Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness – A Book Review

If you want to get better at something, you need learn all about it – and that’s exactly what I plan to do. For the next two months, I plan on reading as many books as possible about the topic of decluttering, downsizing, and minimalism, in order to better prepare myself to get the job done when it’s time to move into our very own Tiny House. To see the full lists of books I plan to read in 2018, click here!

The first book I read was not necessarily the first book on my life, and that’s mostly due to the fact that I’m giving up old habits – like buying new books – and replacing them with more minimalist habits – like going to the library! And if you’ve visited the library these days, I’m sure you’re aware of how often the good books are gone, so it was really important for me to get down there and put a hold on all the books I hope to read throughout the next few months.

After I put a few holds down, I went to browse through the books that still remained on the shelves in the Home Organization section of Moncton Public Library. Among all the choices I had, I decided to go with the following three books:

  • Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness by Donna Smallin
  • Organize Your Way – Simple Strategies for Every Personality by Katie & Kelly McMenamin
  • The Complete Book of Home Organization by Toni Hammersley

It might have been the size of the book or the style of how it was published, but there was just something about Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness that caught my eye. This book is smaller than your average book – it honestly fits quite well in the palm of my hand.

This book is filled with so much great stuff, I feel like maybe I should have started reading the others first. I read it so fast, I was done in two days – it’s that easy to read. To sum it up, I would say that Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness is all about encouragement and motivation to declutter, organize, and clean your space. It’s designed to be a “Pick up and go” kind of read, not so much as a linear read. I love how you can find tips and tricks throughout the entire book, not to mention great quotes. And of course it’s filled with ressources on how to make decluttering happen.

“Clutter is what happens when you end up with when you have more stuff than you need.”

It can be overwhelming to think about clutter and how it affects our lives. I started tearing up reading parts of this book, because the words rang so true. I keep needing to remind myself to “be happy with what [I] have – it is more than enough.” I try to repeat this to myself every day, like a mantra. I need to let these things go, because they are no longer useful to me and they do not bring me joy. And by letting go, I know I can help others who might actually be in dire need of these things.

As for the things we do keep, those all need to be dealt with too. They need to be organized and have a place of their own. I loved reading through the book to get different ideas about where to place certain objects, some that we use more often, and others that are just occasional-use items. One of the best lines in the book refers to this – “Ask yourself, ‘Where would I be most likely to look for this?’ instead of ‘Where should I put this?’” YES, I NEED TO DO THIS!

As I’m sure most of you are aware, not everyone love to clean – well, I do, but that’s besides the point. The author makes a great point in saying that being negative towards the idea of decluttering isn’t going to make it any easier, you just have to get through it the best you can. She gives helpful tips to encourage you, such as buying cleaning products in fragrances that you love, buying colourful washing cloths, or even exchanging tasks with another household member.

Finding motivation to start decluttering isn’t always easy, but there is no better time than now. Take it one step a time, one task at a time. There isn’t a rush to get it all done – trust me, it’s probably going to take a very long  time. But the point is that every action you take makes a big impact on your life. “Less mess means less stress.”

“Remember that the most important things in life, are not things.”


Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness

Donna Smallin


Highly recommend reading

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