Nonfiction Books in 2023 that Changed How I Approach Decluttering

These books may change your life too

In my first round of attempting the KonMari MethodTM while decluttering my own things, I got stuck on books. As a lifelong, voracious reader, I had been taught that books are sacred and you should hold onto them – so much so that I had dragged many of my college and grad school textbooks back and forth across the Atlantic ocean with me each time I moved.  

But in 2016, settled into my apartment in Washington DC but unsettled in life, I felt so detached from these books I used to love. I was in the midst of a major career transition and my reading habits had changed too.  I began to experience reading differently, as my brain searched for connections between the experiences I witnessed with  my clients and the larger public health systems – and issues – that informed my prior career.   

I’ve since decluttered my books to make room for the evergreen books that I love. And now I am sharing some of the best nonfiction books that I read in 2023, with you. They are all different, and they each informed my approach to decluttering, my discussions with clients, and the writing of my own book.

3 Books That Inform How to “Declutter for Health”

My work overlaps between health and decluttering, so it’s no wonder that some of my favorite books do too.  I’m just as likely to recommend a book that touches on an underlying issue challenging them, as I am to suggest an appropriately sized container for their winter boots.

Here are three of the books that really stood out to me and ignited my thinking around health issues that can manifest as challenges with clutter.

  1. Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey – The benefits of rest are profound; mentally, physically and spiritually.  This book tucks you into a dream state that will unwind the tight grip many of us have on our time and schedules.
  1. Real Self-Care: A Transformative Program for Redefining Wellness (Crystals, Cleanses, and Bubble Baths Not Included) by Pooja Lakshmin – Lakshmin offers expansive ways of thinking about how to care for ourselves and others, taking into consideration how the structural conditions of our world either enable or threaten our ultimate well-being.
  1. The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness by Meghan O’Rourke – When diagnoses and ailments overlap, our health suffers and clarity feels unreachable.  This memoir helps people searching for truth and treatment feel less alone and more empowered amidst their piles of doctor notes.

3 Books That Changed How I “Declutter for Home”

The dynamics of sharing space with others is a fraught topic for many of my clients.  Whether processing residual trauma experiences from childhood, negotiating complicated care tasks, or even navigating shattered ideals around what “home” means, people often struggle with decluttering their homes. 

These books are a way to feel less alone in these shared and all-too-common struggles that manifest for so many people. If you want to restructure shared spaces and meet your decluttered goals, these books might be the extra insight you need. 

  1. Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House: A Memoir by Meghan Daum – At times I laughed, and at times I cringed – reading this memoir on idealized versions of what home can mean reflected my journey through different spaces, albeit perhaps a more dramatic trajectory by this author.
  1. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy – So much of our experiences at home are shaped by our parents, and this excellent memoir brings all of that to the big screen as we see how hoarding behavior and trauma can cause a lasting impact.
  1. How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee – Perhaps not what you expected to see from here as a recommendation of books on home from a decluttering expert! But this essay collection is exactly the type of work that pushes me to think broadly about meanings of home and self and situating ourselves in experiences and spaces that do – or do not – support our desires.

3 Books That Guide Me to “Declutter for Beyond”

What is the balance between productivity and creativity? It is often shifting – and rarely balanced. I often think about what it means to care for ourselves gently while navigating our goals and desires in these spaces. 

Reading can offer new visions of how to bring our whole selves to work, to our art, and to our communities.  Here are some books that showed me more expansive ways to consider the benefits of decluttering parts of my life to feel better as I show up for and as myself wherever I am.

  1. Work Better Together: How to Cultivate Strong Relationships to Maximize Well-Being and Boost Bottom Lines by Anh Nguyen Phillips and Jen Fisher – Too many workplace books focus on tips and tricks to optimize performance, neglecting the role that our connections and self-worth play in how we show up in professional lives. Not this book. Its focus on mindful steps that are easy to implement and yield high impact, which is my favorite way to think about work.
  1. A Renaissance of Our Own: A Memoir & Manifesto on Reimagining by Rachel Cargle – This memoir about transitions that blossomed into transformations offers expansive prompts and reflections. Cargle shows us that we can reimagine our own futures while also working to change the larger world at the same time.
  1. Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World by Eve Rodsky – This book pushes us to prioritize our dreams and desires and does so by sharing research behind the importance of adding joy into our lives and decluttering out the other stuff. Rodsky also offers practical tips to help us with increasing overall energy, fun and play.

Buy a Book and See What Magic Happens Next

Hopefully some of these books will resonate with you, or maybe some already have if you’ve read them already. And if they are new for you, which book will you pick up first? Let me know how it sparks anything for you in relation to your experiences with clutter, health, and relationships.

Buy the books that changed how I declutter.

back to resources