Summary-The Art of Minimalism: A Simple Guide to Declutter and Organize Your Life  - Olivia Telford

Summary-The Art of Minimalism: A Simple Guide to Declutter and Organize Your Life - Olivia Telford

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Here's a summary of the book:

  • The author begins by explaining that making your bed in the morning is an important habit that instills a mindset of excellence. This habit demonstrates attention to detail and following through with small tasks, which translates to success in bigger areas of life.

  • Decluttering and organizing your space leads to less stress and chaos. Your environment is a reflection of your mental state, so a cluttered space often means a cluttered mind.

  • The benefits of decluttering include improved focus, productivity, and wellbeing. Decluttering can even transform your life in unexpected ways.

  • Creating a sense of order in your home involves grouping similar items together, designating spaces for everything, and regularly cleaning and tidying up. Establishing routines and habits helps maintain an organized space.

  • The 30-day "knock out" challenge involves focusing your decluttering efforts on one area or one task each day to make steady progress. Environmentally-friendly cleaning products and methods are recommended.

  • Decluttering relationships by setting boundaries and limiting negative influences is important for wellbeing. Decluttering your thoughts through mindfulness, meditation, positive thinking, and time management leads to less stress and greater peace of mind.

  • In summary, the art of minimalism involves eliminating excess clutter and distractions from your spaces, thoughts, and relationships so you can focus on what really matters - experiences, relationships, and personal growth. Developing habits of excellence and a mindset of continuous self-improvement leads to a purposeful, meaningful life.

•Your life is shaped by your daily habits and actions. Developing a habit of excellence in everything you do will open up opportunities for success. However, it is easy to become complacent and accustomed to clutter and mess. Imagine trying to sell your house as is—no one would buy it until you declutter and clean it up. Achieving great things requires consistent hard work and effort.

•Decluttering means getting rid of things you do not need, not just reorganizing or hiding them. It can be an overwhelming process, so start small and build up. Decluttering will make you feel lighter and make your home function better. Anything in your home that feels out of your control is clutter.

•The size and amount of storage space in your home is less important than your ability to avoid accumulating unnecessary things. Decluttering can make a small space feel bigger.

•We tend to accumulate clutter like we eat comfort food—it feels good in the moment but leaves us feeling worse later. Clutter frustrates us like tight clothes, creating a vicious cycle. We convince ourselves we might need things someday, but in reality we need the space more.

•We used to hoard out of necessity, but today we are bombarded with advertising persuading us to overconsume. Companies spend heavily to convince us to buy things we do not really need, even tapping into our subconscious vulnerabilities. We have to be aware of these influences to avoid accumulating clutter.

•The key messages are: develop excellence through good habits; declutter by removing unnecessary things; do not use your home for excess storage; recognize the unhealthy cycle of accumulation and how marketing encourages overconsumption; maintain awareness to avoid accumulating clutter. Having an uncluttered, excellent environment will support success and wellbeing.

Here is a summary of the key points:

• Living a minimalist life means gaining control over your buying habits and not being influenced by constant messages to buy more. • Clutter wastes time, energy, space and causes stress, anxiety and frustration. A decluttered home can provide a sense of calm like a hotel room. • Decluttering often brings up emotional issues that have been buried, so prepare for that. Keeping a journal of the process can help work through the emotions.
• We accumulate clutter through souvenirs, buying things “just in case,” thinking we need things we don’t, and believing that more stuff will improve our lives.
• Kitchens were much less cluttered before WWII. New technologies and processed foods led to many more kitchen gadgets and clutter after the war. Clutter is a modern issue, as our grandparents didn’t need so much stuff. • Clutter has negative impacts on well-being. A study found people felt uncomfortable and unsafe in cluttered homes. Decluttering helps meet our basic needs for shelter and safety.

• A cluttered and disorganized home has many negative impacts:

  • It is psychologically stressful and makes people feel insecure.

  • It leads to bad eating habits and health issues.

  • It reduces productivity and focus at work. The clutter distracts the mind.

  • It enables the buildup of dust and mold, causing respiratory problems.

• A cluttered and disorganized space wastes a lot of time as people spend time looking for lost items. The average person spends a year of their life looking for lost things.

• The average home has 300,000 items but 80% are not used. A lot of clutter comes from junk mail and catalogs.

• Getting organized has many benefits:

  • You stop losing things and save time looking for items.

  • You save money by not re-buying things you already have and avoiding late fees. You can also make money by selling unneeded items.

  • Your creativity and focus improve in an organized space.

