The best books about order and clutter

8 authors have picked their favorite books about order and clutter and why they recommend each book.

Soon, you will be able to filter by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to explore books.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

The Organized Mind

By Daniel J Levitin,

Book cover of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

This book is a hefty one—I recommend the audiobook if you’ve got a bad back—but it will help you understand how your brain works in a way that almost no other book can. And the better you understand your mind, the better you’ll be able to make it do what you want, and how to protect yourself from the things that might otherwise sabotage your creative thinking.


Who am I?

You know how most young kids go through a phrase where they ask “why” about everything, and then they ask it again, and again, and again? Well, I never really outgrew that. I studied journalism because it gave me permission to be curious about new things every day, and to ask experts “why.” Marketing gave me a new way to chase my curiosity: Why are people clicking this ad, opening this email, following that social account or searching for that phrase? I’ve helped 30% of the Fortune 100 answer the questions about why their content is working, or isn’t, and my first book, The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas, was born from my introspective curiosity about how my own idea generation process worked. 


I wrote...

The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas

By Melanie Deziel,

Book cover of The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas

What is my book about?

In The Content Fuel Framework, trained journalist and award-winning content marketer Melanie Deziel shows you how to maximize your creativity by systematizing it. This simple framework catalyzes the brainstorming process, making idea generation effortless and nearly automatic. No more writer's block. No more asking "what should I post?" No more waiting for that "big idea" to show up in its own time. 

Never before have we consumed as much content, in as many forms, and in as many places as we do now. This means marketers, creators, and anyone who communicates with an audience is under more pressure than ever to deliver unique content, consistently. How can you fill all those web pages, social feeds, blogs, and newsletters, every single day?

Breathing Room

By Lauren Rosenfeld, Melva Green,

Book cover of Breathing Room: Open Your Heart by Decluttering Your Home

I love the concept of being able to breathe easier in life and at home. The first part of this book is about getting clear on the intention of decluttering each room. I appreciate that each chapter offers a blessing for that room as well. The second part of the book dives into spiritual decluttering: heart, mental and emotional clutter, relationships, roles, and responsibilities. I particularly love the concept of passing your clutter through the three gates of meaning: "Is it true to my intentions? Do I use it? Is it kind to my heart and spirit?" I enjoyed the gentle nature of this book.


Who am I?

I speak from experience because within the decade of 20092019, I downsized from my enormous home and cleared out both of my parent’s houses. I felt like I was drowning in stuff when I added up all three houses. Lighter Living is a collection of my insights from, and candid reflections on, my journey of owning less. The benefits of lighter living are so broad and deep that they can’t be boiled down to one end result. My hope is that you will find the process of consolidation to be satisfying and fulfilling. That was my experience. My choice of a lighter lifestyle has brought me a greater sense of well-being. In a world that often seems stressful and chaotic, that’s a feeling I cherish.


I wrote...

Lighter Living: Declutter. Organize. Simplify.

By Lisa J. Shultz,

Book cover of Lighter Living: Declutter. Organize. Simplify.

What is my book about?

Clearing clutter is much more than cleaning out a closet crammed with things or getting rid of the contents of boxes piled in your basement, attic, or storage unit. Most of us have unfinished business that might make us feel like we walk around dragging a heavy ball with a chain connected to our ankle. When you declutter and possibly downsize, you can free yourself of weighty matters that tie you down physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Lighter Living explains why you might want to simplify your home and your life. It shows you how to declutter and then organize what you keep. Finally, you are given a vision for lifelong decluttering and how it can lead to well-being and peace of mind.

Inheriting Clutter

By Julie Hall,

Book cover of Inheriting Clutter: How to Calm the Chaos Your Parents Leave Behind

Sometimes I just need a major kick-in-the-butt motivational book. In 2020, author Julie Hall renamed her previous book entitled Boomer Burden: Dealing with Your Parents Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff. The content is the same, but the title and cover changed. Julie Hall is a personal property expert, who wishes to show you how to clear a family home and minimize family feuds. The book is filled with excellent advice and guidance and also a few horror stories to motivate the reader to take positive action sooner than later. It is a wake-up call if you need one!


Who am I?

I speak from experience because within the decade of 20092019, I downsized from my enormous home and cleared out both of my parent’s houses. I felt like I was drowning in stuff when I added up all three houses. Lighter Living is a collection of my insights from, and candid reflections on, my journey of owning less. The benefits of lighter living are so broad and deep that they can’t be boiled down to one end result. My hope is that you will find the process of consolidation to be satisfying and fulfilling. That was my experience. My choice of a lighter lifestyle has brought me a greater sense of well-being. In a world that often seems stressful and chaotic, that’s a feeling I cherish.


