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All You Need is Less: The Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity Paperback – 1 May 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Viva Editions (1 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936740796
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936740796
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 18.4 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 113,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"All You Need Is Less does a good job at making green living seem more attainable and manageable, and that's definitely something worth promoting." "With a chatty, friendly, guilt-free tone, All You Need is Less offers a plethora of ideas for living a greener, healthier, more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle." --City Book Review "This is the PERFECT gift for anyone who wants to learn how to be more eco in their every day lifestyle choices and doesn't know where to start." --Green Kick "I came away from this book with so many ideas, and this is one that I'm going to keep front and center in my bookshelf, knowing that I'll be returning to it frequently to look up recipes or get ideas on how to do something again and again." --5 Minutes for Mom "From the first page to the last, Somerville's style crackles with funny, and I can't get enough! Better yet, All You Need Is Less is chock full of excellent tips, tricks, and advice for 'green living' as a lifestyle and not just a fad." --The Homemade Creative "Truly attainable greener living by making small changes." --Don't Eat the Paste "As someone who tries teaching others to realistically live a green lifestyle, I absolutely LOVE this book. It does away with the guilt trip that fills most eco-friendly books and gets straight to what you want most--tips on how to live green that are easy enough for just about anyone and will save you money or not cost you much of anything at all." --Budget Earth "Hands-on and instructional, and includes sections on gardening, lifestyle, body, and home, with recipes for things like toothpaste, deodorant, cleaners, and general information about living more simply." --Twenty-two Pleasant "If you want to learn more about simplifying your own life and going green at the same time, be sure to pick up this book." --A Fulfilled Mommy "All You Need Is Less is full of practical advice and fun do-it-yourself activities for the whole family to help you green your life and save you money all in an easy to do way." --Family Focus Blog "I loved that this book was full of inspiration--including recipes for the budget-conscious and earth-friendly readers. The book more than pays for itself just based on the easy-to-follow recipes for household cleaners and homemade beauty products." --Northern Cheapskate "Why I love Madeline: she. just. gets people! She writes in a way that is completely relateable, never condemning, and will make you laugh until you cry." --Hands and Hearts More than Full "Chock-full of ways to save both the planet and money." --Edge "The next generation of green living." --4 Mothers "This book covers the basics in a fun and quirky light, but covers some serious issues about today's culture and our obsession with consumerism." --So Easy Being Green "Witty and light-hearted, and only offers tips and ideas to make your life more eco-friendly without changing every facet of your life." --Found Frolicking "Perfect for anyone that is trying to become earth friendly and live a more sustainable lifestyle. I enjoyed reading this book from cover to cover." --Grandma Bonnie's Closet "All You Need Is Less is a funny, real and practical guide to living green while saving money." --Twin Cities Frugal Mom "There is something here for even the most casually 'green' people to adopt to their lifestyles." --The Broke Mom's Guide to Everything "Blogger Madeleine Somerville has filled this book with practical tips that you can use to reduce consumption and incorporate repurposing and recycling into your daily life. A simple life can be a big improvement that will lead you to more peace and happiness." --Mama Likes This "A funny, relatable guidebook to help many of us make green living a reality." --Over 50, Feeling 40 "Health. Babies. Dogs. All gone green. And by the way, she's hilarious. This isn't just a list of green living concoctions and tips. There's anecdotes from her own life. Struggles to get her husband to see her point of view. Struggles within herself at certain points. There wasn't a page that I flipped where I wasn't entertained." --Femme Frugality "A funny, almost optimistic, list of things you might actually do to go green and frugal. Peppered with personal anecdotes and words of encouragement, I'd describe it more as Martha Stewart goes crunchy granola, than 'this is the only sane way to live.' Doesn't that sound like fun!" --Art of Natural Living "Funny, honest, eloquent, non judgmental and practical... what else could we want from a book on eco-friendly living?" --Bea Johnson, author of Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying your Life by Reducing your Waste "Madeleine manages to craft compelling prose on life's big moments and small. She brings her irreverent, yet always sweet eye, to convey with humour and humility whatever she chooses to illuminate. Highly recommended author." --Ian MacKenzie, Filmmaker "Occupy Love" "Madeleine Somerville effortlessly blends fresh ideas with a delicious sense of humour to create eco-friendly tips you'll actually want to read. Seen through her lens, living a green life becomes not only attainable, but irresistible, too." --Eden Godsoe, Founder and CEO of "Budget tips you'll never read anywhere else." --The Frugal Family "Simple steps you could take immediately to have greater simplicity in your life and free up your energy." --Susyn Reeve, author of The Inspired Life

About the Author

Madeleine Somerville adores writing in all its incarnations -- dramatic exclamation-filled diary entries, pseudo-journalistic endeavors for small town weeklies, and the disfigured, bastard child of the above, blogging. She has a B.A. in sociology and is addicted to commas and soft cheeses. She became an unrepentant, tree-hugging hippie after moving to British Columbia eight years ago, and her husband, daughter, and dog suffer the effects of this metamorphosis on a daily basis. This is her first book. Billee Sharp runs an eco cleaning business and is the author of the bestselling Lemons & Lavender:The Eco Guide to Better Homekeeping. She lives with her family in San Francisco, Ca.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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I started using made up the cleaning products and used ASAP! Amazing book; so amusing too!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 23 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A fun-to-read guide for living green and saving money 29 April 2014
By Lisa Mom of 2 - Published on
Format: Paperback
All You Need Is Less is a funny, real and practical guide to living green while saving money. And it does so without vilifying anyone who uses plastic bags and Lysol.

