If you’re ready to start tossing things to organize your space, you’ll want to pick up a book or two for inspiration before diving into those clutter piles.
“Letting go of things can be difficult. You need a book that will resonate with your psychological needs,” said Julie Bestry, owner of Best Results Organizing in Chattanooga, TN.
With that in mind, check out these seven books to find the decluttering method that’s right for you.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Author: Marie Kondo
“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” has sold more than 2 million copies and even was turned into a TV drama in Japan. Marie Kondo started organizing her parents’ home when she was just 5 years old and founded her own consulting business before she turned 20.
The “KonMari” order of decluttering goes like this: Clothes first, then books, then paper, followed by miscellaneous items. Save mementos for last, since starting with sentimental items will stall decluttering every time. Kondo’s premise is simple: Ask yourself one question about each item that you’ve placed in a pile in the middle of the room as you decide what to keep: “Does this spark joy?” If not, let it go.
Psychic Debris, Crowded Closets: The Relationship Between the Stuff in Your Head and What’s Under Your Bed
Author: Regina Lark
“Psychic Debris, Crowded Closets” is a fun and easy read that gives people insight into their relationships with their stuff, their environment and their lives, said professional organizer Ellen Faye, president of the National Association of Professional Organizers.
The book, written by professional organizer Regina Lark, examines the links among negative self-talk, the “psychic debris” of a cluttered mind, and overflowing closets and drawers. Lark offers a step-by-step regimen and affirmations to change your thinking about clutter while urging you to address the living, breathing clutter in your life such as friends who drag you down.
The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life
Author: Lorie Marrero
This book is the closest thing you’ll find to actually working with a professional organizer, Bestry said. As it turns out, author Lorie Marrero is a professional organizer. “The Clutter Diet” uses a fitness metaphor to conquer obstacles to getting rid of clutter and overcoming barriers like procrastination, all-or-nothing thinking, perfectionism, emotionally charged clutter and defeatist language.
“The Clutter Diet” serves up “recipes” for going room by room to identify challenges and exercises to put the book’s advice into action. “It gives the reader insight, wisdom and a hand to hold as they go through the decluttering process,” Bestry said.
Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight: The Six-Week Total-Life Slim Down
Author: Peter Walsh
In “Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight,” organizing guru Peter Walsh explains the connection between extra stuff and extra pounds, and offers a six-week plan to help readers declutter and lose weight while clearing their minds and spirits.
The book’s publisher tested Walsh’s program, which emphasizes mindfulness, on two dozen volunteers. All reported significant weight loss, calmer minds and happier, more organized lives. The book includes a room-by-room organizing guide, recipes and an exercise plan.
ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life
Authors: Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau
“ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life” uses organizing processes designed for easily distracted folks who find it difficult to complete tasks, said Kim Oser, owner of Need Another You, an organizing and productivity consulting company.
The book divides projects into micro-tasks—like focusing on a single pile for 10 minutes rather than tackling an entire room—so those tasks can be completed before someone loses focus.
“There is nothing wrong with folks who do not have ADD using the methods suggested in this book,” Oser said. “I recommend this book to everyone.”
Judith Kolberg is an expert in chronic disorganization and a pioneer in professional organizing, while Kathleen Nadeau is a clinical psychologist specializing in ADD and ADHD.
Unclutter Your Life in One Week
Author: Erin Rooney Doland
In “Unclutter Your Life in One Week,” Erin Rooney Doland, an organization expert who writes a column for Real Simple magazine, won’t hold your hand while you figure out why you let things get out of control. Instead, her book will propel you into decluttering action.
“Unclutter Your Life” is divided into days of the week and provides tasks for each day, along with worksheets and charts. Doland’s tone is one of straight-shooting advice from a close, no-nonsense friend, according to Bestry: “It’s like your best friend sitting down and saying, ‘Sweetie, we’ve got to deal with this.’”
Organizing from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life
Author: Julie Morgenstern
People mistakenly think they can wave a wand and magically get rid of clutter and disorder that has accumulated over several years in 30 minutes or a few hours, Oser said. “Organizing from the Inside Out,” written by professional organizer Julie Morgenstern, sets you up for success because it breaks down spaces in the home by chapter and provides realistic time frames for organizing each space.