There are plenty of guides out there to organizing your belongings and sorting through your stuff. The following books about minimalism go deeper than that, though, teaching you how to slim down your possessions while maximizing your time, your creativity, and your relationships to others.
9 Best Books About Minimalism
Ready to simplify your life? These insightful reads show you how to do it.
By Jessica Dukes
Love People, Use Things
By Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
You may know Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus as the stars of The Minimalists: Less Is Now, their celebrated Netflix documentary, or from their previous books, like Minimalism, that document how they left the corporate world to lead intentional lives. In their highly anticipated new release, the bestselling authors move beyond simple decluttering techniques to reveal how living with less leads to real growth, meaning, and contentment. Indeed, Love People, Use Things is not your typical how-to manual on minimalism: It hums with heart, personality, and urgency. Best of all, Love People, Use Things illustrates how breaking free from materialism allows you to focus on what really matters: building stronger bonds with those you love and revitalizing your connection to your possessions, values, creative spirit, and sense of self.
Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World
By Brooke McAlary
The rat race. The grind. Keeping up with the Joneses. Whatever you want to call it, the incessant demand on your time and money is a one-way ticket to burnout. Brooke McAlary was hurtling toward her own breakdown until postnatal depression forced her to step out of the fast lane and into a slow one. In doing so, she found the freedom to accurately define her wants and needs. She also found the courage to stop comparing herself to others and the ability to accept life’s limitations. In this inspiring narrative, McAlary reveals how slowing down, scaling back, and seeking meaningful experiences led to a richer life for herself and her new family.
The Year of Less
By Cait Flanders
Cait Flanders’ story begins with a familiar dilemma. Her credit card debt had swelled out of control, and she had nothing but stress to show for it. Her shopping habit, the thing she once thought made her happy, in fact made things worse. At this point Flanders asked herself: If acquiring more things crowds out my happiness, will having fewer things clear the way for contentment? To find out, she jettisoned 70 percent of her belongings and only bought consumables for a full year. In The Year of Less, Flanders shows us how she did it and, more importantly, how she has stayed out of the vicious consumer-debt cycle.
The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir
By Dee Williams
You don’t have to sell all your possessions and move into a tiny house to reach peak minimalism. If you do, however, Dee Williams’ memoir is a must-read. After a life-changing event, Williams sought a slower pace, a smaller life, and a simplified space of her own designing. Her adventures in building a tiny house are a delight to read, but the real beauty to Williams’ story is witnessing the new life she leads. What she lost in possessions and square footage, she gained in sunsets and lifelong friends. The Big Tiny is a bold exercise in redefining prosperity.
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning
By Margareta Magnusson
It’s tough to admit, but at some point, you will lose a loved one. Once they go, you’ll need to sort through their belongings. In Sweden, there’s a proactive solution for this called döstädning — or decluttering your life before you pass away, thus leaving behind only the items that are of value, hold sentimental worth, or are useful to others. The point is to spare friends and family from having to make these decisions after you’re gone, while also opening the door to delicate conversations about life and death. Before you go thinking that this sounds like a morbid chore, it’s not: Swedish döstädning is often done with humor, joy, wisdom, and a willingness to let go — as demonstrated by Margareta Magnusson in her profound book.
The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own
By Joshua Becker
Have you ever looked at your stuff and thought, “Do I really need all of this?” This simple question inspired Joshua Becker and his wife to get rid of 60 percent of their possessions. Afterward, they learned a powerful lesson: Having fewer items means less time and energy spent cleaning, maintaining, and storing your stuff. It also means more time and money for the things you enjoy, and more freedom to focus on your dreams. More of Less isn’t just a how-to for simplifying your life, it’s a moving meditation on the benefits of doing so.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
By Greg McKeown
Minimalism doesn’t just apply to things, it also applies to how we spend our time. At some point, everyone has felt like they’re spinning their wheels, ignoring their to-do list, and drifting away from a life of value and meaning. Greg McKeown’s Essentialism is the blueprint for reversing course. More than just a guide to time-management strategy (although that’s here too), Essentialism teaches you how to identify the essential tasks in your life and sustain your focus until each task is complete.
The Little Book of Life Skills
By Erin Zammett Ruddy
There’s a wealth of easy-to-use advice packed into this little book, and all of it puts life’s tasks into perspective. From grooming your own eyebrows and patching a small hole in the wall to creating an efficient home office and unplugging from your phone at the end of the day, Erin Zammett Ruddy’s simple life tips will save you time and money while sparing you from worry. Consider The Little Book of Life Skills the ultimate DIY pocket guide to a more streamlined life — one that teaches you to never, ever roll your fitted sheets into a pitiful clump again.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
By Marie Kondo
What we appreciate most about Marie Kondo’s approach to decluttering is that it doesn’t cost a thing. It simply invites you to ask a question: “Do I really love this shirt?” If you do, you keep it; if not, out it goes. If there’s a single reason behind The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’s blockbuster success, it’s that the book elegantly illustrates what our possessions are supposed to provide: use and meaning.