Eco-blogger Madeleine Somerville even starts the book right away with a laugh at how most eco-friendly books start: "terror-inducing lists of the carcinogenic chemicals you are liberally slathering all over every single surface of your house, painting you as an unwitting eco-villain, happily Lysol-ing you way straight to Hades." (I know what she's talking about - I have some of these books!)

"Well, Lady, you can just relax and unpack your bags - we won't be going on any guilt trips today," she says.

The book is organized into 10 chapters:

Chapter 1: Home
Chapter 2: Body
Chapter 3: Lifestyle
Chapter 4: Food and Drink
Chapter 5: Gardening
Chapter 6: Relationships
Chapter 7: Health & Wellness
Chapter 8: Baby
Chapter 9: Pet
Chapter 10: Holidays

Each chapter is filled with practical tips, a "make it" section with recipes for natural products including all-purpose cleaner, hardwood floor polish, baby wipes and body scrubs, and how-to's for composting, gardening and living simply.

And they're not weird, go-to-some-odd-store-40-miles-from-home-to-buy-the-ingredients kinds of tips. They're actually simple enough for anyone to follow.

For example, did you know you may have many multi-purpose products in your house right now? Madeleine shares many including one we have had sitting in our fridge - apple cider vinegar. I didn't know how versatile it was until reading page 180. Apple cider vinegar can be used as a facial toner, hair conditioner, flea repellent, sunburn reliever, itchy-skin calmer and so much more, and you can find recipes for these as well.

In chapter 3, "Lifestyle," the facts about home size over time are eye-opening. The average home size of 983 square feet in 1950 tripled to 2,480 in 2011, despite the average family size decreasing from 3.37 people in 1950 to 2.6 today. The reason? The availability of easily acquired consumer goods. Madeleine offers a solution - sharing ("beg, barter, borrow") instead of owning everything yourself. And start by approaching a friend or neighbor and generously offering them the use of something of yours. Though neighborhoods aren't what they used to be - I still don't know many of our neighbors after living here 7 years - perhaps starting a bartering system can help people get to know each other (and save each other money!!!).

A great frugal-living book, I love her reasoning behind shopping secondhand. "Buying secondhand is the absolute best way not only to save some cash, but to make sure that you're getting a quality product too. You know those stores that offer shoes for ten dollars, or shirts for five? I can almost guarantee that you're not going to ever see those items in a decent secondhand store."

In other words, items in a secondhand store have already stood the test of time - so the condition you find it in is the condition in which it will remain, so you know you're getting (usually) a quality item.

Overall this is a fun book worth buying to help you live green and save money!

I received this book as part of a blog tour.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A good addition to the how-to-go-green genre 17 April 2014
By J. Gillette - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a good addition to the how-to-go-green genre. I have been actively involved in trying to be "green" for a while and yet this book gave me some new and interesting ideas. Author Madeleine Somerville not only describes things to do, but also how to get your head around the idea of the change so that it actually happens. I especially like that this book was about reducing consumption instead of "just" reusing and recycling. She emphasizes quality over quantity, but also talks about how not getting things you don't need can free you up for the things you really do need, or that is of better quality. For example, if you are buying something secondhand, it will probably be of better quality (and has already shown it can last a while) than to get something new for the same price. The emphasis is on improving quality of life while also making green changes.

Somerville's perky and casual tone is not really my style (she uses phrases like "guys, you need to try this!") but she's likable. The style made me think of the Kiss My Math series by Danika McKellar, but for the green movement.

I already have two people on my list to pass this book to so they can skim it for ideas, and a list of ideas to try myself. I'm giving this book 4 stars.

I received this book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Practical guide to green living 14 April 2014
By Charity - Published on
Format: Paperback
What a fun read on sustainable living! The author has a friendly, chatty style -- for me, this made the book much easier to read, but if occasional rambling irritates you, then you may not like it. She offers practical suggestions for making your life more eco-friendly, but at the same time maintains a realistic approach, recognizing that not all her suggestions will work for everyone. She emphasizes that doing even a few things is better than doing nothing.

She's quite thorough, covering everything from cleaning recipes to gardening to holidays. There's a helpful index in the back of the book so that you can find everything quickly. And she included my favorite "green" tip -- wrap birthday presents in comics! (My mom has been doing this as a money-saving tactic for as long as I can remember.)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Reduce, Re-use, Recycle 13 May 2014
By Heather - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved this book and am happily trying many of Madeleine Somerville's tips and recipes. She is able to write about "going green" so that it makes it easy and she also gets the point across as to "why" it is necessary to make the change, gradually. Her writing is too the point yet funny. I have been passing her tips and recipes on to friends and family and many of them are also making some changes. I was hesitant at first about the shampoo and conditioner recipe but I have found that it is easier, cheaper, better for the environment and my hair feels and looks wonderful. I wish I had listened sooner because I haven't had one tangle since I started using her recipe. I haven't gotten brave enough to try the toothpaste but that may eventually come. Many of the cleaning tips I already do so getting more tips on new things will help me to make that change a little bit more. I highly recommend reading this book and making the life change. We shouldn't have to own everything we see or want. When do we say enough is enough and become happy with what we have. Reduce, re-use, recycle.

I was given a copy of this book for the purpose of review
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
DIY you can actually use 4 April 2014
By Rebecca - Published on
Format: Paperback
Let me begin by saying that I am normally not DIY kind of girl. It isn't that I don't like the idea - I love the thought of being creative and frugal. But often, it's easier said than done. All You Need Is Less makes it easy though, and the author is hilarious as well as informative. If you want a sample of her writing style, she also has a blog - go read it, you won't be disappointed! Even if you're craft-challenged like me, this is a must-have.
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