The most recommended cleaning books

Who picked these books? Meet our 8 experts.

8 authors created a book list connected to cleaning, and here are their favorite cleaning books.
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Book cover of The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter

Jennifer Howard Author Of Clutter: An Untidy History

From my list on to read when you’re decluttering.

Why am I passionate about this?

I didn’t choose clutter as a topic—it chose me. Around the time Marie Kondo became a tidying-up sensation, my mother suffered a breakdown and could no longer live in her dangerously cluttered house. I’m an only child, so it fell to me to figure what to do with it all. So much stuff! It got me wondering: How did clutter get to be such a huge problem for so many people? The books on this list helped answer that question and made me feel less alone in the struggle with stuff. I hope you find them useful too.

Jennifer's book list on to read when you’re decluttering

Jennifer Howard Why did Jennifer love this book?

Dealing with a lifetime’s worth of possessions feels like a heavy task—heavy in every sense. In this breezy book, Margareta Magnuson reminds readers that it doesn’t have to be a drag. Figuring out what to do with all your things can be cathartic, liberating, even fun, a chance to relive some of the highlights of your life and celebrate where you’ve landed. It’s also a kindness to your nearest and dearest. As she wisely observes, “A loved one wishes to inherit nice things from you. Not all things from you.” I wish I could go back in time and give a copy of this book to my mother with that passage highlighted. 

By Margareta Magnusson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Soon to be a major TV series*

Dostadning, or the art of death cleaning, is a Swedish phenomenon by which the elderly and their families set their affairs in order. Whether it's sorting the family heirlooms from the junk, downsizing to a smaller place, or using a failsafe system to stop you losing essentials, death cleaning gives us the chance to make the later years of our lives as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Whatever your age, Swedish death cleaning can be used to help you de-clutter your life, and take stock of what's important.

Radical and joyous, eighty-something Margareta…

Book cover of The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify

Rose Lounsbury Author Of Less: Minimalism for Real

From my list on minimalism and simplicity for working moms.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2012 I started a minimalist journey, inspired by my 1,500 square foot house that could no longer comfortably contain the possessions belonging to me, my partner, and our then 2-year-old triplets. I was a full-time working mom with little time to declutter, yet I knew that if I didn’t change our home, the stress of our stuff would rob us of valuable space and time to enjoy our young family. Over a period of eight months, I let go of about 70% of our possessions, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve since taught hundreds of thousands of busy parents how to do the same through my blog, book, TEDx, keynotes, classes, and coaching.  

Rose's book list on minimalism and simplicity for working moms

Rose Lounsbury Why did Rose love this book?

This was the very first book I read after being introduced to the idea of minimalism and it got me off my couch and decluttering my cabinets pronto! Jay breaks down decluttering with her simple streamline method, and since I had no methods of my own at the time, I happily borrowed hers. One of the best tips I learned from this book was to empty spaces that you want to declutter. I’d never done that before and now this is something I ask all my clients to do. I’m so grateful to Francine Jay for getting me started on the minimalist path! 

By Francine Jay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Joy of Less as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An inspiring read for anyone wanting to downsize, finally park the car in the garage, or just clear out a few closets." -Rachel Jonat,

Having less stuff is the key to happiness: Do you ever feel overwhelmed, instead of overjoyed, by all your possessions? Do you secretly wish a gale force wind would blow the clutter from your home? If so, it's time to simplify your life! The Joy of Less is a fun, lighthearted guide to minimalist living:
* Part One provides an inspirational pep talk on the joys and rewards of paring down.
* Part Two presents…

Book cover of A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind

Alexandria Blaelock Author Of Christmas Travesties

From Alexandria's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Knowledge collector Reader K-drama watcher Dog owner (sorry not sorry)

Alexandria's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Alexandria Blaelock Why did Alexandria love this book?

Cleaning and tidying are definitely my least favourite things to do. I even wrote a book about minimally viable housekeeping! But I’m fascinated by people who love it and embrace it, and like to read about them while I contort my face with increasing incredulity. Perhaps the same way as I’m fascinated by venomous spiders.

So, this book gave me a glimpse behind the scenes of the Komyoji Buddhist Temple in Tokyo, along with the interesting “fact” that cleaning can be a way to cultivate the mind, and clean the soul.

I can’t say it’s made an enormous difference to me, aside from wanting to throw out almost everything I own so I don’t have to clean or tidy it. That’s a philosophy I can get behind!

Also, the illustrations are adorable and made me want to do better.

By Shoukei Matsumoto,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cleanliness is next to enlightenment. In this Japanese bestseller a Buddhist monk explains the traditional meditative techniques that will help cleanse not only your house - but your soul.

Live clean. Feel calm. Be happy.

We remove dust to sweep away our worldly cares. We live simply and take time to contemplate the self, mindfully living each moment. It's not just monks that need to live this way. Everyone in today's busy world needs it.

In Japan, cleanliness is next to enlightenment. This bestselling guide by a Zen Buddhist monk draws on ancient traditions to show you how a few…

Book cover of Cleaning Plain & Simple: A Ready Reference Guide with Hundreds of Sparkling Solutions to Your Everyday Cleaning Challenges

Joni Hilton Author Of Housekeeping Secrets My Mother Never Taught Me

From my list on home organization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ll admit it: I love the domestic arts. As a natural klutz, I knew sports would be out and I focused on organizing, cooking, gardening, cleaning, and decorating. My mother knew all the old-fashioned tricks and I collected the new ones. Today I have several thousand followers on my youtube channel, where I share life hacks, housekeeping hints, and even motherly advice as the Youtube Mom. One of my sons said that none of his buddies knew how to do laundry, cook, iron, etc., and suggested I have a channel to fill in the gaps for Millenials. Having hosted a TV talk show in Los Angeles, this appealed to me right away. And, you guessed it, lots of moms and grandmas write in as well, saying they never knew those tricks themselves. It’s truly gratifying to share these time-and-money-saving ideas.

Joni's book list on home organization

Joni Hilton Why did Joni love this book?

This is a great roundup of cleaning ideas. Donna is particularly good at stain removal (even from window blinds), tool recommendations (which vacuum for which job), and safety (how to prevent mold and mildew). I’m a very visual learner, so I love all her charts that simplify so many tasks. She’s also not afraid to get into the chemistry of why things work.

By Donna Smallin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cleaning Plain & Simple as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Learn how to clean smarter, not harder, and you'll have more time to do the things you love. With plain and simple advice on everything from dusting and swabbing to polishing and vacuuming, best-selling author Donna Smallin shows you how to make the most of your valuable cleaning time. Hundreds of quick tips and practical solutions for every imaginable cleaning situation promise you the sparkling, healthy environment you want for your family.

Book cover of Poppleton in Spring

Elise Broach Author Of The Miniature World of Marvin & James

From my list on early readers with funny animal friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of nearly thirty books for children, ranging from board books to young adult novels. This list combines two of my great loves: animals and early readers. I love animals because they are funny, amazing, and mysterious, and they have brought me so much joy throughout my life. I love early readers because they are small books about big feelings—big problems, big dramas, big adventures. The words may be simple, but there is nothing simple about the emotions in these stories. For beginning readers, these first, short chapter books are the gateway to a lifetime of literary pleasures. Below are a few of my favorites, old and new. 

Elise's book list on early readers with funny animal friendships

Elise Broach Why did Elise love this book?

Rylant is the true maestro of early readers, with her trademark blend of kid-friendly adventure, childhood truth, and humor. It’s hard to pick a favorite from her many offerings, but the Poppleton books—about an independent-minded pig with lots of plans—stand out for their appealing silliness and the bright, energetic pictures by Teague.  In this book, Poppleton embarks on a spring-cleaning project to clear out his overcrowded house but ends up finding a host of new treasures at the home of his llama friend, Cherry Sue. He has other schemes for enjoying the springtime—maybe he’ll go for a bike ride or camp out under the stars—but with Poppleton, you never know how these adventures will end up.

