The best books for people who want to reimagine their relationship to stuff

Who am I?

As a professional organizer since 1999, I’ve realized that the problem isn’t so much that we are disorganized, but that we are out-matched. We have too much stuff, it is too cheap and we are too busy and we can’t keep up. If you really want to stay organized, you have to examine your relationship to stuff. Why we want what we want and buy what we buy. Less but better! 


I wrote...

Organized Enough: The Anti-Perfectionist's Guide to Getting -- and Staying -- Organized

By Amanda Sullivan,

Book cover of Organized Enough: The Anti-Perfectionist's Guide to Getting -- and Staying -- Organized

What is my book about?

If you're looking to clean up but not clean out, if you want to declutter but don't want to throw out eighty percent of your stuff, if you want to be able to find matching socks in the morning but don't want a color-coded sock drawer, you've come to the right place. Organized Enough offers a groundbreaking, science-driven method for getting -- and staying -- organized. Amanda Sullivan's proven approach will teach you the lifelong habits of the organized, showing you how to make cleaning up effortless and automatic.

With seven concepts to help you define your goals and seven essential habits to keep chaos and clutter at bay, Organized Enough will teach you to reframe how you think about your space, your stuff, and your life.

The books I picked & why

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Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui: Free Yourself from Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Clutter Forever

By Karen Kingston,

Book cover of Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui: Free Yourself from Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Clutter Forever

Why this book?

Probably the grandmother of all decluttering books, this book, like all great books, is so deep and yet so simple. She has some great practical tips for de-cluttering, such as using a ‘transit’ box for things that go in other rooms so you don’t have to keep getting up and end up getting distracted; as well as some expansive interpretations of de-cluttering, like clear out old relationships. As an organizer, I realize that almost everything a person needs to know about de-cluttering Kingston put down on paper in 1998. 


Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,

Book cover of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Why this book?

It is trite to say: this book changed my life… and maybe not accurate, maybe what this book did was profoundly alter my understanding of myself. I love this book. Csikszentmihalyi explains that when we are happy we are in Flow, which is an optimal state of challenge and success. One person might find it in tennis, another at work, another (my son) in video games. But some of us, know how to find it… and that, my dear, makes all the difference.


A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy

By Sarah Lazarovic,

Book cover of A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy

Why this book?

This tiny gem of a book was born when Lazarovic decided to go on a shopping diet and paint the things she coveted instead of buying them. In the first half of her wonderfully illustrated and hand-lettered book, she explains her evolution from “I want it” child, to mall-rat teen to coming of age in the age of fast fashion. She chronicles her clothes, her awakening to the downsides of late-stage capitalism, and ends with several wise tips to help slow our consumption. A dynamo of a political pill wrapped in utterly playful confection of art and humor. One thing I do not regret buying is this book!


Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

By Ingrid Fetell Lee,

Book cover of Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

Why this book?

This is such a fun book. There are things we know (I love my new orange club chair!) but we don’t know why… or you don’t, but I do, because I read Joyful and now I understand why we are neurologically primed for certain shapes, colors to bring us joy. This book explained so much for me about the push-pull so many of my clients have between craving abundance but also wanting order, and why we are all such suckers for novelty items. Fetell Lee also has a fun chart at the back, so you can try to bring some joy to your interior. Everyone should read this book because minimalism is boring and people need to stop painting their walls grey.


The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish

By Linda Przybyszewski,

Book cover of The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish

Why this book?

Przybryszewski, a history professor at Notre Dame, had me from the start where she says she’s probably the only person to have spoken to the Supreme court wearing a ’suit that won a blue ribbon at a country fair.” Taking American fashion back to the Home Economics taught at Land Grant Universities and subsequently, at high schools, Przybryszewski argues that knowing how to sew was not just a practical skill, but also made us better consumers.

Making our own clothes might have seemed like drudgery, but it was empowering and now that most of us don’t have those skills, we’re literally slaves to fashion…  we can’t tell high-quality from low quality, we can’t put in pockets when we need them… and nothing, nothing is ever our exact size. This is a book that will make you want to learn to make your own clothes… or at least cast a far more critical eye on any piece of clothing you are considering purchasing.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in life satisfaction, fashion, and attention?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about life satisfaction, fashion, and attention.

Life Satisfaction Explore 109 books about life satisfaction
Fashion Explore 31 books about fashion
Attention Explore 7 books about attention

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Happy Brain: The Science of Where Happiness Comes From, and Why, You Are the One: A Bold Adventure in Finding Purpose, Discovering the Real You, and Loving Fully, and The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris if you like this list.