It’s time to break out the broom. These organization books use clear messages and distinct styles, and contain a bevy of useful tips to not only clear your clutter but help you achieve a tidier home and a happier life.
9 Best Organization Books to Help Tidy Up Your Life
Reclaim your space with these illuminating reads.
By Brandon Miller
Love People, Use Things
By Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus
Love People, Use Things is the latest publication by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (aka The Minimalists), and it’s a personal look at how minimalist principles can create opportunities for living a more meaningful life. In this anticipated new release, The Minimalists examine seven key relationships that make us who we are: stuff, truth, self, values, money, creativity, and people. Throughout, Fields Millburn and Nicodemus make an impassioned case for minimalism, advocating for a life of less junk and more time, meaning, passion, and contentment.
Bonus: If you order Love People, Use Things, upload your receipt on TheMinimalists.org and receive a free 90-page Digital Companion Workbook to take notes and track your progress toward a more minimal lifestyle.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
By Marie Kondo
If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo by now, you may be living under a rock — or, at least, in a very messy room. Nevertheless, we highly recommend Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which served as the inspiration for her popular Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. In this book, Kondo presents the KonMari method, which urges people to sort their belongings by category and jettison anything that does not “spark joy.” After clearing away your nonessentials, the method asks you to find a designated place in your home for each item you’ve kept. Kondo is so influential that she was named one of Time’s most influential people of 2015. She has since gone on to open an online store — also called KonMari.
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning
By Margareta Magnusson
While Japanese minimalism is a popular approach to decluttering, it’s worth taking the time to learn more about Scandinavian methods for maintaining a clean home. In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, author Margareta Magnusson promises to help you rid your family of a “lifetime of clutter.” Her method is based upon the Swedish concept of döstädning, which roughly translates into “death” and “cleaning.” Like other experts on our list, Magnusson encourages readers to embrace minimalism, and she even suggests specific areas for cleansing (e.g., unworn clothes, redundant dinnerware). With a dose of humor and an uplifting tone, Magnusson delivers a joyful read, emphasizing the “gentle” and not the “death” in her book’s title.
By Fumio Sasaki
Fumio Sasaki is another leading voice on minimalism, and he draws on his Japanese cultural background to craft his approach — his book promotes “The New Japanese Minimalism.” Nevertheless, in Goodbye, Things, Sasaki also discusses the philosophy and history of minimalism, touching on everything from Steve Jobs to Buddhism. Interestingly, Sasaki is touted as an organizing everyman by his publishers, the antithesis of an “enlightened minimalism expert or organizing guru like Marie Kondo.” But given the success of his debut and his follow-up book Hello, Habits, Sasaki has clearly proven himself to be an essential voice in the minimalism movement. Goodbye, Things draws on personal experience and the idea that any of us can enrich our lives by decluttering our space.
The Home Edit Life
By Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin
Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin are at the top of their game. They have multiple books, a hit Netflix series, and a line of organizational tools sold exclusively through the Container Store. In The Home Edit Life, the authors move from common areas of clutter like pantries and closets to discuss solutions for other storage issues, such as luggage, holiday decor, and pet supplies. While Shearer and Teplin do advocate getting rid of unused items, they also promote the idea that "it’s okay to own things," as evidenced by the item-rich images found in their book. They just want you to make sure everything has a place and label, even if you need to keep "stuff."
Let It Go
By Peter Walsh
In Let It Go, Peter Walsh discusses his experience downsizing his childhood home and sorting through his parents’ old possessions. He offers valuable tips for organizing mementos and family heirlooms. It’s a daunting task — especially when you’re sorting through the belongings of a deceased loved one. Walsh’s work will leave you with a clear understanding of the emotional challenges that come with downsizing, as well as valuable organizing life lessons, such as how to calculate how much stuff you can keep, ways to establish a hierarchy of mementos, and how to distribute keepsakes among multiple individuals.
By Annmarie Brogan and Marie Limpert
In Beyond Tidy, Annmarie Brogan and Marie Limpert — the founders of Organize Me! of NY, LLC — provide a straightforward system for having not just a clean home but also a “tidy” mind and organized lifestyle. They focus on defining different kinds of clutter and setting manageable goals, all while emphasizing the connection between clutter and quality of life.
The More of Less
By Joshua Becker
Joshua Becker’s The More of Less emphasizes the importance of minimalism for crafting greater life satisfaction and improving well-being. Becker and his wife got rid of more than 60 percent of their possessions, and he really digs deep into how their efforts improved their sense of freedom, contentment, and generosity. Becker explores topics such as how time-consuming it is to have and maintain a things-first lifestyle and how donating creates long-lasting joy.
Minimalism Room by Room
By Elizabeth Enright Phillips
Feel overwhelmed by the decluttering process? A room-to-room approach is a great way to ease the anxiety. In Minimalism Room by Room, author Elizabeth Enright Phillips organizes her chapters around the typical home: One chapter covers entryways, and others cover bathrooms, closets, offices, and so on. She also offers tips on minimalist living and has a specific section for small spaces, like studio apartments. Throughout, Enright Phillips stresses that the minimalist lifestyle saves you money, increases sustainability, and improves your outlook on life. What’s more, Minimalism Room by Room contains checklists, sorting guides, and tracking sheets — perfect for readers who like to chart their progress.