New York - Spring cleaning started early this year, with the January release of the Netflix series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo initiating something of a national closet-clearing frenzy.
Charities have been inundated with donations, and Instagram feeds have overflowed with tidying hash tags like #sparkjoy and #konmari, nods to the Japanese organizer’s method of keeping only items that bring you joy.
Kondo, who leapt into the American consciousness in 2014 with the release of her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is not alone in her fascination with order. Three new books also grapple with the topic, offering clutter-weary readers various perspectives, and strategies, on managing their stuff.
There’s Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness, by Gretchen Rubin, author of the best-selling book The Happiness Project. And The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals, by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, a home-organizing duo with 1 million Instagram followers. And also Joshua Becker’s The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life.
No longer a mundane household chore, home organizing now falls squarely into the wellness category, another step on the endless road to self-improvement. Clean up your living room and you can clean up your life.
Each of the recently released books espouses the need for a more streamlined approach to life, but with slightly different recommendations on how to get there, and different expectations for how much stuff you need in your home.
Where The Minimalist Home champions a life with as few possessions as possible, offering a room-by-room guide on how to get there, The Home Edit focuses on categorizing possessions in stylish containers, turning drawers and closets into whimsical storage systems, offering various solutions depending on the size and style of your pantry.
And Rubin, in Outer Order, Inner Calm, sees power in organizing specific places, like the coat closet (or the kitchen or the sock drawer). If you know where to put your hat and gloves when you walk in the door, and where to find them when you’re ready to leave, you can focus on bigger life hurdles.
“When you feel more in control of yourself, when you feel like you have more self-command, it can help you do harder things,” she said. “Feeling like your coat closet is under control could help you eat more healthfully or exercise better.”
Tidying, it turns out, is big business, with the home-organization industry growing at 4 percent a year, and earning $16-billion in retail sales in 2016, Becker said in The Minimalist Home. And it’s no wonder. As baby boomers downsize, they have less room to store stuff, and their grown children have little interest in taking their parents’ bureaus and dining sets.