5 Essential Books for an Organized and Productive Life

I’ve hand picked my favorite 5 essential books for an organized and productive life. I’m the nerdy type who likes to read these kind of books for fun. Hey, it’s my job! These particular books are not just inspiration books with pretty pictures that leave you thinking “my house will never look like that!” These books are encouraging and give practical advice you can use in your homes right now. (For an explanation of why you-know-who’s book is NOT on this list, scroll to the end of the post.) So pick up a book or two and get going if you want a more organized, efficient, calm life. I’m telling you-you’ve got this!


5 Essential Books for an

Organized and Productive Life


5 Essential Books for an Organized and Productive Life


Keep This, Toss That: Unlcutter Your Life to Save Time, Money, Space, and Sanity by Jamie Novak

Sometimes it’s obvious what to throw away. Your wooden spoon snapped in half. It can’t be repaired. It’s not expensive to replace. Toss it.

Other times, however, it’s less clear what you should keep and what you should put in the garbage. (And sometimes, you may just need permission to throw something away.) This book has the answer! For a multitude of categories, Novak will tell you what to keep and what to toss.  For instance, in the category sweaters (yes, he is that specific) you should trow out stretched out sweaters and sweaters that are too itchy etc. This is a simple and effective guide.

Keep This, Toss That

The One Minute Organizer Plain and Simple: 500 Tips for Getting Your Life in Order by Donna Smallin

Are you crazy busy? Could you find five to fifteen minutes a day to devote to organizing? If so, this book is perfect for you! Bit by bit, Smallin will help you get organized and teach you strategies to stay organized. She covers family and work issues as well as mental clutter. With this many tips packed into an easy to read guide, anyone can get organized!

One Minute Organizer Plain and Simple


How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing with Your House’s Dirty Little Secrets by Dana K. White

White is what many organizing guru’s aren’t: a reformed slob. She has been where a lot of people currently are. White is so easy to relate to and her straightforward how to’s has been tested in her own home.

She advises her readers to “give up the fantasy” and offers help on tackling laundry, getting dinner on the table and getting house cleaning under control. A very helpful and fun read!

How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind

Organizing from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Organizing Your Home, Your Office, and Your Life by Julie Morganstern

This is the second edition of this book. An oldie and a goodie. Morganstern is the Queen of Professional Organizers.

Want to get organized but just can’t seem to figure out how? In this book Morganstern teaches you to work with your personality and natural inclinations (not against them) to find the system that works for you. From kitchens to photographs, technology to taming the paper monster, this book will help you finally find what works for you.

Organizing from the Inside Out

One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds

This week by week approach to decluttering and making your home efficient lets you start whenever you are ready. Leeds leads you (ha!) through the organizing process slowly so that it’s not overwhelming. Called the Zen Organizer, she is all about helping you craft a peaceful life.

One Year to an Organized Life

Who Isn’t On My List

I know, I know “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo is all the rage, and yet it didn’t make my list. Part of the reason is that this book tends to be a love it or hate it novel. In addition, I find that some of the strategies may not work well for the typical American household. For instance, decluttering by category instead of room might be great in theory. According to Kondo, if I had decided to declutter books when my children were younger I would have put all of mine, all of my son’s, all of my daughter’s, and all of the books I used for my job as a preschool teacher in one place to go through them. Impossible. And she loses me a bit when she verbally thanks her shoes and doesn’t ball up her socks because “they can’t get any rest like that.”

However, I credit her for making decluttering and organizing topics of everyday conversation in America. She made professional organizers sexy. (I love what I do but I wouldn’t have called it sexy!) She’s got some sound advice and I completely agree with her basic principal “the magic of tidying dramatically transforms your life.” Yep. Totally agree.

So if you own this book, and love this book-great! Anything that helps you on your journey to rid your home of unwanted and unused items and simplify your life is good. It’s just I think the 5 essential books listed above are very practical guides which approach decluttering and organizing in very reasonable ways.


So, sit down with a steaming cup of coffee and a good book and get energized, get excited!! You are about to make your life simpler, easier, calmer and happier!

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Learn More About Decluttering

If you want to learn more about decluttering, be sure to check out “What You Must Do Before Organizing Anything” and “12 Unbelievably Easy Items to Declutter NOW!”

Learn More About Organizing

Some articles about organizing specific spaces in your home you may want to check out:

All About Your Garage: Organization 101

All About Your Garage: Cool Organization Tools

All About Your Garage: Sports Equipment

How to Reorganize Your Pantry: Function and Beauty!

A Clean, Organized, Cute Fridge


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21 Responses

  1. Autumn Leopold

    Gret list! I would say, Organizing from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Organizing Your Home, Your Office, and Your Life by Julie Morganstern is my favorite because I guess I just think like Julie! 🙂

    • Daria Harvey

      Thank you Autumn! When you find someone that thinks like you do, it’s a very good thing! I like that she acknowledges the differences in personality.

  2. Safaniya Stevenson

    I think I may give the Keep This, Toss That a look over. I feel like I’m beginning to hoard a lot of junk that has “sentimental” value, but really it’s just trash…

    • Daria Harvey

      Let me know if the book helps you on your journey to lighten the load! Sentimental items are difficult. As I tell my clients: take a picture rather than keep the item. Good luck!

  3. Ashley

    This is a great list! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

    • Daria Harvey

      Thanks Ashley! Glad you like it!

  4. Azanique

    I have heard so much about “Keep This, Not That”! I have got to give it a read

    -xoxo, Azanique

    • Daria Harvey

      I’d love to hear how it works for you Azanique! Report back! 😉

  5. Leslie

    I can appreciate this list as I am the organizer of my family. I love to purge and declutter way before Spring..or anytime as it is deemed fit. Why wait?!

    • Daria Harvey

      Exactly! It’s such a freeing feeling to purge, don’t you think?

  6. Kenya

    I actually have never hear of these except for the one that made the list that didnt make the list and I heard the same sentiments as you!

    • Daria Harvey

      Lol Kenya! Well hopefully you’ll check out some of these “new to you” books!

  7. Laura

    Good to hear a differing opinion on “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my list. I really like the idea in “Organizing from the Inside Out” about working with your own unique personality rather than fighting against it. I love approaches that allow for variation, because we aren’t all the same! May have to check that one out.

    • Daria Harvey

      Absolutely Laura! Organizing is not a one size fits all situation. I think the only way people stay organized is if the system works for them. I’d love to hear what you think of either or both books once you’ve read them. Find me on Facebook! 🙂

  8. Traci

    Love your picks, Daria! I am a total organizing nerd and love reading these kinds of books for fun, too – in fact, How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind just popped up on my Amazon recommendations yesterday! It must be fate lol! The only one of these I’ve actually read is Organizing from the Inside Out, and I loved it .Will have to check out the others too! Thanks for sharing these! 🙂

    • Daria Harvey

      Thanks Traci! It’s so nice to meet another organizing nerd! Enjoy the books and let me know what you think!

  9. Breena Blake

    All of these books sound amazing! I really need to declutter my entire life 🙂

    • Daria Harvey

      Best of luck Breena! Use one of these books and start. You’ll be calmer and more productive after decluttering. I promise! Let me know how it goes and feel free to ask questions!

  10. Lee

    I love to be organized. Good luck to you.
    xo, Lee

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