Erin Boyle lives in a tiny apartment in New York with her husband and daughter, and writes a blog called Reading My Tea Leaves about simple, sustainable living.
Erin’s book, Simple Matters, covers similar themes to her blog and provides practical advice on how to declutter your home, change your purchasing habits by buying less, as well as investing in items which are durable or recyclable, and other ways to reduce waste and protect the environment.
This book is full of ideas on how to simplify and style your home, how to choose natural beauty products or make your own to reduce the chemicals that we put on our bodies, as well as DIY cleaning products (white vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda have a multitude of cleaning uses) instead of the harmful detergents and bleaches available in the shops to reduce the toxins in our homes and our impact on the world. My favourite piece of advice (which I adopted before I’d finished reading the book) was keeping food waste to be composted in a sealed box in the freezer which prevents it from going off, smelling or in our case our cat from getting into it.
The writing can be a little dry and instructional in places, but comes to life when she describes her personal experiences of moving home, travelling, parenting and living simply. I appreciated that while Erin is dedicated to reducing her impact on the planet as much as possible, her personal brand of minimalism and sustainable living is both aspirational and pragmatic, she advocates conscious consumption but she doesn’t beat herself up for eating her favourite fruit out of season once in a while.
The presentation of this book is lovely, it’s packed with photos of her home and its contents to show that simplicity and minimalism can be stylish as well as functional. This was an easy book to read which made me think about ways I could live more sustainably and simplify my home.