This Decluttering Book is the Tiny Tidying Tool You Need in Your Arsenal

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

There are plenty of books and articles out there that can tell you exactly how to clean and organize your home, but do you want to understand your clutter better? After all, understanding your habits is one of the keys to getting better at managing them and becoming more organized.

(Image credit: Barnes & Noble)

Those resources you often turn to—the ones with checklists and activities to complete—are helpful, but if you want to get to know yourself and how clutter accumulates better and have some go-to activities to try, there’s a great book that can help. It’s called The Little Book of Tidying by Beth Penn. It really is little, and it’s as cute as it is handy. It’s complete with some beautiful illustrations and clever quotes, and it will look great on your coffee table—you know, after you organize it.

The first few chapters are all about the science behind clutter, getting to know what tidying means, and uncovers why we get attached to “stuff” (which, as you know, leads to clutter). The book addresses a lot of the emotions we have around decluttering and paring down, and how to handle them. Basically, it’s full of information that can help you better figure out what your stuff means to you, and how you can live in a neater home.

There’s also that actionable stuff that can help keep you in check—each chapter has activities you can do to get organized and form better tidying habits (as well as relationships to your things!). Some are more concrete, some are just ideas, but in any case, they’ll help you form a new perspective on tidying. You can see a great example of this in the excerpt below:


Tell a story

During the decluttering process, unanticipated emotions often surface. A collection of workout DVDs represents unachieved weight-loss goals. A plaid button-down shirt symbolizes a first date for a couple who are now married.

I ask people to tell me stories related to each object, honouring these items with a sort of eulogy before letting them go. By hearing how the belongings came to be there, I am a witness to their past. This act becomes part of the tidying process and makes it okay to say goodbye. One lady said: “The act of object storytelling not only helps release the object but it cements the memory of it, which you’ll have forever.”

The Little Book of Tidying covers all the aspects of clutter—from how it accumulates to how to handle it when it does—and it does so in just 96 pocket-sized pages. It’s small, but it really packs a punch.

You can order The Little Book of Tidying on Amazon or go for the Kindle version.