The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
by Marie Kondo
This book is unlike any organizing book you have ever read before. The author has a totally unique approach to tidying and cleaning that strikes me as very Zen-like. Even the book itself is very Zen in appearance. It is a smallish book with no pictures of before and after, no diagrams, and no instructions to go out and buy any more plastic tubs. Just five little chapters of guidance.
Marie Kondo's main criterion for sorting items is to decide if the item "sparks joy", if not, then discard it. Her organizing approach is to tidy by category rather than location. She gives a suggested order that starts with clothing then goes into everything else, saving sentimental items for last.
I went through all my clothing and am now working through paperwork. I have to admit it is very liberating to take bag after bag out of the house. Having the extra space in the closet, drawers, and filing cabinet is really motivating me to finish and move to other categories. A helpful website for guidance on how long to keep paperwork is the USA.gov website for managing household records.
If you have made a New Year's resolution to clean and get organized this little book won't take long to read and should help you get a good start.
Other titles to consider:
Secrets of an Organized Mom: From Overflowing Closets to the Chaotic Play Areas: a room-by-room guide to decluttering and streamlining your home for a happier family by Barbara Reich
And at the opposite end of the spectrum:
A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life: How to Live Creatively With Collections, Clutter, Work, Kids, Pets, Art, etc. - and stop worrying about everything being perfectly in its place
By Mary Randolph Carter