Sigh … January 2017 is already in the rearview mirror and most of my New Year’s resolutions have been left in the dust! To be honest, I’ve never been good about resolutions, except one. A few years ago I decided my life was filled with too much material and mental clutter, so I set about trying to simplify and tidy up. I’m not perfect, and I’m definitely not a neat freak (just ask my wife), but along the way I’ve come across a few books that helped me organize, simplify and declutter. Maybe one or two of these will work for you.
Zen Habits – Handbook for Life: Hundreds of Tips for Simplicity, Happiness and Productivity
by Leo Babauta
Babauta got me moving toward a less-cluttered life. He writes about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of life in his blog Zen Habits. He took many of the best tips from the blog and put them in this book. He’s written other books on simplicity, organization and mindfulness — they are all on his blog, and a number of them are available from Douglas County Libraries.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
by Marie Kondo
The big book in the world of decluttering is this tiny book by Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo (and it was also DCL’s most checked-out nonfiction book in 2016). This New York Times bestseller highlights her KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing and storing. I picked a few choice methods from the book instead of subscribing to the entire method, and I still fold socks and t-shirts as prescribed in this video as my little bit of life-changing magic.
If you want more KonMari tips, read Kondo’s follow-up release Spark Joy.
New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and Everyone Else)
by Fay Wolf
In less than 180 pages, New Order covers physical and digital decluttering, organization, productivity and collaboration, and provides a bunch of resources on how and where to donate and recycle all the stuff you’ve tossed. It’s an informative, quick read!
Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess
by Rachel Hoffman
This book is a new entry (2017) in the organization/simplification scene. It’s written for those of us who don’t have the time to follow a complex system of organization. Designed to develop better habits in your habitat, the book has a simple goal: “Not everyone will have a showcase of a home, but whatever your habitat, you deserve for it to bring you happiness, not stress.” You don’t need to be perfect and have tons of time to follow the advice in the book — you just need to start!
The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
by Daniel Levitin
For those more interested in the “why” than the “how-to,” Levitin’s book looks at organization in the 21st-century human by examining brain science, and how “new research into the cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory can be applied to the challenges of our daily lives.” Although a bit dry at times, The Organized Mind is an interesting read filled with illuminating examples and a little how-to as well, and it’s a good match for those who like reading Malcolm Gladwell.
The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck
by Sarah Knight
On the opposite end of the spectrum and subtitled How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have With People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do, this book is written as part parody and part remedy to complex organization-overload manuals. The book talks of finding ways to better enjoy your life by focusing on the things that matter to you, instead of worrying about what others think. It’s R-rated and funny, but also filled with practical advice.
by Nick Hornby
Huh? If you’ve gotten this far, you are probably wondering why High Fidelity is on this list. One reason is that I really like the book (and the movie as well). But I also think it fits — at its core, it’s a story of a guy trying to organize and declutter his past relationships so he can move forward. And isn’t that what simplification/organization/decluttering projects are all about? Let’s stop living in the past, holding on to stuff we don’t need anymore, and let’s look to the future!
Best of luck in the rest of 2017 — may it be simpler, less cluttered, and more enjoyable!