  • You have less stress and anxiety. Clutter contributes to stress, anxiety, and even depression.

  • You feel more motivated to achieve your goals.

  • You set a good example for your family. Children learn good habits from organized parents.

• In summary, a cluttered and messy home or workspace has significant downsides. Getting organized by decluttering and putting things in their place can have huge benefits for your physical and mental well-being, relationships, finances, productivity, and more. A tidy, organized environment leads to greater peace, focus, and success.

  • Parents often try to teach their children values that they themselves have not mastered. The author's father constantly criticized them for not finishing tasks, yet he never finished his own projects. Children unconsciously pick up their parents' habits, so the author had to consciously break this habit. Parents must set a good example for their children.

  • A messy environment leads to poor sleep. Studies show people with cluttered bedrooms experience more sleep disturbances. Seeing clutter before bed programs your mind to accept chaos as normal, interrupting sleep. A clean, tidy room enables good sleep.

  • Messy homes and disorganization strain relationships. Some people avoid inviting others over due to mess, and many say their homes would take over 40 hours to prepare for guests. Being unprepared for visitors or emergencies is embarrassing. A neat, orderly home, even a small one, makes for pleasant visits.

  • The story of the author's mother illustrates how organization breeds success. After attending a conference on organization, the author's mother began doing dishes at night, then cleaning and decluttering the whole house. With extra time, she began baking and selling cakes, eventually opening a successful bakery. Order and excellence led to greater opportunity.

  • To achieve your goals and dreams, you must first be "faithful with what you've got." Clean up and maintain what you have before expecting to receive more. Act as if you already have your dream to show you can handle it. Excellence in your current circumstances opens doors to success.

  • Success requires character and effort. Society promotes instant gratification, but perseverance, determination and attention to detail are rare qualities. Expecting reward without effort is unrealistic. Even in unpleasant work, putting in your best effort positions you for greater success. Faithfulness in small things leads to bigger things.

To be on the pathway to success:

• Treat what you have now, e.g. rented home, as if you already own your dream home. Take good care of it. If you can’t be responsible for what you have now, you won’t be ready for bigger things.

• Finish what you start. Unfinished projects drain your energy and peace of mind. Develop the habit of completing tasks, no matter how small.

• Do everything with excellence. Wash dishes, make your bed, keep your car clean, etc. Take pride in the little details.

• Take photos of where you are now to stay motivated and see your progress.

• Stay motivated by listening to motivational audios or music. Set timers to stay focused, e.g. Pomodoro technique of 25 min work/5 min break.

• Organize your home to make it functional and clutter-free. Focus on entryways, living room, and bedrooms. Use storage furniture, bins, baskets, hooks, etc. to keep items in their place.

• Learn how to properly fold clothes like shirts, t-shirts, sweaters, jeans, and skirts and organize your closet. Get rid of anything you haven’t worn in a year.

• Make your space bright and inviting. Add lighting, mirrors, decorative accents, art, etc.

• Create rules and routines to maintain the order and organization. Review and refine as needed.

• Stay motivated by reminding yourself of the benefits of an organized and clutter-free space.

Here's a summary:

Storage baskets: Use them to store clutter and miscellaneous items. They are inexpensive and helpful.

Use all available space: Install extra rods, racks and shelves. Hang items on walls and doors. Add furniture like dressers to the closet.

Boot organizer: Keeps boots off the floor and organized.

Arrange shoes on the door: Hang shoes on the back of the door to save floor space. Only for heels.

Shelf dividers: Separate and organize items on shelves.

Add another bar: Double your hanging space by installing an extra clothes rod.

Use good hangers: Metal or wooden hangers keep clothes from slipping and make the closet neater.

A higher rod: Installing the rod higher up creates more space underneath.

Small items: Use baskets and boxes to corral small things like socks, gloves, hair ties, etc.

Sweaters: Roll up sweaters and store them in a shoe organizer.

Scarves: Attach shower hooks to a hanger and hang scarves on them.

Underwear: Store underwear in labeled shoeboxes.

Purses: Hang purses on hooks, racks or in baskets on the closet door or wall.

Bathroom: Organize hair tools, makeup, nail polish, bobby pins, lipstick, cleaning supplies, medicine, towels, etc. Use trays, boxes, racks and wall storage. Keep counters clear.

Jewelry: Organize necklaces, bracelets and earrings on pegboards, towel racks, trays, etc.

Kitchen: Organize produce, cans, cutting boards, utensils, boxed goods, plastic wrap, tea bags, Tupperware, cleaning supplies, and the oven drawer. Use baskets, racks, canisters, and organizers. Recycle excess plastic bags.

