There are so many books about organizing and a plethora of experts who specialize in organizing. That means that the “simple” task of creating an ultimate reading list for professional organizers is not so simple. As a matter of fact, it’s a bit overwhelming. Trying to acquire an organizing education and pursue professional organizer training might require amassing your own library. To guide you, I have curated a collection – a recommended book list of organizing and related topics that I have read, enjoyed, and kept on my shelves. I consider these to be the perfect introductory education for any new professional organizer or someone just dabbling in the field of organizing.
These books contain basic principles, research, case studies, personal stories, inspirational eye candy, and other foundational information to help you build a robust business and better serve your clients. I listed the books by subject, and they cover not only the organizing essentials but related topics that will ultimately enhance your services. You’ll likely encounter a few out-of-print titles, so search online discount bookstores if you don’t mind purchasing a used copy. Your local library might have copies of older titles on this recommended book list.
I included some of the most prolific, best-known authors in the organizing industry because their tomes are classics! Anything you read by one of these authors will be worth your time and attention and, I encourage you to consider these titles as starting points from which you can continue your exploration. Make sure to read books outside of your specialty to develop a well-rounded and diverse knowledge base.
Organizing and Decluttering Books for Professional Organizers
- Decluttering Your Home: Tips, Techniques, and Trade Secrets by Geralin Thomas
- ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life, 2nd Edition by Judith Kolberg and Dr. Kathleen Nadeau
- Affluenza: How Overconsumption Is Killing Us – and How to Fight Back by John De Graaf, David Wann, Thomas Naylor
- Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston
- Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter: Simplify Your Life One Minute at a Time by Erin Rooney Doland
- Organized to Last by Porter Knight
- Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
- Organizing Paper at Home by Barbara Hemphill
- Organizing Plain and Simple by Donna Smallin
- Taming the Paper Tiger at Home by Barbara Hemphill
- The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Organized Home by Kathy Peel
- The Home Edit Life: The No-Guilt Guide to Owning What You Want and Organizing Everything by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin
- The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
- The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker
- Unclutter Your Life in One Week by Erin Rooney Doland
Productivity and Time Management Books for Professional Organizers
- 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
- Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- Stop Organizing, Start Producing by Casey Moore, CPO®
- Taming the Paper Tiger at Work by Barbara Hemphill
- The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
- Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
- True Tilt: An Uncommon Quest by Pam Boney
Hoarding and Chronic Disorganization Resources for Professional Organizers
- From Hoarding to Hope: Understanding People Who Hoard and How To Help Them by Geralin Thomas
- Buried in Treasures by David F. Tolin, Randy O. Frost, and Gail Steketee
- Clutter-Hoarding Scale® by the Institute for Challenging Disorganization
- Conquering Chronic Disorganization by Judith Kolberg
- Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash by Vickie Dellaquila
- My Mother’s Garden directed by Cynthia Lester (Documentary)
- The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook for Personality Disorders by Jeffrey C. Wood, Psy.D.
- The Secret Lives of Hoarders by Matt Paxton and Phaedra Hise
Resources for Managing a Professional Organizing Business
- Managing Client Expectations by Standolyn Robertson
- Ethical Pitfalls for Professional Organizers by Debbie Stanley
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
Resources to Launch + Grow Your Professional Organizing Business from Geralin Thomas
- Terms of the Trade: Over 280 terms, abbreviations, and acronyms used in the organizing industry.
- New Organizers’ Essentials Kit: Over 90 pages of customizable templates, and checklists to launch your organizing business.
- Team Management Essentials Kit: Over 25 pages of customizable templates, and checklists to grow your organizing business.
- Public Speakers’ Essentials Kit: Customizable templates and checklists to help you use public speaking as a marketing tool.
- Wardrobe Wisdom Workbook + Style Time Call: Learn to enhance your personal brand by wearing clothes that look and feel fabulous!
Other Recommended Reading, Resources, and Ideas for Professional Organizers
Learning new – and better – ways to market your business and serve your clients can come from reading books outside the organizing industry. Consider reading books on the following topics:
- Communication (writing and speaking)
- Computer Skills (e.g., MS Office, Quickbooks, etc.)
- Photography (to improve your “Before and After” gallery)
- Interior Design
- Lean Manufacturing
- Project Management
Read books about your favorite hobbies, sports, and interests; you might find a niche or specialty that would help marketing. Think about how you could distinguish yourself from colleagues who are generalists. There are no limits when it comes to growing your business. Even with my recommended book list, it’s challenging to know where to start or which direction to go. I’d be happy to help you in your journey. Book an Ask Me Anything coaching call and let’s build the organizing business of your dreams.
P.S. Are you the kind of person who enjoys talking about the books you’ve read? If so, consider joining NAPO’s Book Club. As a NAPO member, you’ll have the chance to discuss selected books on subjects relevant to the professional organizing and productivity industry as well as general business topics.
This article was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.