Any time can be a good excuse for a spring clean, especially with the start of a new season. If you need to blow away the cobwebs, declutter, ease a little stress and get organised, these self-help books might be able to assist you in refreshing your home and your life.
Declutter & Organization : Finding Balance
I find organisation ‘porn’ to be a bit of a double-edged sword. It can be motivational but OCD can be triggered with the super clean images, and talk of decluttering when our lives feel out of control can be anxiety-inducing. However, I’ve also found that if you let go of a little perfectionism, getting on top of your physical space to a greater degree can be a good place to find the calm you need to sort through your thoughts and regain a sense of control.
You may never feel that everything is tidy or that you have your shit together, so don’t aim for total organisation on an epic scale. Just take tiny steps and hope for incremental benefits, celebrating those small wins along the way. When living with chronic illness and/or chronic pain, cleaning and tidying often need to be paced. Again, those small steps can add up but don’t overdo things. There’s no rush so take it slow and steady.
Spring cleaning isn’t just about getting rid of stuff & cleaning the house. While tidying your physical space can have a positive knock-on effect to your motivation levels and sense of mental wellbeing, you can spring clean other areas of your life too, like decluttering your mind, decluttering your emails and computer files, organising your work life and so on.
Whatever you’re tackling, the aim is to declutter, make more space, get organised and let go of what’s not used or helpful. This should make life going forward a little bit easier and more manageable, freeing up time so you can have more of it to spend on the other important things in your life.
★ Mental Declutter & Refresh ★
This is described as a “highly accessible guide for a Western audience”, written by Dr Howard C. Cutler to bring us the wisdom and poignant insights of the infamous Dalai Lama. If you want to declutter your life and your mind, this could be a good place to start to free up some of the less important gunk we accumulate over time.
We get to take a deeper look by way of the Tibetan Buddhism principles into the human experience, spiritual freedom and mental liberation. It’s an engaging and enjoyable read while being incredibly profound and thought-provoking.
I read this myself a few years ago and found it incredibly refreshing. Parkin believes his Fuck It approach is akin to the Eastern spiritual concepts around letting go and finding mental freedom but with a more casual edge. If you’re finding the rat race and frustrations of modern day living overwhelming, this book is for you. A little profanity can be a powerful thing when it comes to taking a lighter approach to the things that threaten to overload us, from the pesky frustrations to the bigger problems in life.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck : A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life – Mark Manson
This is another one I read a few years ago taking a similar profanity-based approach. This is a little less spiritual and a little more hands on and personal. Mason acknowledge how positivity can be toxic, making his case and backing it up with poop jokes and academic research to show us the raw truth of life in a way that’s surprisingly refreshing. It’s about embracing uncertainty and fear, accepting our faults, doing away with avoiding, and instead confronting the difficult truths. It’s a down to earth pep talk to shake you awake and give you a new perspective.
This book transcends the world of decluttering and looks at your thoughts, actions and moments in your life. This is about the guiding principles behind what you do.
Francine Jay has developed a minimalist guide to living lightly – she encourages and educates us on streamlining our physical space, overhauling our busy schedules, making the most of our time, changing our outlook on life and simplifying it all.
The book covers learning to lighten your stuff, your spirit, your stress and your step, the latter referring to consumption and environmental concerns.
Lighty is both practical and philosophical. If you want to ditch the guilt and busy-ness of life, then this could make your life and your home less cluttered, easier to manage and more pleasurable.
★ Tidying & Decluttering ★
“A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever” “The Japanese Sensation – over 1.5 million copies sold”
This is one of those International Bestsellers that was able to spark to life a whole new trend and now there’s a widely popular publication genre for decluttering growing in its wake.
Based on the belief that tidying your physical space has a knock-on effect to the rest of your life, Marie Kondo demonstrates actionable ways to tackle the declutter process with the effective KonMari Method. This approach is one of ‘once-cleaned, never-messy-again’, so it’s designed for longer-lasting results.
This book should provide inspiration and motivation, as well as step by step support to get you where you want to be. It’s one for those of us who procrastinate, who find it hard to let go of physical things, or who feel so overwhelmed with clutter that they don’t know where to start. Once you get tidied up, decluttered and organised, you should feel emotionally calmer, mentally more refreshed, and energised. You might also find you’re more motivated in life and more confident to tackle whatever life throws your way.
“An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying”
This is a room-by-room, in-depth guide for tidying that comes with illustrations and inspiration. This book is more about the process of getting things organized and how to go beyond that to then usher in more lightness to your life. You’ll learn about the KonMari method of tidying and discover how to be sensitive to joy.
You’ll find actionable steps for tidying various different objects, from papers and cleaning supplies to clothing and sentimental items. Marie explains how to get rid of things you’ve been holding on to “just in case” and how to decide what brings you joy, allowing you to more easily decide what to keep and what to ditch.
There’s guidance on “storing joyfully” and bringing delight and colour in to your life. There’s also a part on learning from the changes and the process.
As well as guidance in paragraphs, there are easy-to-digest tips, real life case study style examples, and sweet illustrations to break up the text.
This is a popular one with over 4,699 ratings on Amazon, earning it an average 4.5 stars.
Nikki Boyd shares five crucial steps to declutter and organise your home, bringing to the book her top pieces of advice from her experience as a professional organiser. You’ll discover how to assess your space, successfully declutter, curate your belongings, clean your home efficiently, add pleasure to your everyday tasks and generally get organised. The book looks at cultivating a warm atmosphere, making your home beautiful and welcoming.
The book has earned 3,630+ ratings with a 4.5 star average.
