Following the success of Marie Kondo’s bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Ten Speed Press, 2014), four new books from spirituality and religion publishers address the practical and spiritual benefits of tossing, reordering, and simplifying.
Barb Sherrill, v-p of product development at evangelical Christian publisher Harvest House, which has two new books, believes the spiritual benefit of tidiness and order is more than a trendy topic. “That isn’t going anywhere,” she says. “It is something we value today and will continue to value in the future.”
In Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space (Harvest House, Jan.), Kathy Lipp offers practical advice for battling clutter--but not without first addressing the spiritual issues that underlie the zest to accumulate, such as the longings we try to fulfill with stuff and the fears that cause us to cling to what we no longer want or need. Likewise, in Love the Home You Have: Simple Ways to ...Embrace Your Style * Get Organized * Delight in Where You Are (Harvest House, Mar.) Melissa Michaels not only offers ideas and motivations for straightening up, decorating, and organizing, but also finds decluttering essential to spiritual well-being. “Clutter is what holds us back from living the life we want,” she tells PW. “Once we rid ourselves of the excess, we are freer to focus on what matters,” such as faith and family. Michaels also encourages readers to embrace the ordinary; even making a bed or deciding to clear the dining room table for dinner can make everyday life “more extraordinary,” she says.
Denise Liotta Dennis, a Christian and feng shui master, wrote Classic Feng Shui for Romance, Sex and Relationships (Jan.) for mind-body-spirit publisher Llewellyn because clients kept asking how their spaces could attract love and romance. Dennis says getting the chi (energy) flowing into our lives enables us to connect in healthier ways with everyone from co-workers to soul mates. She says her book offers concrete steps readers can easily follow: Simple things, such as changing the angle of a door “can change your relationships.”
Brenda Knight, publisher of Viva editions, another mind-body-spirit house, points to the spiritual dimension in Listful Thinking: Using Lists to Be More Productive, Successful and Less Stressed by Paula Rizzo (Viva Editions, Jan.). Rizzo illustrates how lists can aid in streamlining and organizing to get centered and reduce stress. Knight follows Rizzo’s advice: “The last thing I do [each day] is start a clean to-do list for the next day, and it brings me a sense of real calm.” She adds, “I don't see this [topic] going away, as it is really helping people on a fundamental level.” Knight calls the tendency for people to be “always tethered” to their work “soul-killing.” In contrast, tidying—which Knight calls “the new feng shui”--brings peace. “These books are filling a need we all have to find the stillness within.”