Book Review: Simplify. 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life

Simplify, the ebook

When Joshua Becker of BecomingMinimalist contacted me about his new ebook, Simplify. 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life, I checked out his website. This is someone who walks the walk.

Joshua Becker embarked on a mission to simplify his life in a rational way. Simplify. 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life is the result of that process. In this book, Joshua shares his principles for making simplification work for ordinary people.

The Book

The book is laid out around seven principles, each of which plays into the overall process of making your life simpler.

Principle 1: Be Convinced

In order to make any change, you have to be convinced to do it. In this chapter, he talks about why you might want to simplify. Simplicity and productivity are intertwined very closely, and with less stuff, you will have more time.

Principle 2: Make it Work For You

Most methodology out there, be it productivity, simplicity, organization or cooking, insists that you do it their way. Joshua takes a different tactic. He espouses “rational minimalism”, meaning that everyone has different levels of simplicity. No two people are alike. It would stand to reason that individuals would have individual levels of comfort with simplicity.

Principle 3: Jump Right In

In this chapter, Joshua gets started with actually making the changes. Decluttering can be overwhelming, he points out. But rather than telling you to break it in small chunks, he tells you to go for the easy win. This means pick and area that is small enough to do quickly, but on whose successful declutter you can build.

This chapter is also where he talks about minimizing versus leveling. Leveling is when you move stuff out of the way, rather than get rid of it. This leads, in my mind, to the most dangerous types of clutter: the hidden clutter that you forget about.

The chapter is also loaded with tips on how to accomplish the often daunting task of paring down the stuff, and what to do with it when you’re done. I’m not sure I agree entirely with this. It has always seemed more important to me to get the stuff out of the house, rather than hanging on to it to sell in a yard sale, on eBay or on Craig’s List.

Principle 4: Stop the Trend

Once you have gotten rid of the stuff, you have to make sure it doesn’t come back. In this chapter he talks about consumerism as well as how to create a spending plan so that you don’t go back to where you were. Don’t worry – this isn’t about creating painful budgets, but how to tackle spending within your means.

Principle 5: Persevere

It’s not enough that you are at a point of being simplified. You have to keep working at it. In this next chapter, Joshua talks about filling needs that can turn into clutter (clothing) as well as some ideas on how to handle child toys and gifts.

Principle 6: Share the Joy

I have found that as I simplify, organize and declutter, people come to me for help. It will happen to you too. This chapter is about how to share the joy of living a simpler life.

Principle 7: Simplify Everywhere

This last chapter has something I have seen before and something new. The pickle jar theory of time management is shared, showing you that you need to keep focused on the big stuff in your life.

A new thing for me was the concept of the Tyranny of the Urgent. This theory, published way back when, talks about how we are more likely to deal with the things that are clamoring for our attention, rather than the things that are truly important. Simplification can help us avoid that.


I was honestly prepared to read just another decluttering book. But Simplify. 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life inspired me to get back into actively getting rid of the stuff. I started working on getting rid of things in my house that I had never considered getting rid of before, and my dining room table is piled high with things to be dropped off at the thrift store.

This ebook is an easy, quick read, and it flows nicely. It has some interesting differences from other decluttering books I have read, and presents the information in an accessible way.

Disclosure: Joshua sent me a free preview copy of the ebook in order to review it. Since I was so impressed with his message and the ebook, I also have become an affiliate for his ebook.