Books to help you organise your home.

Image: Mica Murphy/Penguin

We’ve all been spending more time at home recently, using our space for leisure, work and day-to-day living.

If you’re anything like us, that’s probably resulted in a house that’s a little bit chaotic. Perhaps you’ve got piles of things everywhere, or perhaps everything has been stuffed in cupboards so you can make the most of the space you have – only now, you can’t find anything.

On top of that, there's also an increased amount of cleaning to do, from washing what seems like endless dishes to trying to find the energy to dust off the television.

But don’t worry, there are books that can help. Whether you’re looking to streamline what you have, get into a cleaning routine, or become more environmentally friendly when it comes to the home, this reading list is for you.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo (2016)

If you haven’t read Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy yet, you will no doubt have heard lots about it, from how it advocates throwing everything away to how Kondo supposedly says we should only keep 30 books (she doesn’t, for what it’s worth). But forget everything you’ve heard and go straight to the source. Kondo’s method teaches you to sort through your belongings by category, keeping what gives you joy and then discarding the rest (excluding the items you actually need to live your life, which might not give you joy but are essential). A crucial part of the KonMari Method is also learning how to fold your clothing in a way that saves space. It might not be for everyone, but if you have too much stuff and it’s all stressing you out, then Spark Joy is a good place to begin. 

The Green Edit: Home by Kezia Neusch (2020)

From printing less to using keep cups, we’re all trying to figure out ways to help the planet a little more. But it can be confusing, and when you’re using  a tumble dryer every week or buying food that comes wrapped in three layers of plastic, it can feel like a reusable coffee cup won’t make much difference. But Kezia Neusch’s The Green Edit: Home will help you create a more eco-friendly home that also makes your space look and feel better. The blogger and low-waste expert shares practical tips on making your house sustainable, including simple swaps we can all make. 

Hinch Yourself Happy by Mrs Hinch (2019)

Are you surrounded by dirty dishes? Or just have no idea how to remove that thick layer of dust from the top shelf of your bookcase? Mrs Hinch has the solution for you. Hinch Yourself Happy is a guide to how to create a clean house based on your own needs: you might want to dust daily, or you might be searching for tips on regular deep cleaning. After putting Mrs Hinch’s tips into practice, you’re going to be able to see your reflection in your kitchen sink (and not just because it’ll be empty). 

Banish Clutter Forever by Sheila Chandra (2010)

If the KonMari Method isn’t quite working for you, then maybe you need to try Sheila Chandra’s Toothbrush Principle, named after the idea that even the most disorganised person never seems to lose their toothbrush. The principle works for homes of all sizes, and will teach you how to organise according to the unconscious blueprint that naturally tidy people have. You’ll learn to throw away items with confidence (instead of worrying you’ve just got rid of something you’re about to need), and if you work from home, Chandra will teach you how to set aside a clear, designated space. The book promises that once you’ve put its tips into practice, you’ll never spend more than 10 minutes a day tidying up. That sounds blissful to us. 

Minimal by Madeleine Olivia (2020)

Minimalism isn’t for everyone, but in her book environmentalist Madeleine Olivia makes a case for why it should be. Minimal is not just about decluttering your life and reducing waste, but also lays out how to make your own natural beauty and cleaning products, ensuring you’re not just being environmentally friendly, but that your home also contains unique products that visitors are sure to ask about. 

The Little Book of Cleanfulness by The Secret Cleaner (2019)

There are some people in life that love cleaning, and then there are the rest of us, who find it a bore. For the latter, April, also known as The Secret Cleaner, offers tips on how you can reframe the way you think about tidying up. Chapters include ‘Redirecting the Rage Clean’ and ‘9 Things You Forgot to Clean’, and all the tips and challenges are geared towards being simple and using minimal time and effort. This book might not make cleaning fun, but it will definitely make it less of a chore. 

Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki (2017)

At the time of writing this book, Fumio Sasaki lived in a tiny studio in Tokyo with three shirts, four pairs of trousers, four pairs of socks and not much else. In this book, he explores the philosophy behind minimalism  and offers a set of rules to live by if you want to embrace having less stuff. Sasaki’s method isn’t for everyone (families with children are going to need a lot more clothes to counter impending paint/food/play disasters, for a start), but Goodbye, Things will get you thinking a little differently about why you own everything you do. 

Mary’s Household Tricks and Tips by Mary Berry (2017)

If there’s one person you can rely on in life to give good advice, it’s queen of everything Mary Berry. In Mary’s Household Tricks and Tips, Berry covers every aspect of the home, from giving tips on how to use your freezer and organise your food to banishing moths and removing stains from every kind of fabric to how to bring greenery into the house if you don’t have a garden. There’s not a thing Berry doesn’t know, and this book is the perfect guide to consult if you want to improve your home. 

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