Environmental considerations are increasingly at the forefront of social thinking, political promises and business pursuits these days. Bea Johnson has put her experience of simplifying her life into this book, after she, her husband and their two song found their life change for the better when they cut down on consumption and waste. They claim to produce a mere single quart of garage annually, while cutting annual spending by 40% and feeling healthier than ever.
The book provides insights, how-to guidance and practical tools as Bea takes us through the concepts and processes of Zero Waste and sustainability, making them easy and do-able in our everyday lives. Living a reduced waste lifestyle is designed to be better for your wallet, your family, your health and the planet.
I’ve never read or watched any Mrs Hinch but it’s hard to not come across the name given her wild popularity. This particular book – Hinch Yourself Happy – is another trendsetter, having racked up an impressive 18,015+ ratings on Amazon for a 4.5 star average. It’s the Number One Sunday Times Bestseller, as well as being classed by the Mail Online as one of the best books to organise your home in 2020.
Mrs Hinch has over 3 million followers after showcasing her addictive tidying and organising tips to the world. Tidying and cleaning can do wonders for releasing pent up tension and easing anxiety, leaving you feeling calmer once your space is sparkling and refreshed.
This book claims to cover how cleaning can soothe stress, Mrs Hinch’s must have products, step by step instructions for Hinching your home, “and so much more!”
★ Getting Organised ★
This gets a whopping 5 star average on Amazon with over 17,570 ratings. This appears to be a ring bound book of Hinch Lists, Tadaa Lists and Fresh’n Up Fridays lists. This is a book to get you ticking boxes and feeling productive, keeping you motivated and on track.
This one little beautifully designed book is intended to give you a place to put all of your plans, thoughts, lists and sketches together in an organised fashion.
The Little Bullet Book is a “creative and productive organisational system”, where you will be helped to sort out your weekly and monthly goals, as well as your future hopes, with codes for marking different types of tasks and keeping on top of them. You’ll get to note down your daily reminders, aspirations and diary appointments, complete with inspirational nuggets throughout to keep you motivated.
What I like about this book is that it proposes uncovering the reasons behind why decluttering can be difficult. There’s not just procrastination but challenges with throwing certain things away, wondering about ‘what-if’s or saving things ‘just in case’. Diana identifies these emotional declutter hurdles and mindsets, then takes us through workable solutions to move forward.
This book adds a humorous edge to keep things light and engaging, offering both strategies and usable tools so you can declutter, change your mindset, break through the mental barriers, clean through room by room, help others declutter, and so on.
The book acknowledges how decluttering can seem like a never ending job, but she focuses on making it feel easier, more enjoyable and more natural once you get into the swing of it and find your groove.
★ Spring Clean Living ★
Drawing on centuries of Zen Buddhist wisdom, Masuno brings together one lesson a day for 100 days. He shows us how to apply the spirit of Zen to modern day life, such as with dealing with negative emotions, rearranging our belonging and our space to bring peace to our busy minds, stressing less and letting go of what we can’t control, and so on.
Living life with the spirit of Zen can help you feel more at peace, calmier and more fulfilled. It brings balance into your life and helps with mental decluttering, and the easy to follow, one-a-day style makes it convenient for the busiest, most stressed out of readers.
Declutter & Organize Your Home and Life with over 100 Checklists and Worksheets
This is a workbook designed to get your life organised from top to bottom. Cassandra gives advice but this workbook also provides practical, actionable support in the way of over 100 different worksheets, schedules, labels, forms and so on. These tools are essentially everything you might need to get your life, your home, your family and your time organised, decluttered and under control.
With 1,495+ ratings earning it an average 4.5 stars, it’s a popular choice. Judging by a few of the comments, this may be more of an organisation toolkit for those in the US, and those with children as some elements evolve around family organisation.
Cassandra Aarssen is also the bestselling author of another organisation book, ‘Real Life Organizing’.
This time Marie takes on our professional lives, whether you work in an office, in the field or at home, part time or full time or any other format your work life takes.
Marie and Scott give advice and tips on improving how you work, including how to organise your desk and declutter your email folders. They take us through how to ditch distractions and get a more fulfilling work/life balance. The book also looks at how to focus on those things that spark joy so we can experience more enjoyment and less stress from work, which is important considering employment can make up a large proportion of many people spend their lives.
The Home Edit Life : The Complete Guide to Organizing Absolutely Everything at Work, at Home and On the Go – Clea Shearer & Joanna Teplin
The New York Times Number One Bestseller. A Netflix Original Series.
The cover image shouts organisation porn, with items nearly lined up and colour co-ordinated on shelves. This book is an all-in-one affair, taking us through organisation of absolutely everything in our lives.
If you’re feeling everything is a mess and you want a little control back, this might help you get there (or drive you mad trying).
The authors here acknowledge that you needn’t live a minimalist lifestyle to feel calm and happy, so you can still have all of the colour and the stuff and the busy-ness in your life. Their focus is on how you can contain some of the chaos in every area of your life, from kids and pets, to your home, travel, leisure and work life, making your every day a little easier, less stressful and more enjoyable.
This is full of practical, useable tips and tricks to getting organised in a practical sense. It also takes us through the mentality of embracing your life and creating an organising style that works for you.
These books can be fantastic for inspiration and actionable tips, so you can flick through or listen to them at your leisure when you need the boost.
If OCD thinking/behaviours become an issue, take a step away and find strategies to distract and ground yourself. If you live with chronic illness, fatigue or pain, make sure to pace any form of spring cleaning and do it at your own speed.
Do you find a good declutter can be refreshing and energising, or do you find it can trigger OCD tendencies? Is having more organization in your life positive for your mental health?