Spark Joy


Title: Spark Joy
Author: Marie Kondo
Genre: Nonfiction, Lifestyle, Minimalism, Self Help
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Release Date: January 5th, 2016

Note: Spark Joy is a companion to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It is “an illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up.” I recommend reading her first book before reading this. 

If you have read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and are wanting more tips and techniques for your home, Spark Joy is for you. Marie begins by sharing her master tips, “Honing your sensitivity to joy,” “How to fill your home with joy,” and “Everything you need to know about storing joyfully.” The premise of this book, like her first book, is surrounding yourself only with things that bring you joy, and discarding the rest with gratitude.

The second part of the book is titled “The tidying encyclopedia,” which consists of chapters dedicated to tidying clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous), and sentimental items. I really enjoyed all of the illustrations she used for these categories. They were cute and helpful visuals to help inspire the organizational process.

The last part of this book, “Life-changing magic,” is all about putting into practice the things you have just read. She walks you through “A home that sparks joy,” spending time on every area of the home, and closes with “The changes that come when you’re done,” which include all the amazing benefits that follow putting your home in order.

I read this book in one day, as I did with her first book. It is the kind of book I love to read that gives me inspiration and motivation to make my home as enjoyable to live in as I possibly can.

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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!

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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. Overall, a fun read!

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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

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!

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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!

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. I highly recommend for anyone interested in such a lifestyle.

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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. 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.

This is a good book for you if you are looking to get rid of your clutter to create space for the things that you really want in life!

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