Read and Reorganize: Kick Start Your Spring Cleaning

Posted by Aaron on

Do you believe an empty desk signals an empty mind? Or do you require a clean space to think clearly?

Many of us are trying to find a happy medium when it comes to our possessions. Luckily, there are a lot of suitable intervals between not being able to see your floor and drinking all beverages out of a singular coffee mug.

It’s a delicate balance, but it can be struck.

So many of us are trying to strike that balance that the de-cluttering book market is absolutely booming. From The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to Making Peace with the Things in Your Life, there are hundreds of ways to meet your organizing needs without the aid of a blowtorch.

Before the pollen has time to settle on your knick-knacks, let one of these handy books help you make some headway into spring cleaning. Each book has its own philosophy surrounding the process of cleaning and de-cluttering, so you are bound to find one with a philosophy that matches your own… or a new viewpoint for you to adopt!

Clutter Busting by Brooks Palmer is based on the premise that you are sacred… your stuff is not. He encourages removing items from their usual resting places and looking at them with a critical eye. Palmer says that anything in your house is a guest, and guests that aren’t making you happy have to leave. Put Your House on a Diet doesn’t have you kicking out guests, but it does have you cutting the fat. Authors Morrow, Bykofsky, and Rosenkranz liken your cluttered home to an overweight body and use that metaphor to take you through a room-by-room cleaning process. Start with a quiz to determine your “clutter quotient” and go from there.

Unclutter Your Life in One Week by Erin Rooney Doland utilizes a methodical approach to getting not only your home, but your workplace life in order in just one week. Then, she advises on maintaining the clutter-free environment you’ve created. Get Your Act Together by Pam Young similarly offers a plan for getting organized in seven days.

For those who feel they need a wider time frame, try Sandra Felton’s Organizing Magic: 40 Days to a Well-Ordered Home and Life. The book is divided into forty chapters, each for a different day – though not necessarily consecutive days. The author encourages you to pace yourself and suggests that every tip and trick won’t work for every person. A little trial and error in the quest for long-term solutions! Forty days still seem short? 365 Ways to Organize Everything will have you squared away by this time next year.

Many de-cluttering and organizing guides, even the most down-to-earth ones, link a cleaner space to a greater feeling of happiness. Unstuff Your Life by Andrew J. Mellen begins by asking the reader to answer a series of exploratory questions, including: “Do you spend more time looking for things than doing the things you love?” and “Do you often feel stuck?” You can see where he’s going with this! Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness puts it directly in the title! This compact book by Donna Smallin is simply a collection of quick tips to help you refresh your home and clear it of clutter.

Cleaning Up the Clutter by Emilie Barnes will help you organize everything from your paperwork to your meal planning… there are even recipes! Barnes also outlines age-appropriate chores that can be delegated to kids. 1000 Best Quick and Easy Organizing Secrets by Jamie Novak was created to enable the reader to use the book in sections. Don’t have time to go through an organizing guide cover-to-cover? Simply flip to the section most useful to you.

Perhaps your house is organized, but you still need some tips on keeping the grit and grime at bay. From the erstwhile stars of the television show “How Clean is Your House?” (I loved that show! I wonder if it’s on Netflix?) comes the eponymous book. Kim Woodburn and Aggie MacKenzie offer practical hints for cleaning your microwave, fireplace, sinks, and more. They talk about dusting efficiently and keeping dirt out of the house.

Along the same lines of books derived from television shows, come the writings of some extreme clutter experts. For harrowing hoarding tales, choose Matt Paxton’s The Secret Lives of Hoarders or Dr. Robin Zasio’s The Hoarder in You. Paxton’s book focuses more on the stories of hoarders and hoarding, while Dr. Zasio’s book leans toward self-help.

Personally, I need a clean space to think clearly. I don’t subscribe to the “empty desk, empty mind” theory. De-cluttering is important to me and I also believe there are more important things in life than the accumulation of possessions. But I have wrestled with those beliefs alongside my tendency to keep things like seashells and ticket stubs. So, perhaps I am on the same page as many people. We’re all trying to decide what holds value for us, and sometimes we need help devising a system to make those decisions. At least if you borrow a book for this purpose, you already know you won’t need to decide where to put it later! So, check out our spring cleaning book display and enjoy your tidy home!

~ Amanda, reference librarian, Warrenton central library

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