Top 5 picks: books on organization and minimalism

If you’ve stuck with me and my reviews for the past two months, I salute you. If you got any ideas or inspiration from my posts on organization or minimalism, I would love to hear from you!

Maybe you are interested in these kinds of self-help books, but don’t know where to begin – there are so many! And yes, some self-help books are more helpful than others. For this reason, I have put together my Top 5 Picks of the books I have recently read. (Included are links to my reviews of each book, as well as links to purchase them on Amazon.)

The Joy of Less

 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

 

The More of Less

 

The Curated Closet

 

Simple Matters

Have you read any of these self-help books? Are you adding any of them to your list of books to read? Let me know if you liked them as much as I did!

It’s All Too Much

Title: It’s All Too Much: an easy plan for living a richer life with less stuff
Author: Peter Walsh
Genre: Lifestyle, Minimalism, Nonfiction, Self Help 
Publisher: Free Press
Release Date: January 1st, 2007

I think I would have devoured this book, had it been among the first few I had read on this subject. As it was, I still really enjoyed it, though I have read similar things in similar books (probably copying this author!)

Walsh has some great ideas in dealing with your stuff, and later organizing it. Part One of the book addresses The Clutter Problem, while Part Two deals with Putting Clutter in Its Place. He then tackles room by room, which I find helpful when dealing with clutter and organization.

This is definitely a book I would recommend if you are looking for a fresh start with your things and your home… I just might recommend reading some other books first!

Click on the link below to get your copy of this book:

L’art de la Simplicité

Title: L’art de la Simplicité: how to live more with less 
Author: Dominique Loreau
Genre: Lifestyle, Minimalism, Nonfiction, Self Help
Publisher: Trapeze
Release Date: January 12th, 2017

Let me begin by saying how much I wanted to love this book and read it in one sitting. I just didn’t. I wasn’t able to connect with it the way I’ve connected with others like it. Maybe it was the style of writing, as well as the content. It’s hard to say.

There was a lot to like about this book, a lot of wisdom shared, from eastern civilizations in particular. Many of the ideas found in this book will stick with me for a long time, so I am grateful to have read it. Ideas such as living lightly and eating lightly and overall quality of life. There were so many things I agreed with.

Some of the things that I didn’t necessarily agree with however, the author stated them as rather black and white subjects. To me, there are few things in life that are truly black and white, but we needn’t get into any of that here. It just came across a bit on the harsh side, and I doubt that was the author’s intention. It felt like this is right way, this is best way, when there might be other acceptable and good ways to approach lifestyle. (I won’t get into any specifics, as it was sprinkled throughout the book.)

The book was divided into three parts: Materialism and Minimalism, Body, and Mind. I did appreciate and take away a lot of ideas from each part. I just would have liked the book more if it had been a little more “here is what I think” and less “this is the only way to live.” But anyway, there you have it.

Click on the link below to get your copy of this book:

Real Life Organizing

Title: Real Life Organizing: clean and clutter-free in 15 minutes a day
Author: Cassandra Aarssen
Genre: Lifestyle, Nonfiction, Self Help
Publisher: Mango
Release Date: April 18th, 2017

This book begins by asking the questing: what kind of clutter bug are you? Haha. But really. The author states that every person deals with clutter differently, and falls under the category of butterfly, cricket, ladybug, or bee, or some kind of combination of these. This idea was actually interesting to me, as my husband and I seemed to have different ideas of what organized looked like.

“A butterfly is a very visual person and generally likes to see all their belongings for fear of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ They also can become easily distracted and can float like a butterfly from task to task without really completing any of the projects that they begin.” More is said about butterflies, but you get the idea.

“A cricket is a classic piler!” Image result for hand raised emoji “They are very neat and tidy piles, but piles nonetheless. Crickets like very detailed and logical organizing systems, which can sometimes take too much time to set up or require too much effort to use properly. Therefore, Crickets will stack neat piles until they have time to put them away properly…” Me, me, definitely me. Next.

Ladybugs are generally stressed out by surface clutter and strive to keep their living space clean and clutter-free. Without a micro-organizing system in place, the small stuff can get shoved here, there, and everywhere!” (Now, imagine a cricket and a ladybug living together. The cricket has neat, little piles that the ladybug likes to hide so that the surfaces are clear! #rantover)

“A bee is someone who always has a new project or hobby on the go! They almost always like to keep their tools, papers, and supplies out in plain sight until they have finished the job or hobby they are working on.”

There is (obviously) a lot more to the book than “clutterbugs”, but this idea was probably the most helpful thing I took away from the book, especially since it can reveal how you and your partner tend to look at clutter and how to deal with it. The author also includes many cute charts in the back of the book to help get you going with your decluttering and cleaning!

