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:

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 More of Less

Title: The More of Less: Finding the life you want under everything you own
Author: Joshua Becker
Genre: Minimalism, Nonfiction, Self Help
Publisher: WaterBrook
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

Joshua Becker, creator of BecomingMinimalist.com, defines minimalism as “the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them.” I like this definition because it encourages things in our lives, but not just “things” – the right things! Don’t you love the idea of being surrounded by only the things that add value to your life? I know I do.

One thing I personally appreciated in Becker’s perspective of minimalism was the way he tied it to Jesus. With his teachings on selling your possessions and giving to the poor, and storing up treasures in heaven, we can see that Jesus was a minimalist before his time! Now I don’t think any of us are saying that possessions themselves are wrong; instead, the point Becker makes is that “excess possessions keep up from fulfilling our purpose.”

When we consume less, we have more time, energy, and resources to spend not just on ourselves, but on others as well. Becker states, “People who give away possessions hold their remaining possessions in higher esteem. People who donate money are far less wasteful with the money left over. And people who give their time make better use of their remaining time.” That’s the kind of lifestyle I’m interested in living.

To summarize, minimalism should bring more meaning to our lives by removing things that are truly meaningless. In having less, we find that we really have more – more time, more money, more energy. More of everything that matters, and less of everything that doesn’t.

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

Banish Clutter Forever

Title: Banish Clutter Forever: How the toothbrush principle will change your life
Author: Sheila Chandra
Genre: Minimalism, Nonfiction, Self Help
Publisher: Vermilion
Release Date: March 4th, 2010

So you are probably wondering what the toothbrush principle is (or maybe you don’t care at all, that’s fine too). The idea behind the toothbrush principle is this: no matter how unorganized someone is, they never lose their toothbrush. The system behind it is automatic because it is essential to life (or it should be).

A concept of the toothbrush principle is zoning, which “involves placing things needed for a particular task where they will be used. Ideally as close to that place as possible. This means that you are more likely to replace them correctly without thinking after you have finished with them, since you are already there.”

Another concept of this principle is completion, “to put things back just where they will be needed, immediately afterwards… Ideally, completion should become an addiction that drives you towards replacing things correctly first time.”

Chandra defines clutter as “any thing that you don’t feel good about or that stops you using your space in a way that either empowers or nurtures you.” The purpose of this book is not just how to get rid of your clutter, but the why behind it. When we confront our clutter and clear it from our lives, we can see ourselves, our circumstances, and our ambitions with more clarity.

One analogy I loved in this book was that of Elizabeth Bennet from one of my favorite books, Pride and Prejudice. She could have settled for Mr. Collins, a safe but boring guy, and guaranteed some security for her family, sacrificing her own happiness in the process. But she didn’t settle, and in the end she married Mr. Darcy (sorry if that was a spoiler, but the book is over 200 years old), the man she loved who happened to be desperately rich. This story can apply to real life – “if the space for the thing you really want is full of something not quite right, when it does come along, it will go away again… you won’t be able to take advantage of the opportunity.”

So get rid of your clutter to create space for the things that you really want in life!

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: