It’s that time of year – spring cleaning. Not feeling it? Yeah, us too. We went in search of books to help us get going. Here are the best books for spring cleaning inspiration this year.
You might think of over-consumption and the resulting clutter as being a uniquely American problem. It’s fascinating to discover that almost every culture around the world has a philosophy about organizing your living space. Why you should do it, how you should do it, when you should do it. And how often.
We think finding the core motivation for cleaning up is key to entire process.
So whether you’re doing it to spare your loved ones from having to do it after you’re gone, or because you think it will lower your stress level or increase your creativity. Because you’re hoping to use your house as the star of your Instagram feed, or because your in-laws are coming over for dinner in two weeks. Because you have new baby, or because you’re committed to reducing your consumption to save the planet, tap into that energy and let it fuel you.
We also feel obligated to note that the vast majority of authors on this list are women. While normally, we’d applaud that, in this case it feels like further proof that cleaning up our interior living spaces is still “women’s work.” Just sayin’.
Anyhoo, we hope that this list will inspire you to get up and get started on your mission, dear reader. But even if you spend all the time you’ve allotted for cleaning up to reading these books, we think your mind will at least be less cluttered when you’re done.
The Best Books for Spring Cleaning Inspiration This Year
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Unless you’ve been living under a pile of dirty laundry, by now you’ve heard about “the KonMarie Method.” Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. It’s all based on determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t). Don’t have time to read her book? Catch her series on Netflix instead.
Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness by Gretchen Rubin. Rubin’s approach is pragmatic and easy to understand: getting control of our stuff makes us feel more in control of our lives. By getting rid of things we don’t use, don’t need, or don’t love, we free our minds (and our shelves) for what we truly value. Written with a sense of fun, and a clear idea of what’s realistic for most people, she offers manageable steps for creating a more serene, orderly environment.
The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin. Instagram-sensation home experts Shearer and Teplin (whose fan club includes Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow) offer their inside tips. They provide a room-by-room guide to establishing new order in your home. Orderly eye candy, organization porn – call it what you will, for a lot of people it seems to work.
The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life by Joshua Becker. A “minimalist advocate” leads a de-cluttering tour of our own houses and apartments, showing us how to decide what to get rid of and what to keep. He both offers practical guidelines for simplifying our lifestyle at home and addresses underlying issues that contribute to over-accumulation in the first place.
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson. In Sweden there is a kind of de-cluttering called döstädning. Dö meaning “death” and städning meaning “cleaning.” This surprising and invigorating process of clearing out unnecessary belongings can be undertaken at any age or life stage. But one should do it sooner rather than later. Before others have to do it for you.
Beautifully Organized: A Guide to Function and Style in Your Home by Nikki Boyd. A professional organizer shares her best advice for how to create an organized, beautiful, and welcoming home. Her method is based on five essential steps. First, assess your living space. Then de-clutter and curate your possessions. Clean with efficiency, making it as much fun as possible. Organize so you can find what you need. And finally, beautify to create a space you love. Simple, no?
Organized Enough: The Anti-Perfectionist’s Guide to Getting–and Staying–Organized by Amanda Sullivan. This one is for those who want to strike the balance between happy and reasonably organized. As the author notes, it’s for people who “want to be able to find matching socks in the morning but don’t want a color-coded sock drawer.” It focuses on the lifelong habits of the organized, then utilizes seven concepts to help you define your goals and seven essential habits to keep clutter at bay.
New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and Everyone Else) by Fay Wolf. Can a de-cluttered space fuel a creative mind? The author has helped a wide variety of people achieve a less cluttered, more creative life. She shares basic rules for saying goodbye to “stuff,” and hello to new habits that free us up for the things we’re passionate about. And she swears it can all be done in as little as a few minutes a day.
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land with a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich. Finally, we close with a book to help keep all of our angst and emotions about house clean-ups in perspective. Living in a home and having the luxury of thinking about how to keep it clean is not a lifestyle that everyone has access to. And the back-breaking work of house-cleaning for others is not a subject that usually gets much ink. This memoir from a single mother who turned to housekeeping to make ends meet is a sobering reminder of the privilege of having a home to make our own.
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