Click on the link below to get your copy of this book:

Simple Matters

Title: Simple Matters: Living with less and ending up with more
Author: Erin Boyle 
Genre: Lifestyle, Minimalism, Nonfiction, Self Help
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Release Date: January 12th, 2016

Keeping with my current pattern of books on minimalism and simplicity, I picked up Simple Matters from the library, and am now wishing that I had bought it instead. That’s how good it is. I can’t wait to have it among other favorites on the shelf. So let me tell you a bit about it.

In addition to the beautiful, subtle pictures throughout the book, Simple Matters shares truths and wisdoms that I believe anyone can apply to their home and lifestyle. I loved the author’s perspective, having lived in a small flat in NY. Not only did she make the best of the small space that she had, but she made it a home.

This book has it all, beginning with decluttering, simplifying, and organizing, but not stopping there. She goes on to discuss decorating, bath & beauty, getting dressed, cooking & entertaining, cleaning, and finally thriving. I appreciated how thorough Simple Matters was. Not just tackling the clutter (which is essential) but making your home a place where you can rest and grow and thrive.

Each different chapter in Simple Matters was well thought out and intentional about things concerning the home and the body. On a bigger scale, living smaller benefits our environment, too, by being more sustainable, and less wasteful. If you are interested in minimalism, or just a simpler approach to a sustainable life, this book is for you!

Click on the link below to get your copy of this book:

The Joy of Less


Title: The Joy of Less
Author: Francine Jay
Genre: Nonfiction, Lifestyle, Minimalism, Self Help
Publisher: Anja Press
Release Date: June 25th, 2010

This week’s post is different than my usual YA book reviews, as it is a self-help book about minimalism. If this is not your thing, feel free to skip this post; but personally, I believe everyone can benefit from some decluttering in their lives, whether you want to call yourself a “minimalist” or not.

In this quick read, Francine Jay uses her STREAMLINE method to approach decluttering. So here’s what it stands for:

Start over

Trash, treasure, or transfer

Reason for each item

Everything in its place

All surfaces clear

Modules

Limits

If one comes in, one goes out

Narrow down

Everyday maintenance

The STREAMLINE lifestyle is intended to help you maximize space in your home and in your life, giving you more time and energy to do the things that really matter to you. There were so many wonderful take-aways from this book, but I will limit myself to sharing only the top 5 ideas that stood out to me most:

  1. Once we’ve covered our basic needs, our happiness has very little to do with the amount of stuff we own. 
  2. Decluttering is infinitely easier when you think of it as deciding what to keep, rather than deciding what to throw away. 
  3. Every time a new item comes into your home, a similar item must leave. 
  4. Clear surfaced are not only pleasing to the eye, they’re beneficial to the mind. 
  5. To maintain clutter-free storage spaces, you must be a good gatekeeper.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed or stressed, or just feeling like you need to take a closer look at the things you have (and really need) in your life.

Click on the link below to get your copy of this book:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Title: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Author: Marie Kondo
Genre: Nonfiction, Lifestyle, Minimalism, Self Help
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Release Date: January 15th, 2011

For those of you who regularly keep up with this book review blog (thank you, by the way!), you will notice right away that this week’s review is a step away from my usual reads. This is due to the fact that life is officially getting insane with the holidays, NaNoWriMo (anyone else writing 50,000 this month? I salute you.), and Nutcracker craziness at my dance studio. I needed a quick break to reset before the holiday madness. Anyone else?

The need for a reset, not just in my home but in my life as well, prompted me to pick up this book for yet another read. I first read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing last year around this time. Recognizing the stress that builds up around this time of year, I decided to pick it up again for a thorough read-through, highlighting all the way. Even though The KonMari Method is supposed to be a one-time decluttering experience, I admit that I didn’t do it thoroughly the first time I read it. But this is the year that I will team up with my hubby and set our home in order!

The KonMari Method boils down to deciding the things in your home that you really love, the things that “spark joy,” and respectfully discarding the rest. (The exception to this statement are the things we need for our jobs, our health, etc.) I love the idea of being surrounded by the things I really love, not by things I thought I needed but actually don’t. When we rid our homes of all the excess, we realize how much we truly need in order to live a happy life. When we let go of things we have needlessly held on to, we are able to process our past in a healthy way and live for the here and now. This can also help empower us to go after the future we want for ourselves. And by giving your house a detox, you give your life one as well.

This book is the book for you if you are looking to get down to the basics of your life, and free yourself of anything that might be holding you back. There is a reason tiny house living is so appealing to me: living a simple, uncluttered life. This is achievable for all living spaces, no matter the size. I read through this book in one sitting quite easily both times. It’s the perfect read for a weekend afternoon, but make sure you leave yourself time to jump off the couch and begin setting your home in order, because that is exactly what you will want to do!

Click on the link below to get your copy of this book: