35 Best Decluttering Books to Get You Started with Minimalism
Updated: Mar 1
Whether you need to trim some paper piles in your home or declutter an entire basement full of stuff, this list of the 35 best decluttering books will help you get started.
These 35 best decluttering books are not in any special order.
This blog post will share:
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Why getting started decluttering is difficult
Decluttering can be hard for many reasons, and the process is unique for each one of us. Sentimental attachment, guilt, shame, fear of failure, too much stuff, and time limit the ability to let something go.
One way to get over hurdles like these is to name what feels overwhelming about decluttering.
Does the idea of letting go of a perfectly good item you do not use feel too difficult because of the financial guilt? Money spent on something you do not use and is in great shape can linger in your mind and make you feel guilty about letting it go.
Naming that guilt and recognizing the role it plays in decluttering is a difficult task but important to avoid clutter creeping back in if you let something go.
Why clutter creeps back after decluttering
In my experience, clutter often creeps back into our homes when two things are not aligned with decluttering: habits and reasons.
When habits to control clutter are not formed and maintained, the mess returns. If items have a designated place in our home, then tidying up the mess is fast and easy.
Knowing why you want to declutter is important to ensuring clutter doesn’t creep back into your home. If you want to sell things to get out of debt, then buying more items isn’t going to solve that problem.
Finding motivation to declutter
Those hurdles mentioned above can make it hard to get started decluttering. They battle with your motivation and processing those emotions can feel impossible. If you wait for motivation, it may never come.
Motivation often arrives after action when decluttering. Start with some easy wins, like duplicates or trash, and see if that momentum lights your motivation on fire.
How decluttering can get you on a minimalist journey
You do not need to be a minimalist to declutter. Minimalism is subjective. I have hundreds of books but one kitchen spatula. Someone may judge my bookshelves as crowded or my kitchen as sparse.
As a minimalist, my definition of ownership changes season to season.
Becoming a minimalist includes decluttering, mindset shifts, recognition of triggers, finding your support tribe, and learning. It takes time, and I advocate taking it all one day at a time in a real-life, practical minimalist way.
35 Best Decluttering Books to Get You Started with Minimalism
Check out this list of the best books about decluttering to get you started with living with less stuff!
1. Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki
Detailing one man’s journey from maximalist to minimalist, Goodbye, Things offers tips to live with less. He shares how letting go of possessions put him in touch with gratitude.
Addressing mindset rather than stuff led to inner calm for the author, and he shares his perspective in a non-pushy way in this first book. See #20 for his follow up book.
2. Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff by Myquilyn Smith
The author shows pictures of her recommended process from her own home. I found it helpful to read about the order to decorate a room, and how to re-decorate any room in your home.
Reading this book inspired to embrace my belongings as cozy instaed of clutter.
3. Make Space: A Minimalist’s Guide to the Good and the Extraordinary by Regina Wong
This book from Regina Wong offers tips for beginners. After reading this book, I decluttered my inbox of 10,000 unread emails.
She even offers tips for decluttering friends and family members from your life.
4. Declutter Workbook from Dawn Madsen, The Minimal Mom
This workbook is newly available from The Minimal Mom. This guided workbook may be one of the best ways to activate your decluttering journey. It’s densely packed practical tips and offers a room by room guide.
From her website: "Dawn guides your journey, sharing her proven approach and strategic methods to achieve the decluttering satisfaction that she and thousands of others have come to enjoy."
5. Declutter Like a Mother by Allie Casazza
Allie’s podcast is full of practical advice for moms, and her book offers the same. She knows life is messy and knows the decluttering process is full of emotional challenges.
Her challenges and this book can help you take the first step towards minimalism.
6. the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo
This ever popular book categories your clutter. She breaks down the Japanese art of decluttering and even tackles book clutter when you have a lot of books.
Kondo encourages you to keep items that spark joy. The Konmari Method is a Japanese minimalism approach to ownership.
7. The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
A quote from Francine Jay served as a milestone when I first started becoming a minimalist. After reading this from her, I had an epiphany about stuff. Deciding what to keep was more important than deciding what to declutter. I started purging and decluttering thousands of items from our home after that moment.
“Decluttering is infinitely easier when you think of it as deciding what to keep, rather than deciding what to throw away.”
This book served me so well on my minimalism journey, and I believe it is one of the best decluttering books available.
ANOTHER LINK YOU MAY LIKE:
Read The Beginner’s Guide to Minimalism for a blueprint to a minimalist lifestyle.
8. The Sentimental Person’s Guide to Decluttering by Claire Middleton
This book marches in tandem with how I feel: you do not need to be a minimalist to declutter. The author validates normal feelings about our attachment to people and to stuff, while offing gentle encouragement to let go.
ANOTHER BLOG POST YOU MAY LIKE:
Read this blog post, How to Deal with Sentimental Clutter, for more motivation.
9. Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White
Dana White breaks down the guilt of letting things go, and how we cannot organize our way out of having too much stuff. One of the best books on the market that addresses decluttering and real life organizing.
10. Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff by Matt Paxton
Matt Paxton is an expert in downsizing and decluttering. With his show Legacy List, he and his team work to help people identify what matters most to them, including the legacy items they want to be sure to keep, before a move.
His book focuses on how to keep the memories without keeping stuff.
11. Easy Minimalist Living: 30 Days to Declutter, Simplify and Organize by Jennifer Nicole
I gobbled this book up in one day. Filled with simple, easy tips to jumpstart your decluttering process, this text will give you ideas to quickly declutter items.
You may still need to read other books on minimalism to learn how to address the emotional baggage attached to stuff.
12. Miss Minimalist: Inspiration to Downsize, Declutter, and Simplify by Francine Jay
Whether you want to clean out a few items from your closet or downsize an entire bedroom, this book will help you get there. Francine Jay is famous for minimalism and book #12 on this list will guide you gently through starting your decluttering process.
13. Minimalist Home: Learn how to Quickly Declutter Your Home by Jenifer Scott
Minimalist Home is a minimalist guide for simplifying family life. The author includes mindset, habits, decluttering, simple living, and minimalism in one condensed text.
I read this during the first few weeks of decluttering, and it continued to motivate me to live with less.
14. The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker
Popular speaker, blogger and author, Joshua Becker has a series of books that collectively serve as a minimalist living guide. As one of the experts, his books found their way into my reading stack.
This book offers a room by room, step by step guide to a decluttered life.
15. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson
This book needs to be read with care. The concept is wonderful - live with only what you want to leave behind once you leave this plane of existence and get rid of the rest.
Getting started with minimalism and decluttering requires a positive mindset about stuff, and this book may make you think differently about your belongings.
16. Let it Go by Peter Walsh
This book gives you a decluttering plan of action. Level up decluttering to downsizing your home with this read.
Peter Walsh, all day please. I first started listening to his advice during his straight forward appearance on Rachael Ray's show.
17. Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin
While not about decluttering specifically, this book (and any book by this author) will inspire you to lead a happier life. Develop a happier version of you.
Inspiring motivation to take action, Rubin may just get going with decluttering.
18. The Declutter Code: 10 Simple Steps to Clarity by Yvette Bowlin
This step by step guide connects outer order with inner order. Outer clutter with inner clutter. On my personal minimalism journey, learning to recognize clutter and the influence it has on my stress was a great benefit.
This book walks you through that correlation.
19. Essentialism by Greg McKeown
What is essential in your life and how should you elevate it? Great question, and expertly answered in this book. This book is the first of two great books by Greg McKeown. (Effortless is his second book and guides you through making small decisions.)
Watch this video to see how I applied the takeaways from this book into our home and complete the sentence, “I can make this easier by _____________.”
20. Hello, Habits: A Minimalist's Guide to a Better Life by Fumio Sasaki
A follow up to Goodbye, Things, this quick read dissects the habits that are needed to avoid clutter creeping back into your life. The author lives a more extreme version of minimalism than I connect with but the text still offers useful insight.
21. Destination Simple: Everyday Rituals for a Slower Life by Brook McAlary
I read this book in early 2021 and enjoyed the breakdown between routines and rituals. This book prompted me to consider how my own routines lead to complexity or to simplicity.
This book is an enjoyable, quick read.
22. The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard
If you are looking for a book about the detrimental results of consumerism, grab this book. This is a deep dive into consumerism, consumption, and disposal.
23. Project 333 by Courtney Carver
The author and creator of the book and challenge Project 333, Carver offers a simple way to focus on items in your life. A quick read to take inventory of the items in your wardrobe.
I have about 50 items in my wardrobe, but that's year round. Project 333 helps you break down 33 pieces for 3 months. Seasonal wardrobes for the win!
ANOTHER BLOG POST YOU MAY LIKE: Read 12 Essentials for a Minimalist Wardrobe Checklist.
24. Minimalist Moms: Living and Parenting with Simplicity by Diane Boden
This book is organized well. Easy to flip back to certain sections for specific help. This is a great beginner book for moms looking to explore elements of minimalism.
Her podcast is also topical and insightful, and her book offers the same.
25. Decluttering Your Kitchen in 5 Easy Steps by Lisa Hedberg
Yes, please! Our kitchen and my closet are the most minimalist parts of our home, and would encourage living with less in the kitchen at the beginning of a minimalism journey.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and reaping the benefits of minimalism in a central part of the home can help. This book hyperfocuses on one decluttering opportunity of your home.
26. Declutter Jumpstart: 30 Fun Decluttering Challenges to Help You Declutter Your Home Fast by Trixie Allen
This author had me at FUN. Kick off some decluttering motivation with these 30 challenges in this book.
This type of decluttering book is great for beginners because we often need action - a jumpstart - to trigger motivation.
27. The Declutter Challenge by Cassandra Aarssen (The ClutterBug)
This author offers it all: podcast, YouTube channel, HGTV show, blogs, and more. She perpetually offers real life organizing practices, and issues a decluttering challenge in this book. This book is a repeatable, great read for a beginner.
28. Making Space Clutter Free by Tracy McCubbin
McCubbin dives into the why of decluttering in this book. Going room by room, she opens our eyes to our own clutter - and gives you advice on how to make it clutter free.
29. Messy Minimalism: Realistic Strategies for the Rest of Us by Rachelle Crawford
This book's title is the theme of my life. Real life is messy, especially with the clutter that comes with kids. Her advice is actionable and relatable.
30. How to Keep Your House While Drowning by KC Davis
Reading this may help you feel less alone on this journey.
31. Living Slower by Merissa Alink
Simple living feels possible after reading any one of her books. She offers recipes, stories, and principles to apply to your life for living with less. (I also love her other book, Little House Living.)
Living Slower gives you pause and permission to consider what matters most, and how you can get it.
32. Home Clutter Cleanse by Annette Maria Williams
This book is a good tool for knowing how to get started. Full with hands on, practical tips, this book will guide you step by step and target specific spaces in your home.
33. The Art of Happy Moving by Ali Wenzke
This book has diagrams, stories, charts, checklists, and more! This book will guide you through downsizing, packing, organizing and moving our home and life.
As someone who has move almost 20 times in her life, any happiness that can be added to one of the most stressful times in someone's life is welcomed.
34. Decluttering: Free Up Your Living Space for a Happy New Life by Ellis Smith
Smith offers insights for decluttering and focusing on the things that make you happy. She has tips for letting go gently, and this book can help you in the beginning and middle of decluttering process.
35. The Holistic Guide to Decluttering: Organize and Transform Your Space, Time, and Mind by Michelle Vig
Anyone who has decluttered large amounts of items knows that decluttering is not easy. This book helps you dig deep about your space and your belongings. Charts and checklists help you consider what you want for yourself and your home before seeing a space.
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