Monday, 7 March 2016
Some organising and decluttering books that I've enjoyed lately
Since the New Year I've been on a bit of a decluttering mission. I always find Christmas a bit overwhelming. Ram and I don't get much but the children always end up with a lot, and it's great and they are very lucky but it does take a little while to find new homes for everything.
It also takes a while to get going in January, because there is Harry's birthday too which brings another pile of things, and because we are often away for a few days we miss a couple of bin collections so it's not as easy to throw things away when they aren't actually going anywhere.
So for me this January was about spending free Kindle credit that I accumulated while doing the Christmas shopping (by choosing no rush delivery on Amazon and building up enough credit to buy books for the entire year which are digital so not sitting around cluttering up the place), reading about the joys of minimalist living, and making plans.
So I thought I'd share some of my favourite decluttering and organising books that have really struck a chord and inspired me.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo
I wrote about this book last year - The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo - and it is probably the current classic when it comes to decluttering and keeping it that way. I think it inspired me so much because it shifts the focus away from what to get rid of to what to keep. Although I do enjoy taking part in declutter challenges like the #minsgame I find it a lot easier to choose what to keep rather than what to let go.
I also like her way of thinking when it comes to sentimental objects. Sometimes something has entered our life for a purpose and when that purpose has been served it's time to move on. So you might have a beautiful dress in the wardrobe that you bought but have never worn, but you keep it because it was so expensive. You can thank the dress for the pleasure that it brought you when you purchased it, as that was the purpose that it served.
Aly at Bug, Bird & Bee recently wrote a great blog post about how reading the book this year and following her progress across social media has inspired me to pick it up again.
Miss Minimalist: Inspiration to Downsize, Declutter, and Simplify by Francine Jay (Kindle only)
This book is a collection of articles on the theme of minimalism, which I think are collected and/or adapted from her blog Miss Minimalist. So you can find a lot of the content over there for free, but it's nice to have them all collected together, and it wasn't very expensive. It was a quick read, but easy to pick up and put down when I only had a couple of minutes to read during the day. The articles are very varied and cover all areas of the home and types of possessions.
The Joy of Less - How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life by Francine Jay
This is Francine Jay's longer book which covers many of the themes from her blog in a lot more depth, and it's more of a how-to guide when it comes to looking at your own home and possessions. I've just noticed from the blog that there is a new edition of the book which will be published in April 2016 so it might be worth hanging on for that, especially as this updated version of the book will have a new chapter on how to live clutter free as a family, something missing from her earlier work.
The book goes through all the main areas of your home in turn and talks about what we use these spaces for, what belongs there and what doesn't, and what to do with the things that you want to get rid of. Admittedly I did find that it could get a little repetitive, but then sometimes in order to hear a message you need to hear it repeated several times for it to sink in, and there is lots of inspirational chat to keep you motivated. In particular it has really motivated me to keep my surfaces clear and really think about what belongs in a space, as leaving one thing out just leads to more and more things being added and before you know it you have a house filled with cluttered surfaces.
Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua Becker
Joshua Becker also writes a popular minimalist blog - Becoming Minimalist - where you can find lots of inspirational reading. The book is a great read if you are dealing with family clutter, with an emphasis on removing the clutter to improve family life, for example having extra time to spend with the children instead of constant tidying and cleaning.
I enjoyed reading about his own journey to minimalism as it made it seem more achievable, and although there perhaps wasn't anything ground breaking in his approach, reading through definitely helped to reinforce the message.
Stuffocation by James Wallman
This one isn't such light reading as the others and it goes into more detail about the problems caused by consumerism, particularly in the US but worldwide too, and the modern problem of Stuffocation where people end up with so much more than they really need and what the reasons for this might be.
He also discusses the trend towards minimalism, and choosing experiences over possessions which was very interesting. It's not so much a practical guide to decluttering like the above books, but it's certainly worth a read.
There are also a couple of blogs that I enjoy reading with similar themes that I'd definitely recommend if this is a topic that interests you.
The very popular Zen Habits has plenty of articles on simplifying life by reducing not just possessions but also commitments, helping to reduce stress and live more mindfully.
Unclutterer contains lots of tips and advice along with news and productivity tips. There is also the fab Unitasker Wednesday slot full of funny products that have no place whatsoever in a minimalist household!
These are books and website that I've particularly enjoyed reading but I know that there are loads more out there, I'd love to hear your recommendations!
Amazon links are affiliate.