I wrote...

Lighter Living: Declutter. Organize. Simplify.

By Lisa J. Shultz,

Book cover of Lighter Living: Declutter. Organize. Simplify.

What is my book about?

Clearing clutter is much more than cleaning out a closet crammed with things or getting rid of the contents of boxes piled in your basement, attic, or storage unit. Most of us have unfinished business that might make us feel like we walk around dragging a heavy ball with a chain connected to our ankle. When you declutter and possibly downsize, you can free yourself of weighty matters that tie you down physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Lighter Living explains why you might want to simplify your home and your life. It shows you how to declutter and then organize what you keep. Finally, you are given a vision for lifelong decluttering and how it can lead to well-being and peace of mind.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

By Margareta Magnusson,

Book cover of The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter

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. 


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

Clutter: An Untidy History

By Jennifer Howard,

Book cover of Clutter: An Untidy History

What is my book about?

Inspired by the painful process of cleaning out her mother’s house, Jennifer Howard sets her own personal struggle with clutter against a meticulously researched history of just how the developed world came to drown in material goods. In an age when Amazon can deliver anything at the click of a mouse and decluttering guru, Marie Kondo can become a reality TV star, Howard’s bracing analysis has never been more timely. Slim and compelling, Clutter is a book for anyone struggling to understand why they have so much stuffand what to do about it.

The Joy of Less

By Francine Jay,

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

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! 


Who am I?

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.  


I wrote...

Less: Minimalism for Real

By Rose Lounsbury,

Book cover of Less: Minimalism for Real

What is my book about?

In Less, Rose Lounsbury--simplicity coach, keynote speaker, and still-sane mother of triplets--takes a practical, hands-on approach to decluttering your home and simplifying your life. Based on her own life-changing experiment of “going minimalist,” Rose provides a realistic guide to reducing your excess stuff and reclaiming your hard-earned free time.

Less offers attainable steps that you can take to achieve the clutter-free, functional home you crave. Through candid stories from her life as a minimalist blogger-turned-businesswoman, Rose will inspire you to stop spending your time dealing with your stuff and start living a better life with less.

Sustainable Minimalism

By Stephanie Marie Seferian,

Book cover of Sustainable Minimalism: Embrace Zero Waste, Build Sustainability Habits That Last, and Become a Minimalist Without Sacrificing the Plane

Stephanie Seferian is a good friend of mine and her Sustainable Minimalists podcast is one of my favorites! When I found out she was putting all her eco-minimalist knowledge into a book, I knew I had to get a copy. This book shares practical, well-researched advice on how you can reduce your number of possessions while also reducing your carbon footprint. Stephanie is a mother of two young girls, so her advice is applicable to busy moms who don’t have a lot of time. You’ll want to dog-ear and sticky note many of these pages!


Who am I?

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.  


I wrote...

Less: Minimalism for Real

By Rose Lounsbury,

Book cover of Less: Minimalism for Real

What is my book about?

In Less, Rose Lounsbury--simplicity coach, keynote speaker, and still-sane mother of triplets--takes a practical, hands-on approach to decluttering your home and simplifying your life. Based on her own life-changing experiment of “going minimalist,” Rose provides a realistic guide to reducing your excess stuff and reclaiming your hard-earned free time.

Less offers attainable steps that you can take to achieve the clutter-free, functional home you crave. Through candid stories from her life as a minimalist blogger-turned-businesswoman, Rose will inspire you to stop spending your time dealing with your stuff and start living a better life with less.

Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD

By Susan Pinsky,

Book cover of Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized

I was introduced to this book by a client of mine who, due to her severe ADHD, was struggling to manage her life while pursuing her dream of a graduate degree. I got my own copy and have since recommended it to nearly all my personal clients! This book is written with plenty of bullet points, clear pictures, and open space on the pages to help ADHD brains focus and get the information they need. Although the author addresses readers with ADHD specifically, I think the title of this book should be “Organizing Solutions for Everybody!!!” It’s one of the few organizing books I keep on my own bookshelf. 


Who am I?

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.  


I wrote...

Less: Minimalism for Real

By Rose Lounsbury,

Book cover of Less: Minimalism for Real

What is my book about?

