The Best Books to Read to Get Your Home Spotless

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You might think it’s counterintuitive to read a book about cleaning when you should be, you know, cleaning, but within these books (and there are many of them) you’ll find all kinds of cleaning methods, insights, and motivation to get the job done. You wouldn’t take on any other big task around the house without consulting some instructions, so you should consider rethinking your cleaning strategy and letting the experts guide you.

Books about cleaning methodologies

Some cleaning books feature strategies that you can employ to more efficiently clean your home. These are a wonderful place to start, since they give you something concrete and step-by-step. Here are a few of the best ones. 

  • Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess by Rachel Hoffman
    This is a beloved book because the advice is straightforward and, as many reviewers point out, practical and realistic. It gave us the 20/10 method, or the strategy of spending 20 minutes cleaning and 10 minutes just chilling out, kind of like using the Pomodoro method, but for tidying up. 

  • The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson
    “Death cleaning” does not sound “gentle,” but it really is. The idea is that you should start focusing on the items you already have, instead of accumulating new ones, since your family will be left to sort through them all one day. Reframing decluttering as something you’re doing for your kids, spouse, parents, or friends in a time of their grieving is gentle, after all—and can help you think of cleaning in a whole new way. Your time here is limited. Spend it in a clean home. 

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
    This book has been out for a decade, but it was so revolutionary that it set the standard for cleaning methods (and launched Marie Kondo’s global career). If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for? KonMari is a timeless technique that can help you declutter in a category-by-category way, which helps the new cleanliness really stick. 

  • How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis
    Davis is a licensed professional therapist who, in addition to being CleanTok famous, gives cleaning advice specifically to people who feel overwhelmed by cleaning. Read this book for a gentle, but still systematic, approach to cleaning your space. You’ll learn more about the “Five Things” method, which suggests categorizing to-be-cleaned items into trash, laundry, dishes, things with a place, and things without one, then tackling them in that order. 

Cleaning workbooks

If you’re someone who needs to be more involved or accountable, rather than just someone who reads something and does it, there are workbooks out there to help you clean better, too.

  • The Home Edit Workbook: Prompts, Activities, and Gold Stars to Help You Contain the Chaos by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin
    This workbook is highly rated and comes from the stars of a Netflix show all about cleaning. It features 52 challenges for every room in your house (so you can do one every week for almost a whole year) and little gold-star stickers to help you stay motivated. 

  • Swedish Death Cleaning Workbook: The 30 Days Challenge to Organize and Simplify Your Life, Declutter Your Home, and Keep It Clean by Kelsie Zaria
    This is a workbook that will help you with the strategy mentioned above for cleaning your home before you die. It asks you to do a 10-minute task every day for 30 days. As grim as it sounds, it does boast 4.1 stars out of 5 on Amazon, based on 251 ratings. Reviewers say it made them think, was simple to follow, and can benefit you at any stage of your life. 

  • Cleaning Sucks: An Unf*ck Your Habitat Guided Journal for Less Mess, Less Stress, and a Home You Don’t Hate by Rachel Hoffman
    We’re back where we started, which is a good thing. For the best workbook, try an accompaniment to, arguably, the best book. This is a full-color, guided journal that helps you figure out why you hate cleaning and what’s stopping you from getting it done. This is more of a book for self-work than cleaning work, but it can help you change your whole approach.


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