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Book Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter by St.James, Elaine (2000)

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Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter by St.James, Elaine (2000)

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  • PDF | Unknown pages
  • Hyperion
  • Unknown
  • 5
  • Self-Help

Read online or download a free book: Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter by St.James, Elaine (2000)

 

Review Text

  • By Geezer on March 31, 2010

    I was surprised by some of the negative reviews. You're not going to completely agree with everything in any book, or even part of it, but that doesn't mean you can't get something out of it, even if it just makes you think. I haven't done all the de-cluttering and simplifying I want to do (BTW, de-cluttering your space and simplifying your life are two different things, although not incompatible), and some of the author's suggestions do sound extreme. That doesn't mean you have to go that far, too. But I've taken some of the advice and have been surprised that making some changes I originally thought were extreme have been the easiest and have simplified my life the most. I now have two handbags, one wallet-sized and another small-to-medium. I have two pairs of good, not extravagant earrings (this was sort of hard), one of which, a basic pair, I wear almost all the time. Same with the rest of my jewelry. I have about 4 pairs of shoes, 1 each of the basic types. You can comfortably cook with a few basic pieces of cookware. Because I'm getting older and only entertain casually, I've handed down my formal china, sterling and crystal (at least most of it<g>) and kept one set of decent one-size-fits-all dinnerware, good stainless steel, and nice glasses. I've tried to let go of most things I've cared about losing or being stolen. I passed down heirlooms to the next generation. Cleaning out and settling my father's estate was an ordeal, but my heirs will bless me! I try to think what I would want to take if my husband and I moved into a motor home. Most of my clothes items will now go with everything else and are basic types that will dress up or down, and what I do buy are either good in quality or practically disposable. I love jeans and you can wear them almost everywhere, nowadays. Getting rid of books tore my heart but after weeding out 9/10's I'm amazed to be satisfied with what I kept and happy to have sold and donated. Our idea of a "nice" car has changed dramatically. We live in a drought area and plan to convert the front yard to drought-friendly if the zoning code allows, but will keep the back yard for the dogs. We're already simplifying the landscaping, but enjoy tending that we're keeping. We're down to two sets of linen and blankets for each bed and two sets of towels per person. This forces you to keep the laundry done.<g> Now that I've listed these things, they do sound like a lot compared with cleaning out a closet. The thing is, these are huge changes that simplified (and de-cluttered) our lives amazingly, and now there's almost a serenity here. I'd like a different house, but if we ever move it will be smaller but better. I thought we needed a bigger place, but now this house seems spacious. When considering buying anything new, I think about whether we need it or I just want it, or if anything else will substitute; as my husband says, "When in need, anything will serve as a hammer." The thing is, I never would have started us down this path if it hadn't been for this book, and this book resonated because it DID suggest big changes. I never would have dreamed I wouldn't feel deprived without the heirlooms, silver and china if I hadn't seriously thought about being so attached to "things." "Things" can be great if you have the time, money, space and inclination for them, and not that long ago I wouldn't have been ready to give them up. If I'd given it more thought, I wouldn't have started a lifestyle of accumulation in the first place--but then maybe I wouldn't feel so liberated about letting them go. The financial cost of accumulating, tending and storing is considerable, and having reduced it I find I think even more that we have a lot and a lot more people don't, so we contribute more. I LOVE seeing the family treasures at my niece and nephews' houses, but I'm glad they have to take care of them now and I don't. Truly, now I think if our house burned down and we lost everything--and I don't pretend many of the things don't have emotional value to me--it would not be that hard to start over, and wouldn't be the trauma for us that it is for most people. We have not found that to be sterile, but maybe that's a process of growing older (and wiser). And it is very, very liberating.

  • By Kelly on January 25, 2004

    I guess this book falls into the category of "never take parenting advice from someone who never had children". I bought this book because I LOVED "Simplify your life" by this author. I found it very helpful. This book, however, was mostly confounding and fairly depressing. While St. James *did* seek out advice from her friends who had children, these friends apparently take a very 'hands off' approach to their kids.The book opens with a scenario in which a mother has forgotten to pick up her child and the child is stranded somewhere late in the evening while she tries to figure out a way to get someone else to go pick him up now that she's home and needs to make dinner. This did not bode well for the rest of the book [for those of us who don't routinely completely forget about our children and leave them alone in public places late at night....]Much of the advice in this book falls into the category of "simplify your life with children by paying someone else to deal with the little brats". There is much about how parents should put their children in day care all day [and don't EVER let your child think they have the ability to cause you to delay your departure because of their pathetic tears, etc, etc, etc] and then get a sitter to care for the children in the evenings so mom can have "Me" time and parents can have "Us" time. Apparently, if you schedule 2 hours of "quality time" on Sunday afternoon with your kids, that's really all they need.There was also a big push to teach the kids "self sufficiency" - as in, your 5 year old really can get his own breakfast so he doesn't "bother" you. I'm all for self sufficient kids and encouraging my children to be strong and independant, but too much of this book was geared towards forcing your kids to basically survive without any parental assistance or interaction - yeah... I guess that would be simplier than actually caring for your kids yourself. At least until they turn 13 and get put in jail for shooting up the school or something.There were a few good ideas in this book, but not nearly enough to warrant wading through all the bad parenting advice and depressing disregard for children's well being. "Shelter for the Spirit" by Victoria Moran includes some great chapters on re-prioritizing and simplifying that are very child-friendly and would lead to strong parent-child relationships. In my opinion, parents would do better to read what Moran has to say and skip this particular book by St. James.


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