We all have ambitions of starting the year afresh. We meant to make time during our holidays to have a good go-through the house and garage, chuck out all the junk, and reorganise it all beautifully. Oh but there are so many more tempting things to do than tidy up on a summer's day and it can be hard to decide what to part with. However, do not give up - there is help at hand. Here are some eBooks to help you in your quest for a tidy clean home. Some people like to play a downloadable audiobook on decluttering to keep you motivated while you clean up but there are plenty of real books on tidying if that’s your thing.
Turns out there are good reasons for not doing all that tidying at once, according to my favourite decluttering book Unf*ck Your Habitat you’re better than your mess. Rachel Hoffman tells it how it is with love and a no-nonsense approach. She helps you develop good habits to turn your habitat into something you deserve, even If you only have less than half an hour to tidy up. Have you ever spent time creating a fresh clean look you love, only for it to all be a clutter again in another month? Rachel thinks if we stick to it and do a little tidying each week we can do it. She has faith in us and shows us how to achieve a little at a time until we are doing it. She explains why marathon cleaning is not a good idea and how compulsive decluttering and compulsive hoarding are two sides of the same coin and why minimalism is not for everyone. We learn how to work our way through all the excuses, procrastination and stuff that gets in the way as well as how to get our housemates behind this, involve the children, or get a partner on board. Nobody is left behind as she gives tips on how to surmount health problems by not setting our goals and expectations too high. Tips like taking pictures to record your progress, basic cleaning checklists, what you need for storage, and how to deal with small spaces puts you on the road to success.
Rachel enables you to achieve without fear of failure and shows you how to coach others along the path towards the tidy clean home you deserve with kindness. Most importantly, she tells you to be kind to yourself. Change is difficult, messy is not you, be proud of what ever small changes you have made towards getting your mess under control. She takes an approach which is more realistic for most of us and leaves nobody behind.
Watching Marie Kondo on Netflix or YouTube or reading her books is for some people a life-changing experience. Parting with old clothing and personal objects for which we no longer have any use but we have emotional ties with is difficult. It is hard to touch an item, feel the memories attached with it, and let it go. You need to be in a good headspace to do it without chucking everything or deciding you cannot part with anything and just putting it all back again. Many aspirational tidying and organizing books involve buying new furniture, building, or buying new storage. If you do not have the cash, it can seem unachievable.
Right now there is a strong trend amongst millennials towards minimalism. Valuing the environmental benefits of owning less and living more, living for the joy it brings to yourself and other people rather than working to buy more stuff. If you want to clean up your closet and save the planet at the same time take a look at these books which enable you to join the minimalist lifestyle. Tidy Space Zen design solutions for tidy living; Tidy space: shaker design solutions for tidy living compares Japanese Zen principles of simplicity, precision and tidiness with the Shaker aesthetic of simplicity of design and making things well as a devotion. In Zen thinking, a tidy space is an aid to meditation and calmness and provides quiet spaces for reading and thinking. The idea is to remove distractions and clutter to help to empty the mind and open it to new possibilities and wonder. The uncluttered space should reflect the mind's calm uncluttered state.
Marie Kondo is part of this trend and takes it a step further with all those great tips on how to organise your stuff after you have gone through it all. Folding clothes in thirds and rolling them into thirds again so they stand up and can be stored vertically and sorting things by category then by size are great but can sound a little over the top to the rest of the family. “Oh no! Mum’s on a tidying crusade again!”
It can also can give us the feeling we are somehow failing. Not all of us have days to devote to a big clean up and if you have compulsive tendencies it may be better to spend shorter periods working with smaller areas to tidy. Getting all our books, clothes, or kitchen equipment out and heaping it up can give you stress and anxiety. Touching each individual item to see if it brings you joy before deciding to keep it sounds great but surrounding yourself with lovely things is not the path to happiness.
If you need a little more help to convince the flatmates, partner or the kids they need to clean up their room or tidy up the living room I recommend The boy’s flat guide to Housework! by JM Boud. It has one or two pages of simple instructions on how to do everything from how to do the dusting, tidy the living room, make a bed, or clean the bedroom. There is nothing like seeing it in print to defuse arguments about how to clean the toilet.
Comedian Jolenta Greenberg and her sceptical friend Kristen Meinzer live by the rules of a different self-help book each fortnight in their podcast By the Book. Have a listen to their take on The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up.