6 Things I’ve Learnt from The Little Book of Tidying

5 Lessons from The Little Book of Tidying Up Featured Images

Tidying up has really captured us all lately. Be it Mrs. Hinch and her grey Instagram feed or Marie Kondo’s Netflix show – we’re all hooked. In an attempt to design more of a minimal lifestyle I purchased Beth Penn’s Little Book of Tidying Up. It caught my eye on the shelf of a bookshop when I was looking for sustainable living resources. As much as I enjoy reading blogs and watching YouTube videos, nothing will beat a book in my eyes.

The Little Book of Tidying Up isn’t just about how to effectively clean away and organise your items. It talks about consumer attitudes, and how to have a more minimalistic approach to living. Consistent consuming only broken up by a yearly de-clutter isn’t enough. The idea is to design a simpler life.

1 // You don’t have to throw it all away

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to throw everything away to create a simpler life. What you view as minimal and simple is up to you. Decide what you perceive as essential and hold onto it. For example, I have an old green jumper that’s completely stretched out and has holes all through it. I won’t get rid of it because it brings so much happiness and comfort into my life. You don’t have to part with your most loved possessions in the name of tidying up.

2 // De-cluttering is a lifestyle

The average person accumulates clutter on a daily basis until one day it reaches it’s limit. We’ve all sighed in exasperation and despair, complaining “Oh I need to have another clear out soon!”. The worst culprit for me is receipts. They crowd my purse and line the bottom of my bag to the point where I go to find money for a coffee and find 10 receipts for other previously purchased coffees. Rather than doing a big overhaul once a year, keep on top of it. Regularly staying on top of those little things can make such a difference to the running of your daily life.

Little Book of Tidying Up Fast Fashion
3 // Hold back on impulse purchases

We’re all guilty of impulse buying – I know I’m especially guilty. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t walking past a shop and think “Oh my God I need this!”. The reality is, I don’t. Most of the things we buy in a whirlwind will fill us with excitement and happiness for a few days at best. After that, it gets discarded in a corner or at the bottom of a wardrobe. Before making that next impulse purchase think about whether it will add real value to your daily life. Will you get a good use out of it? If not, maybe hold off for now.

4 // You don’t need fancy equipment

Hands up how many of you have purchased loads of new stationary as a motivational tool to study for an exam or upcoming test? Yep, me too. We tell ourselves that if we have X, Y, or Z then we’ll have the tools we need to finally be productive. In essence, we’re just bribing ourselves to do things we don’t actually want to do. The truth is, you don’t need a mountain of boxes like Marie Kondo to have a tidy work or home space. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need more to do more.

5 // Set your own goals

What minimal means to you is personal. I have a clear idea of what I want my life to look like, but that may not match up to yours. As long as it’s a simpler version of your current setup, that’s all that matters. The process of de-cluttering can be tedious and at times it feels easier to give up altogether. Try splitting your end goal up into smaller mini-goals. This can make a task seem much more manageable and you won’t lose morale as quickly.

The Little Book of Tidying Beth Penn

6 // Buy to last

When buying new items, be smart. Buy with the intention of making things last, so that you have to buy less often. Higher quality items usually cost more by default but by investing in these items you’ll save money by not having to re-purchase short-term.

The Little Book of Tidying has taught me a lot of valuable lessons, and has given me a new outlook on minimalism. Before I thought you had to throw everything away and live a humble “live off the land” approach to life. It didn’t seem very attainable for the average individual, let alone myself. Just because something is low-waste doesn’t automatically mean it’s sustainable for the average person.

I’ll be applying the things I’ve learnt to my everyday life and hopefully will manage to document it here. We already know I’m passionate about producing less waste and breaking away from the must-have consumer attitude. My main barrier was knowing how to go about it all. So thank you Beth Penn for the fantastic book! It’s given me a lot to think about and will definitely be a useful resource in my life.

Have you been swept up by the de-clutter bug? What are you doing to try and produce less waste?

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18 comments so far.

18 responses to “6 Things I’ve Learnt from The Little Book of Tidying”

  1. Chloe Osborn says:

    These are some great tips! I have so much stuff that I need to sort through at my mum’s house and it’s crazy how much we can accumulate over the years. I’m trying to not buy clothes I don’t need and wait until birthdays and Christmas; a lot of the time I’d buy clothes in between then that I really didn’t need and I’ve actually found it surprisingly easy to not spend between, as I just remind myself how much I already have in my wardrobe.

    • I’m absolutely the same! Because I live partly at my parents and partly in university accommodation, my belongings are so spread out all over the place and it can be so overwhelming. I never know where to start but the key is to just START. I love your attitude towards clothing too – I’m on a mini clothes-buying ban at the moment for exactly the same reasons.
      Thanks for reading Chloe!
      El xx

  2. Kaye says:

    Wow, I might need to order this book now 😍 I enjoy reading this type of self help or self improvement book. Tidying not only helps your organise things but also helps you reevaluate your current situation in life, that’s just my opinion. Thank you for sharing.

    Kaye – http://amalog.co

    • I love it especially because it’s not a preachy self-help book pretending that everyone has to be the perfect human being! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading.
      El xx

  3. Lanae Bond says:

    Declutter every so often is not overwhelming because you don’t have to spend a lot of time and enegry getting rid of items.

  4. I’ve not really been swept with the declutter bug – although I am getting better about throwing out unsalvageable socks at the moment. I think growing up with very little money to spare, where if clothes wore out it would be a hard look and a trip to the charity shop to replace an item, the disposable fashion culture is just alien to me. But it has also led to the hoarding of things “because they might be useful someday” until one day I sat down with myself and just went, look, are you ever going to use these egg boxes in an art project or can they go to be recycled? and I’m slowly getting better with that.

    • It’s definitely a double-edged sword! On one hand you want to be as practical as possible, but like you said, you don’t want to cross the line on the other side and get trapped in the habit of hoarding! Like everything in life, this really is a difficult one.
      Thank you so much for reading!
      El xx

  5. Heather says:

    Thank you very interesting and food for thought.

  6. This has made me want to tidy so badly! I’ve definitely pulled back on impulse purchases!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

    • I know how you feel – I’m looking at all the mess in my flat right now knowing that I need to and should be tidying but there’s also so many things to watch on Netflix so… I guess Netflix wins haha! Thanks for reading Amie!
      El xx

  7. Nancy says:

    Oooh, it is great that there are wealthsome content about tidying up! This doesn’t mean to throw everything away but to throw away things that don’t bring value to you anymore. OHHH yes on holding back on impulsive purchases. Sometimes, we actually don’t need it and we get to save some money by holding back. I always buy to last when I can. Even though it might cost a bit more, quality makes up for it.

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  8. jenna says:

    I have definitely been swept up by the de-cluttering bug! I started a journey towards living zero waste a year ago, so it has been a year of de-cluttering and downsizing to exactly what I need/want to live a meaningful life. 🙂 I haven’t heard of this book, but I think I would like it – will definitely be checking it out at my local library! Thanks for sharing!
    -Jenna ♥
    Follow me back? The Chic Cupcake

  9. Natalie says:

    I love your thought, that you don’t have to throw everything out to declutter.
    I’m still working on making it a lifestyle. 😊

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Hello! I'm Elen Mai, the brains behind Welsh Wanderer and 20-something human biology student from (you guessed it) Wales! Here you'll find everything from sustainable living edits to hotel reviews and travel tips. Enjoy! x

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