minimalist living

Review | “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 | $17, or find secondhand

2. Simple Matters

Author | Erin Boyle

What We Love | Erin Boyle lives with her husband and two children 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 both the environment and your personal happiness.

Perfect If You Are | Looking for a book on living simply in the city

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

Price | $20, or find secondhand

3. The Joy Of Less

Author | 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 countless major media outlets. Read more from this hiking, traveling, yoga-loving blogger here.

Perfect If You Are | Looking for a book on living simply

Review | “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 | $17, or find secondhand

4. I Am Here Now

Author | 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 help 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

Review | “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 | $17, or find secondhand

5. Mindful Simplicity

Author | Yolanda Acree

What We Love | Yolanda Acree is the founder of Black Minimalists, a community created specifically for Black people who want to live more simply and intentionally. Her book “Mindful Simplicity,” a step-by-step, easy-to-follow guide, makes achieving that all the more accessible. Using practical tips and positive affirmations, you’ll learn how to declutter and organize everything from work to your finances. 

Perfect If You Are | Looking for mindfulness-based strategies

Review | “In Mindful Simplicity, Yolanda provides an easy-to-read guidebook on simplicity―how deliberate actions and choices improve our lives. Her approach to explaining the psychology behind mental and physical consumption is essential to the process of elimination. This is a must-read for anyone on the journey to live with intention.” —Christine Platt, The Afrominimalist

Price | $15, or find secondhand

6. Waking Up

Author | 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 the 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

Review | “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 | $18, or find secondhand

7. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Author | 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 lead to long-term results that trade clutter for mindfulness, introspection, and optimism.

Perfect If You Are | Looking for a thoughtful book on home organization

Review | “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 | $17, or find secondhand

8. The Year of Less

Author | Cait Flanders

What We Love | When Cait Flanders was in her late twenties, she found herself consumed by, well, consumerism (and a $30,000 debt). So she committed herself to a 12-month shopping ban—save for the essentials like groceries and gas—and gained more insight into her personal addictions and the deep-rooted reasons for them. More of a memoir than a how-to guide, “The Year Of Less” recounts Flanders’ year-long journey and shares moments not previously revealed on her former blog.

Perfect If You Are | Looking for a confessional-style memoir

Review | “I enjoyed this book a lot. Cait is not a therapist or a guru or etc…is a normal person with addictions and challenges in her daily life. The point is that she makes you feel very close to her and come in to her story and at the end you are asking yourself: why not me?” —Anna Miquel, Amazon

Price | $16, or find secondhand

9. Slow

Author | Brooke McAlary

What We Love | After being diagnosed with severe post-natal depression, Brooke McAlary sought to slow her pace down, remove her life’s excess, and embrace more meaningful experiences. She then discovered the benefits of living with less. With helpful illustrations, inspirational quotes, and practical advice, McAlary’s book “Slow” is a warm, welcoming, and understanding invitation to slow living. She also hosts a podcast, newsletter, and digital retreat—all of which can be found on her website.

Perfect If You Are | Looking for an encouraging entrance into slow living

Review | “After reading this book, you’ll have an amazing list of ingredients that can help you create a meaningful life.” —The Minimalists

Price | $26, or find secondhand

10. Zero Waste Home

Author | Bea Johnson

What We Love | Bea Johnson teams up 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

Review | “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 | $18, or find secondhand

11. The Curated Closet

Author | 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 minimalist fashion and decluttering the closet

Review | “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 | $25, or find secondhand

12. Essential Zen Habits

Author | Leo Babauta

What We Love | Leo Babauta is a Guam-born husband, father of six, writer, runner, and vegan currently living in Davis, California, and inspiring people daily. His book, “Zen Habits,” is a collection of articles from his blog of the same name. 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

Review | “[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 | $12, or find secondhand

13. The Total Money Makeover

Author | 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

Review | “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 | $27, or find secondhand

14. Minimalist Parenting

Author | 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.

Review | “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 | $28, or find secondhand

15. Clutterfree With Kids

Author | 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

Review | “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, or find secondhand

The Good Trade editors endorse books we genuinely love. If you end up making a purchase through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a commission. Learn more here.