Books on organizing, tidying, and decluttering your home are quite popular right now. I’ve read a few such books in these last couple of years, and I’ve dedicated some pages in one of my journals where I keep track of tips and reflections on these books.
I’m not chasing a minimalist or magazine sort of aesthetic- I have eclectic tastes and enjoy collecting books, figurines, and other stuff (often of clashing cute/creepy/many fandomed varieties!) However, I don’t enjoy clutter that is mindless, and I’ve learned a lot from the tidying and decluttering experts that I think can be incorporated into the lives of everyday people who are finding their stuff overwhelming. No matter the size of your space or your personal style, I think everyone can benefit from reconsidering their relationship with their things, casting out clutter, and celebrating the items that they truly love.
Here I will share the tips that were most useful for me personally. At the end i’m including a booklist for anyone else who might be interested in reading up more in-depth on these concepts! Happy tidying 🙂
- As Marie Kondo states in her bestselling books, If it doesn’t bring you joy, you might be better off without it. (Note: joy can come in many different forms, such as aesthetics, function, comfort, etc.) Another variation of this is: “If it’s not a ‘Hell Yes‘, it’s a NO!”
- Reflect that every time you observe or consider an item in your home that doesn’t bring you joy, you are wasting mental space and time on that item, which adds to mental clutter that can really annoy you over time!
- Acknowledge the privilege you have to be considering how to manage all the stuff you have- this is an opportunity to be thankful for the things you have even as you are working to lessen their hold on you.
- If you’re even considering whether you should let something go, that’s a sign that you probably should.
- Consider stores to be your own personal warehouses-if you have a hard time letting go of an item because it might become useful someday, remember if it’s that useful it will always be available later (and if it’s expensive you can likely borrow or rent it!)
- Think: if I lost this item or it broke, would I buy it again? If not, then you probably don’t need it or love it as much as you thought.
- If sentimental items are holding you back, consider taking a picture of the item. Remember, it’s the memories and intention that matter, not the item itself.
- Storage solutions are not the answer- declutter everything and rely on built-in storage options in your house first. Storage solutions can often exacerbate the problem (hiding the clutter away but not truly tackling it)
- Don’t hold onto something just because of guilt– If it was expensive, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s not what you need and you are wasting mental energy on it.
- If you have a hard time parting with items that were gifted to you, think: the person probably isn’t truly that emotionally invested, and likely wouldn’t want you to keep it if they knew it was not useful or wanted.
- Consider if the item(s) can be donated, sold, gifted, passed down, or recycled. (One person’s trash is another person’s treasure!)
- Remember that someday you will be gone. Perhaps this sounds morbid, but it’s a practical consideration that can inspire you to consider what you really want in your home vs. what is there just because. Consider that every single item represents a potential judgement call that someone (a friend, family) will have to make in addressing the things you leave behind when you die.
These are the books that I’ve read so far on this topic. There are certainly more out there, so explore your options!
- The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
- The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
- The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up: a Magical Story by Marie Kondo, illustrated by Yuko Uramoto
- Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson
- Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary
- Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki
- The Art of Discarding: How to Get Rid of Clutter and Find Joy by Nagisa Tatsumi
- Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living by Elizabeth Willard Thames