Category: organizing tips  /  Created: 10/19/2017 14:13:46

Are you a DIY-er? Do you like to read and study things yourself before taking action? For all the bookworms and knowledge-thirsty people out there, we are excited to share our favorite organizing and decluttering books!

Pam’s 10 Favorite Books for Organizing

  1. Your Spacious Self: Clear the Clutter and Discover Who You Are by Stephanie Bennett Vogt
    I love Vogt’s three-line daily centering practice: “I am enough, I have enough, there is enough” (p. 70). This is unquestionably one of the organizing books that I would take to a desert island (along with a beloved non-organizing book The Fifth Sacred Thing!) Actually, who needs an organizing book on a desert island, anyway!
  2. SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck by Julie Morgenstern
    A classic, and one that I have absorbed both by reading and listening to the audio version (funny how you get slightly different gems of wisdom when using different senses!). Morgenstern explains that it is normal to make great progress in decluttering and organizing and then to hit “the wall of panic,” when a sense of emptiness can make you question your path. Her solution: “You have to trust the emptiness: Your stuff may be gone, but you are never alone – you have yourself, your spirit and your resources” (p. 122-123). If you ever hit the wall of panic, do give us a call!
  3. Sacred Space: Clearing and Enhancing the Energy of Your Home by Denise Linn
    Denise Linn is one of my gurus. Linn shares that her dancing teacher, Feather, of the Taos Pueblo tribe, taught her “the power of simplicity and humility for healing and change in all life.” This kind of talk strengthens my conviction that the work of organizing is indeed sacred and healing work. I know it is for me.
  4. Organizing from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life by Julie Morgenstern
    This book is a classic and the one I find most often on clients’ bookshelves! An in-depth look at organizing, this book outlines the groundwork that is necessary for success, then provides “room by room” guidance and even an “organizing project worksheet”! Morgenstern realistically points out that “it can take anywhere from a year to eighteen months to do a full organizing overhaul of every area of your home of office.” p. 83  Having realistic expectations and focusing on your accomplishments rather than what is left to do makes the journey from chaos to freedom much more joyful!
  5. The Procrastinator’s Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing It Now by Rita Emmett
    If you’ve ever tried organizing and gotten stuck, you will understand how this is an “organizing book”! With humor and inspirational quotes, Emmett helps us to understand that we are not alone.  Everyone procrastinates, and anyone can learn to beat procrastination by creating new habits.
  6. The One-Minute Organizer Plain & Simple: 500 Tips for Getting Your Life in Orderby Donna Smallin
    This tiny book stands the test of time. With short, actionable suggestions, Smallin helps you to take one tiny step at a time towards the organized life that you dream of.
  7. One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good by Regina Leeds
    This book offers a week-by-week guide for DIY organizing. My favorite part is the “Habit of the Month” section, where Leeds helps you to create new habits to support your newly organized life.  In our organizing work, we quickly learned that the best way to help our clients keep clutter from coming back is to devote the energy to creating new, productive habits.
  8. Organizing from the Right Side of the Brain: A Creative Approach to Getting Organized by Lee Silber
    My favorite chapter in this book is called “Get out of your own way,” and features such gems of wisdom as “people who primarily operate in the right hemisphere of the brain tend to be non-linear and visual. Which means you need to see all those files and papers you are working on” (p. 57).  We have been honored to help many clients over the years to develop non-traditional approaches tailored to meet the unique needs of their households and offices.
  9. ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg & Kathleen Nadeau
    Kolberg and Nadeau recommend a system they call “Pattern Planning,” which involves creating daily and weekly routines to provide a supportive structure that will eventually “take root in your subconscious” and help to move you towards your goals (p. 149). Though this guidance is particularly helpful for those with attention deficit disorder, I have found many of the suggestions to be helpful in my own life.
  10. Organizing for the Creative Person: Right-Brain Styles for Conquering Clutter, Mastering Time, and Reaching Your Goals by Dorothy Lehmkuhl & Delores Cotter Lamping, CSW
    One thing that shines about this book is the emphasis on the power of choice. “How you are organized is also a result of the choices you make on a minute-by-minute basis.” So true!


After taking the picture of my favorite books, I realized that one is conspicuously missing: Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui (Revised and Updated) by Karen Kingston! (It’s gone for a good reason – I loaned it to a friend!) This book is my very very favorite, and the one that inspired me to explore a career in professional organizing. I guess we will just count it as our 11th-year book!

Most, if not all of these titles, are available through the local library. My paper copies are dog-eared, with copious notes in the margins and many underlined passages, and I enjoy revisiting them for inspiration and reference. These books have had a powerful impact on how I keep my home and how I think about my time and space. And, of course, I delight in sharing the knowledge and applying the tried and true principles in these books to the common challenges that you, our clients, face. If you purchase one of these titles on Amazon, I receive a small percentage of the sales price as a member of their affiliate program.

For those who love books but want more space, we recommend the Kindle versions! The Kindle makes it easy to highlight passages and take notes. And you don’t even have to own a Kindle, as there are Kindle apps for Macs and PCs that allow you to read on your computer.

Have you read any of these books? Which one intrigues you the most?