Book Review: A Simplified Life by Emily Ley

If I’m being honest, I miss reading. A lot. I used to read all the time, and considered it a favorite pastime. Now, I have a hard time focusing on a good book when my kids (ages 3 and 6) are awake. If I wait to do a little reading before bedtime, forget about it! I’m asleep after one page. That is why I love a book that is an easy read!

Book Review: A Simplified Life by Emily Ley

I want something I can pick up and put down without feeling like I have to really immerse myself in it in order to really enjoy the book. A Simplified Life by Emily Ley was a great book to meet all of my needs!

This book is practical, feels realistically achievable, and is beautifully designed.

A Simplified Life focuses on tactical tools for intentional living. Emily Ley is the author, and she is the founder and CEO of Simplified®, the company that makes the Simplified Planner® you might have heard about. Long before this highly successfully company took off, Emily was a blogger. Now, she focuses on creating tools to help women feel inspired and empowered to simplify their life. This book is a product of some of her best tips and tricks, and I LOVED it.

Book Review: A Simplified Life by Emily Ley

The book is broken into ten chapters that each focus on simplifying a different area of your life.

Each chapter has stunning photography, space to journal/reflect on important questions Emily poses (Confession: I didn’t write in my book. I couldn’t bring myself to write on those pretty pages!), and a wonderfully down-to-earth perspective on tackling that area of your life. Also, at the end of each chapter there are five steps to simplify that chapter’s focus that you could do immediately. (This was one of my favorite features of the book!)

I can be a little cynical sometimes. Those perfect blogger photos or carefully curated Instagram posts can make me want to barf. So, I was obviously skeptical of how relatable and genuine this book would be. Simplify my life? Heh. If only! But, turns out, it was great. Emily doesn’t claim to be perfect, and often shares anecdotes that have helped her grow.

This book contains SO many tips for simplifying your life, it is crazy. Are they new tips I’ve never heard of before? No. But there are a large number of new things I was able to implement in my own life. And, although she says you will be MOST successful in simplifying your life if you follow the steps in each chapter, I have done bits and pieces of her advice in random chunks of free time over the last few months, and it has still been life-changing and life-giving!

After reading this book, I did all of the following:

  • Sorted through all of my kitchen items and took FOUR BOXES of items to consign or donate, leaving numerous cupboards half-full or empty. (P.S. I haven’t missed a thing!)
  • Took two full garbage bags of clothes out of my closet to consign or donate.
  • Adjusted the way I think about hospitality in my home, and have hosted more friends for coffee, dinner, or just conversation than I have in months.
  • Changed the way I approach meal planning, and have felt less stressed about this aspect of my life.
  • Altered my methods for family scheduling, have said ‘no’ more often, left margin in our calendar, and scheduled time for ME each week.  
  • And, I haven’t purchased a single item to help me organize any of my belongings, as Emily instructs. This is HUGE.

Overall, I highly recommend this book as an easy read that may change your life. Additionally, it would make a fantastic gift. One of my favorite quotes from the book speaks to the content you will read within it:

“I’m not sure the words simple and motherhood can even be used in the same sentence. But there are ways we can manage the chaos and infuse our families with principles of grace, structure, and order.”

Now, go find this book at your local library, or find it here, here, or here! And simplify your life!


Linda is a Michigan native who moved to Iowa City in 2011 and hasn’t left yet. She and her husband of twelve years, Jacob, have two spunky kids – a kindergartner and a third grader. Linda works full time at the University of Iowa as the Administrative Director for the Medical Scientist Training Program. Together, Linda and her family enjoy cheering for the Nebraska Cornhuskers (shhhh!), going on adventures both big and small, and playing board games (they have over 100 and will play with anyone they can talk into it). Linda is often told she has two volumes: on and off, and she will enthusiastically respond to any news you tell her. No matter the volume she uses, Linda is an “old soul” with a love for baking, embroidery, and old movies.


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