Tag Archives: cleaning

My Four Favorite Cleaning and Decluttering Books

4 Favorite Cleaning and Decluttering Books

It doesn’t matter the time of year. It seems everyone is always cleaning, decluttering and organizing their homes, and looking for new and better ways to do so.

I admit, I’m guilty. Right now, I’m doing a major cleanout and it’s refreshing to see open space where once there was something that collected dust.

It seems each season brings a host of new books advising how best to clean through your stuff. Over the years, I’ve read a lot of them, but it seems I still go back to these four books. Here are my favorites:

  1. Move your stuff, change your life by Karen Rauch Carter

I discovered this book in 2007, and it sits within easy reach of my desk. Carter approaches cleaning and organizing from a feng shui perspective, but she’s so much more than that. She takes a very holistic approach to life and is continually educating herself on how our homes can best and most healthily support us. She even wrote a sequel called, Make a Shift, Change Your Life.

Since we’re talking about cleaning and organizing here, I love her approach to working through the process. She suggests defining your perfect life in great detail, then checking to see that you have items in the house that support it. If it doesn’t, out it goes! She’s even conducted annual decluttering workshops to kick start the year.

Whenever I need something positive to keep me going as I declutter, I check out her YouTube channel or Facebook posts, and I’m motivated once again.

  1. Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston

I know, this is another feng shui book, but Kingston does an amazing job of getting down to the psychological and emotional reasons you keep things, and how to move past them. I was fascinated when I read this and still feel this is one of the best books of its kind. Decluttering somehow makes sense with this book.

I read the original, but there’s now an updated version, which I will also purchase. Kingston’s ideas are simple and effective, and you will refer back to it time and again. Like a good novel, once you get to the end you want to start reading from the beginning.

  1. Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley – The Fly Lady

Although there are many good people out there who can help us to declutter, The Fly Lady teaches you how to clean! Not just deep cleaning, but how to maintain a clean and healthy home without spending your Saturdays washing floors and scrubbing toilets. It all comes down to routines.

For as long as I can remember, most people I know have spent their Saturday mornings cleaning for hours. What a lousy way to start the weekend! The Fly Lady agrees and aims to help you keep your weekends free for the important people in your life. Setting up a control journal is crucial to becoming successful here, but it’s super easy. I’ll try to do a blog post in the future about this.

There are references to people whose homes are in complete disarray, but even if you’re already a neat person, you’ll still pick up a few pointers.

I also highly suggest signing up for her newsletter. You’ll be flooded with messages, but there is good information and it keeps you on track.

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

As I’ve stated in previous blog posts, I had already begun doing many things in this book before it was written. I used to move a lot when I was young – a lot! – and everything just got thrown in boxes and oftentimes never got unpacked at the next location. Finally, when I had some time, I started to gather like items together, so I could determine how many of a particular item I had. It was mind blowing! Plus, items that would go into one room in one house might be used completely differently in the new one, so it was important to gather, then decorate.

I was quite open to Kondo’s approach, but I was also deep in the throes of caring for my Mom when I discovered this book, so I wasn’t able to finish going through my entire house the way she suggested. I do have an appreciation for many of her suggestions, but after living with it for a time, not everything works for me. For example, she suggests folding clothing like tops, sweaters, pants – depending on your closet and storage space. So, I folded my tanks, camis and t-shirts. It created much more closet space, but since those items now sit in drawers, I completely forget I have them! I only look in those drawers when I absolutely need those items. I would rather they hang in my closet so I can be more creative in putting together outfits. For me, out of sight, out of mind. I just need a bigger closet…

There you have it! My four favorite cleaning and decluttering books. I’d love to hear about yours! Add your comments below.

Be sure to join my mailing list and follow me on Instagram and Twitter!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Cindi’s Thoughts – KonMari – Does your house have a set point?

Does your house have a set point?We often hear how our bodies have a set point for weight, that no matter how hard we try to lose, it will always work harder and harder to get back to a weight that it feels comfortable maintaining. Much the same, we try to keep our home organizing in check with the one in – one out rule: For every new item we bring into the house, something has to leave.

So, as I’ve been going through my house with the KonMari method, I noticed that as I was getting rid of things, others somehow were making their way into newly found spaces. I got rid of clothes and shoes, but I had to replace some and I added others. Not as much as I had before, definitely, but I felt a little on the skimpy side when I opened my closet doors after the initial cleanse.

It wasn’t only the closet that was affected. I now have a collection of photo props, things I might have considered tossing, or things I needed to buy, just to improve my business photography, plus other small tech items for my business.

Then, there are new sheets (I went all white) and a quilt because I’d been trying to replace one I received as a gift several years ago. When I found it, I felt joy. Isn’t that the whole point of this KonMari exercise – surround yourself with things that bring you joy? Now, it’s possible the things that bring you joy were buried under those that didn’t, but if that’s not the case, you will find a way to bring in the joy.

Once you clean through your house, you open up the space to allow new, wonderful things to happen. Want to learn to play guitar or keyboards? There’s room. How about learning to paint? An easel will fit. Need a home gym? There’s lots of space.

I’m sure when this whole house is KonMari-ed and I’ve finally sold everything I want to on eBay or Amazon or wherever, my house will have significantly less contents. And, I hope to be able to find and use everything I keep. After all, I quite enjoy the fresh air and free space I get when I clean an area and I have no intention of putting something new in its place.

Still, I wondered: How many of you have cleaned through your house and felt great, only to have to return to doing it again a year or two down the road? Kondo says that if you use her method, you won’t experience that again, but I don’t believe that. People change. Circumstances change. People move. Things break.

However, I think that once everything has a home and we’ve all developed new Kondo habits, we’ll be more aware when things are starting to get out of hand and address the issue quickly. List something on eBay immediately when we determine we no longer want it. Have a donation box in our closet. Throw something in the trash when it’s broken and not just relocate it to the garage. Sounds simple but will that initial KonMari elation fade over time?

To me, deep cleaning is like peeling back the layers of an onion. You remove the first layer or two of items you no longer want, only to realize you can go deeper and deeper still. Items you thought brought you joy actually don’t. Over time, you get better and better at realizing what makes you happy.

As the unjoyful leave us, there is room for the joyful to enter. I suspect there are people who feel the need to be surrounded by material possessions, but the point of KonMari is to connect with what you have. Items are not created to sit on a shelf or in a box. They are made to be used. Without the utility, the circle is not complete. Using might mean something as simple as enjoying a piece of artwork; if it’s hanging on the wall, it’s being used but if it’s sitting behind a dresser, not so much.

Not only should we surround ourselves with things that spark joy, we should be grateful for the joy that these items bring us. And, of course, remembering that the joy in life comes from many different places: relationships, experiences, even challenges.

But that brings us back to the opening question: does your house have a set point? In my heart, i believe homes can get along just fine with less filling. They just need to feel loved and experience love within their walls. What do you think?

Enoy!

Cindi

This post contains affiliate links. It is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Thanks!