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Organization books to guide your spring cleaning


Spring cleaning season is here! It’s the perfect time of year to start a project and the library has several decluttering and organization books to help you along the way. No matter how daunting the task ahead, there is a system that can work for you.

The philosophy of less

Before the pandemic, Marie Kondo popularized the idea of “choosing joy” in household items, and her books may just be the kind of inspiration you’re looking for. Kondo’s international bestseller, “The Life-changing Magic of Cleaning Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” can teach you how to let go (and in what order to do so), as well as change your mindset around stuff, making it easier to maintain a de-cluttered space. The library also has Kondo’s more recent book, “Joy at Work.”

If Kondo’s approach feels too extreme for you but you like the idea of changing your mindset about stuff while you clean out, I suggest “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter” by Margareta Magnusson. Don’t be turned off by the title, the book is actually very funny. The general philosophy of Magnusson’s book is to clean out all the stuff you don’t want or need yourself (and while you’re physically able to do so) opposed to leaving the task to a loved one after your passing.

You might not be ready for a lifestyle change, and instead are looking to undertake a seasonal cleanout or “fresh start” on your space before painting or starting a new construction project. You might try “Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter: Simplify Your Life One Minute at a Time” by Erin Rooney Doland. Doland’s book includes weekend projects, room-by-room solutions, and checklists. Similar books include “The Joy of Less: A Minimalist’s Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify” by Francine Jay and “New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and everyone else)” by Fay Wolf.

You’ve cleaned out, now what?

Maybe getting rid of stuff is easy for you and you just want ideas on how to organize what remains. I recommend two books that are easy to read (no need to read it all in order, just pick and choose what you need), are in full color, and perfect for anyone who loves labeling things.

“The Home Edit Life” by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin is organized by lifestyle instead of room. Two example chapters are: “organizing for people who have kids” and “organizing for people who love to celebrate.”

My favorite in this category is “The Complete Book of Home Organization” by Toni Hammersley. The book includes a small section on creating a home library. This book has design and cleaning tips, as well as organization methods for every space.

What to do with all the stuff you no longer want?

There are many donation options here in town as well as recycling and scheduled trash pickup for items past their usefulness.

And what about all those books? Books and DVDs in good condition with no signs of mold or mildew can be donated to the library book sale. Drop off your books at the circulation desk anytime during our normal hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

My final book suggestion is for anyone looking to sell items, and is not sure what type of sale to have. Virginia Chamlee gives some great advice in her new, and very fun, “Big Thrift Energy: The Art and Thrill of Finding Vintage Treasures- Plus Tips for Making Old Feel New.”

You can find these titles under the following call numbers:

Chamlee, Virginia: 645 Cha

Doland, Erin Rooney: 648.8 Dol

Hammersley, Toni: 648 Ham

Jay, Francine: 648.8 Jay

Kondo, Marie: 648 Kon and 650.1 Kon

Magnusson, Margareta: 648.5 Mag

Shearer, Clea: 648.8 She

Wolf, Fay: 648.8 Wol


Joni Jeffries is a library assistant in the circulation department at the Crawfordsville District Public Library and has worked as an organizing consultant with the Marie Kondo certification program.


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