By Cynthia Rylant, Mark Teague (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Poppleton in Spring as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Revisit three wonderful stories from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant and award-winning illustrator Mark Teague--with new cover art and design!

In this easy-to-read chapter book, Poppleton the pig charms young readers with his quirky adventures, whimsical ideas, and engaging community of friends! In three wonderful springtime stories, Poppleton tries his hand at spring cleaning, riding a bike, and staying up all night in his new tent.

These hilarious stories feature simple language, everyday experiences, and beautiful illustrations--perfect for beginning readers!

Book cover of The Pocket Butler's Guide to Good Housekeeping: Expert Advice on Cleaning, Laundry and Home Maintenance

Laura Calder Author Of The Inviting Life: An Inspirational Guide to Homemaking, Hosting and Opening the Door to Happiness

From my list on making and running a welcoming home.

Why am I passionate about this?

Laura Calder is a recognized advocate for living well at home. She is the author of four cookbooks and received a James Beard Award for her long-running television series, French Food at Home.

Laura's book list on making and running a welcoming home

Laura Calder Why did Laura love this book?

How to run a house is no longer part of our education system. The only way to learn this vital skill – one that helps make the whole of our lives run more smoothly - is by educating ourselves. This compact book teaches us everything from how to clean a room to how to fold socks to how to descale a shower head. It’s like having your own butler to turn to for advice whenever you need it.

By Charles MacPherson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pocket Butler's Guide to Good Housekeeping as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everyone's favourite butler is back! Get your home spic and span with Charles MacPherson's expert tips and tricks for everything from polishing silverware to organizing the garage.

After over 30 years as a professional butler and household manager, Charles MacPherson knows a thing or two about keeping a home clean and organized. He has poured his vast knowledge and expertise into this pocket-sized volume, perfect for easy day-to-day reference or to guide your next marathon cleaning session.

Everything you need to know is here. With step-by-step instructions for cleaning, organizing, and maintaining every room in your home, The Pocket Butler's…

Book cover of Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More

Laura Fenton Author Of The Little Book of Living Small

From my list on small space design.

Why am I passionate about this?

I know small spaces from first-hand experience. As a writer based in New York City, I have lived in a series of impossibly small spaces, including a 6’ x 8’ bedroom in an apartment with no living room and a teeny-tiny studio that was made livable by installing a Murphy bed. Today I live in less than 700 square feet with my husband and son. When I set out to write my own book, I wanted to inspire readers to make the most of their own small homes and discover the freedom that living small provides. I have an extensive personal library of books about small space design, but these five are my all-time favorites.

Laura's book list on small space design

Laura Fenton Why did Laura love this book?

This book is not specifically about small spaces, but it would be a valuable addition to any small-space library for its message of living with less and conscious consumption. I discovered Erin’s writing and her blog Reading My Tea Leaves when I was a new mom looking for examples of families choosing to live in small spaces. Erin’s book Simple Matters is one I turn back to whenever I need a fresh burst of inspiration to declutter, simplify, and embrace a slower style of home-keeping. Simple Matters is not a coffee table book, it is meant to be picked up and read. 

By Erin Boyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Simple Matters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Erin Boyle shares practical guidance and personal insights on small-space living and conscious consumption. At once pragmatic and philosophical, Simple Matters is a nod to the growing consensus that living simply and purposefully is more sustainable not only for the environment, but for our own happiness and well-being, too. Boyle embraces the notion that "living small" is beneficial and accessible to us all-whether we're renting a tiny apartment or purchasing a three-story house. Filled with personal essays, projects, and helpful advice on how to be inventive and resourceful in a tight space, Simple Matters shows that living simply is about…