Book Review: Simple Matters, By Erin Boyle

I bought and enjoyed this book some time ago but I’ve recently reread some chapters that really appealed to me as I continue my journey through zero waste consumption and decluttering. Hence, a book review.

Erin Boyle’s blog is Reading My Tea Leaves and I’ve read it for some time. Her approach aligns with a lot of how I approach living in a world that tells us we need to consume more, but I have noticed an increase in her level of sponsored posts and some of the brands she’s partnered with are simply out of my price bracket or can’t be bought outside of the USA without paying considerable shipping expenses. Therefore, I was interested to see whether her book would offer me a little more than things I cannot afford or cannot purchase.

One of my favourite things about this book is the pictures. They’re calm and really showcase her style, which I happen to like, being a fan of what’s loosely termed Shaker style since I first read about it in an old copy of House Beautiful my mum held onto. I wish my photography skills showed my home off as well as hers do. That simple, scrubbed look is quite timeless and her apartment’s look definitely inspired me a little.

I also enjoyed the chapters on decluttering and organising. I’ve been on a mission to do both for about a year now, and the Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo really did change my life. About half of my possessions have gone. I think Erin’s approach is probably a little more realistic than Marie’s ‘get it all done in one big go’ advice, and it’s definitely closer to how I’ve actually decluttered.

Organising in a 500 sq ft apartment is, I would imagine, difficult but essential-I cannot imagine living in the 173 sq ft that led me to her blog in the first place. I’ve never lived somewhere that small and we moved from a two storey three bedroom house to a three storey five bedroom house, so one would imagine I am not in the market for tips on living in a small space. I think that Erin’s advice on organisation works even better for those of us in bigger homes, however, as I have found that my stuff will expand to fill the available space and this means increased mess and difficulty in finding anything. So, this is a chapter I regularly reread.

Less helpful for me was the advice on recycling as I regularly use the WEEE system for electrical waste, and the list of documents to keep as it was USA-focused. The book is certainly in the same ‘voice’ as her blog, and some of the advice can seem a little preachy. If you’re a person to take this in the right spirit and skim over the parts that are too anecdote heavy, then you’ll probably enjoy the book more than others who may think some of the books is a little too blunt.

I don’t think this book told me anything I didn’t already know I should be doing, be it cutting back on heavy duty cleaning supplies, not keeping multiples of useful things ‘just in case’ or getting rid of dusty half-used cosmetics, but it certainly looks very beautiful and it’s easy to read and dip back into. It would make a very lovely present, for the right person of course and probably not someone who’s of the more is more mindset. I enjoy reading it, and for the moment I read bits and pieces during a lazy evening as part of reinvigorating my current zeal for living with less.

TL/DR, a great looking book and a nice read. It isn’t for everyone, but for me it was well worth the money.

Book Review: Simple Matters, By Erin Boyle

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