In Less, Rose Lounsbury--simplicity coach, keynote speaker, and still-sane mother of triplets--takes a practical, hands-on approach to decluttering your home and simplifying your life. Based on her own life-changing experiment of “going minimalist,” Rose provides a realistic guide to reducing your excess stuff and reclaiming your hard-earned free time.

Less offers attainable steps that you can take to achieve the clutter-free, functional home you crave. Through candid stories from her life as a minimalist blogger-turned-businesswoman, Rose will inspire you to stop spending your time dealing with your stuff and start living a better life with less.

Simple Matters

By Erin Boyle,

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

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. 


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

The Little Book of Living Small

By Laura Fenton,

Book cover of The Little Book of Living Small

What is my book about?

The Little Book of Living Small offers practical advice for managing a tight footprint. Packed with actionable advice, The Little Book of Living Small shows readers how to make the most of limited square footage―with grace and style―and serves as the cheerleader readers need to help themselves feel satisfied and proud of their choice to live with less. The book features twelve case study homes in which style-savvy, small-space dwellers (from singles to families of four) open their doors and share their design secrets. Stylistically these homes range from urban to rural, minimalist to bohemian, with the unifying thread that they are all real homes of 1,200 square feet or less and offer clever solutions for you to use in your own home.

Fridge Love

By Kristen Hong,

Book cover of Fridge Love: Organize Your Refrigerator for a Healthier, Happier Life--With 100 Recipes

People who live with clutter and disorganization are far more likely to struggle with weight issues than those who keep their homes orderly. In my years of organizing kitchens and pantries, I’ve seen that buying healthy food is only a small part of healthy eating; organization of that food and meal planning are equally important. In Fridge Love, Kirsten Hong not only shares how to organize your refrigerator so healthy foods are easily accessible, but also shares recipes and meal planning tips.


Who am I?

I'm the founder of Life Organized Inc, a firm specializing in the organization of people, their lives, and physical spaces. Known for creating solutions that are as aesthetically appealing as they are practical, I transform spaces from the inside out. My areas of expertise include home and office organization, time management, digital decluttering, organizing for academic success, maximizing productivity while working from home, and management of everyday chaos. I'm a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the NYU Stern School of Business.


I wrote...

Secrets of an Organized Mom

By Barbara Reich,

Book cover of Secrets of an Organized Mom

What is my book about?

My book offers a life-changing approach to decluttering and streamlining your home so you and your family can live a simpler, less chaotic life.

Room by room, I address the most problematic areas in the home—from the tornado-struck play area to the packed basement—and tackle organizing in manageable bites. In addition to organizing tips, I address how to avoid social overload, preaching the power of “No”—for example, when your child wants to attend multiple birthday parties in one weekend. As the mother of twins, I have first-hand insight into the lives of crazed moms. Combining the humor of a sympathetic friend and the no-nonsense advice of a true type-A personality, I offer clever, appealing solutions that are genuinely achievable for everyone.

The Art of Clean Up

By Ursus Wehrli,

Book cover of The Art of Clean Up: Life Made Neat and Tidy

Swiss artist Ursus Wehrli reorganizes what he sees through humorous photos that categorize everyday objects by color, size, and shape. The letters in alphabet soup are arranged alphabetically, the cars in a parking lot are organized by color, and a fruit salad is separated into its individual fruits. The colorful before and after photos are fun for all ages.


Who am I?

I'm the founder of Life Organized Inc, a firm specializing in the organization of people, their lives, and physical spaces. Known for creating solutions that are as aesthetically appealing as they are practical, I transform spaces from the inside out. My areas of expertise include home and office organization, time management, digital decluttering, organizing for academic success, maximizing productivity while working from home, and management of everyday chaos. I'm a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the NYU Stern School of Business.


I wrote...

Secrets of an Organized Mom

By Barbara Reich,

Book cover of Secrets of an Organized Mom

What is my book about?

My book offers a life-changing approach to decluttering and streamlining your home so you and your family can live a simpler, less chaotic life.

Room by room, I address the most problematic areas in the home—from the tornado-struck play area to the packed basement—and tackle organizing in manageable bites. In addition to organizing tips, I address how to avoid social overload, preaching the power of “No”—for example, when your child wants to attend multiple birthday parties in one weekend. As the mother of twins, I have first-hand insight into the lives of crazed moms. Combining the humor of a sympathetic friend and the no-nonsense advice of a true type-A personality, I offer clever, appealing solutions that are genuinely achievable for everyone.

Or, view all 10 books about order and clutter

New book lists related to order and clutter

All book lists related to order and clutter

Bookshelves related to order and clutter