3 must-read books on decluttering and organising your house and life

There’s nothing I love more than being asked for book recommendations. I’m a bit of a book geek when it comes to non-fiction. I really do have a passion for learning. And lately, I’ve been asked a lot about my must-read books on decluttering and organising.

When I got started with my own decluttering journey back at the beginning of the year, I had a lot of help and inspiration through the app Blinkist. Blinkist gives you key ideas from non-fiction’s best books, distilled into powerful short reads or listens for your mobile device. And it’s through Blinkist that I first discovered the 3 books I am recommending in this post, before deciding I wanted to read more and buy or borrow the books.

So here are my top 3…

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo

I’ve already written in more details about this fantastic book, and I’d really recommend you read it. My key takeaways are:

  • Only surround yourself with things that ‘spark joy’ – keep the things that you use and make you happy. Get rid of the things that remind you of the past. Or that you keep just in case you ever need them again.
  • A space that’s tidy and works the way you want it and need it to work will make you feel happier and more relaxed, both in mind and body. There is a reason why people claim to have achieved happiness by pursuing a more minimalist lifestyle!
  • Try not to be afraid to let things go. Try to focus on the positives and on what you’re achieving. If you have a vision in mind of what you want your house or specific rooms to look like, it’s easier to be ruthless and let things go.
  • My personal tip, in addition to this, is to do things ‘in rounds’. When you first go through your wardrobe you may want to keep that jumper that you loved so much. But as time goes by, and every time you open your wardrobe you are reminded of a time that’s long gone and realise the jumper is only taking up space, you may come to terms with the fact that it’s time to let it go. And when you do, you’ll be ok with it.

Scaling Down, by Judi Culberston and Marj Decker

This is a great book if you feel (or know) that you have too many things but are struggling to let go of them. It could be that you have collections you no longer want, had a hobby you no longer pursue, or want to make room for an extra bedroom or a home office. Whatever your goal, it helps if you keep that in the forefront of your mind.
My key takeaways from this book are:
  • Start with the areas of the house that look easy – grab a bag and set yourself a task to throw X things away. And just do it!
  • If you’re a collector you probably do it for a reason – be it that you enjoy collecting something or see it as an investment. Either way, consider swapping your current collections for ones made of items that don’t take up a lot of space – some people even collect intangible things, like experiences or ‘sightings’.
  • Group similar objects together and go through them all together. So get all your mugs, all your jumpers etc. and decide which items need to go and which ones can stay. You do that by throwing out anything that you don’t use or like. And if you find that you start objecting and ‘arguing with yourself’, try and really question your motivations. Do you really need to keep so many takeaway boxes?
  • Take photos of the items that you feel most attached to – for most things a photo will be enough to still evoke a particular memory or feeling without having to actually keep the physical item.
  • Try and give things away to others who might need them or use them. You may find it a lot easier to let go of something this way – at least you’ll know it’s going to a ‘good home’.

Organising From the Inside Out, by Julie Morgenstern

So you got rid of some clutter and now have more space, but how do you organise your belongings in a way that makes sense for you and your life? How can you maximise your organisational potential? In this book Morgenstern comes up with 3 key steps. And you can apply these to every area of your house or life:

  1. Analyse – decide what things or activities are necessary and which ones aren’t.
  2. Strategise – decide what needs to be done and by when.
  3. Attack – organise your tasks into logical groups and tackle them together.

A few other nuggets I picked up from this book are:

  • If you have areas where you’re not very organised, try and think about the time you could save if you were. For example, imagine how long you’d save in the morning if you didn’t have to go hunting for your shoes. Try and think about the things that are essential to the smooth running or your day-to-day activities. Can you look for ways to organise them to save yourself some time?
  • Be realistic about the time it’ll take to (re-)organise your life. Morgenstern quotes that it takes approximately one and a half day to organise an entire room. So if you do this an hour here and there, it’ll take time. Invest that time! If you expect to finish it all up in an afternoon, you might just give up.
  • Try not to organise other people’s spaces for them – your partner’s or your children’s for example. What works for you (your ‘method’) won’t necessarily work for them, and you might all struggle to keep up with it. So try and get their input instead, and it should be a lot easier to stay organised.

What about you? Are there any books or blogs that you’d recommend on decluttering and organising? Do you have any additional tips to share with us? 

*Please note, this post contains affiliate links. 


  1. 14th September 2017 / 4:52 pm

    I love the Konmari Method. I think it really helps to hone our skills of what we love – especially when we see all of one category in one place. I really loved The Joy of Less by Francine Jay. I would recommend my blog for decluttering 🙂 – but also A Slob Comes Clean – she has a podcast and a blog. I haven’t regretted letting go of anything I’ve donated, threw away or recycled. Decluttering opens up space for new experiences and increased awareness!

    • Sara
      15th September 2017 / 10:12 am

      Thank you for the recommendations, Angela – I’ve noted them down and will be checking them out. So excited to find someone who’s passionate about the same things I’m passionate about! It really really works!

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