Laundry room: Use racks, shelves, hanging organizers and the back of the door to store detergent, bleach, dryer sheets, the ironing board, etc.

Playroom: Use blankets, bins, shoe organizers, bags and hammocks to organize and contain toys, dolls, puzzles and stuffed animals.

  • Attach your child’s stuffed animals to the ceiling.

  • Install shelves for board games.

  • Use an old wagon to store storybooks.

  • Use color-coded files to organize your office. For example, green for bills, blue for insurance, etc.

  • Use a spice rack to store office supplies like post-its, rubber bands, tacks, etc.

  • Use bungee cords to corral beach balls, soccer balls and basketballs in the garage.

  • Use a muffin pan to store miscellaneous garage items like tacks, nails, pins and rubber bands.

  • Use a spice rack to store nuts and bolts.

  • Attach a towel bar to the wall and then attach hooks to hang tools like hoses, rakes and shovels.

  • Use mesh or plastic pockets on the back of front car seats to store tissues, snacks, hand sanitizers, cups and toys.

  • Make a plan to decide where to start decluttering. Pick the messiest room.

  • Make a list of 10 things to do in that room and set a 30-day challenge to complete them.

  • Cross items off as you complete them. You’ll feel motivated and confident to achieve bigger goals.

  • Sell or donate items you don’t need. Aim to make money from selling items. Don’t trade items. Use the money to pay off debt or save.

  • Get rid of anything unused for 12+ months.

  • Research prices of expensive items before selling. Price slightly lower since the items are used. This incentivizes buyers.

  • Provide an accurate description and photos of items when selling online.

  • The best time to list items online is 7-9 pm. The best time may differ in your area.

  • Popular items to sell include: › Books - Sell on websites like or to local bookstores. › CDs and DVDs - Sell on websites like
    › Gift cards - Approximately $750 million in gift cards go unused each year. Sell them for cash.

You can sell unused gift cards and redeem them for cash on sites like and You can sell clothes you no longer wear on sites like,, and The best places to sell furniture are antique malls, consignment shops, garage sales, and some websites. You can sell electronics on websites like,,, and Local energy companies may buy old refrigerators and AC units. You can sell unwanted musical instruments to music stores, pawn shops, and online. You can sell unwanted jewelry on sites like and

Good ways to sell unused items include:

  • Garage sales: Advertise the sale locally and price items to sell.

  • Pawn shops: They will buy electronics, jewelry, and other items but typically offer lower prices.

  • Online: Websites like eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and LetGo are good for selling a variety of items to a wide audience. Meet buyers in public for safety.

  • Auctions: Best for rare, antique, or valuable items. Check prices on auction sites first.

  • Consignment shops: They will sell clothes, furniture, toys, and other items for you and split the profits.

  • Social media: Advertise items for sale on your social media profiles to sell to friends and family.

Environmentally-friendly cleaning tips:

  • Use natural products like baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar instead of harsh chemicals. They are non-toxic and work well.

  • To clean a sofa, mix water, vinegar, and baking soda; sponge it on and let air dry completely.

  • To clean leather chairs, mix olive oil and vinegar and buff with a cloth.

  • To remove pet smells from a sofa, air it out, beat it, sprinkle with baking soda and vacuum.

  • To clean a dining table, rub scratches with a nut to fill them in, wipe smudges with vinegar and water, and clean glass tables with a vinegar, water and alcohol spray.

  • To clean a toilet, pour baking soda and vinegar in the bowl, scrub and flush. Clean the outside, seat, lid, baseboards and floors.

  • To unclog drains, use a baking soda and vinegar or baking soda and lemon juice treatment.

  • Mop floors with vinegar and hot water.

  • Dust and wipe down surfaces. Clean mirrors and windows.

  • Take out the trash and recycling.

Pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar into the toilet bowl. Leave for 30 minutes and scrub with a toilet brush. Flush.

To clean the outside of the toilet, mix vinegar, water and baking soda in a spray bottle. Spray and let sit 10 minutes. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

To remove limescale, scrape with a knife. For tough limescale, fill the bowl with vinegar overnight and scrub in the morning.

To unclog a sink, pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain. Cover and let sit 30 minutes. Boil water and pour down.

To clean the toilet waste pipe, scrub with a vinegar-soaked cloth. For tough stains, wrap cloth around pipe and let sit before wiping.

To remove soap scum, make a baking soda and dish soap paste. Scrub and rinse.

To remove mold, spray with vinegar and wipe clean. Prevent buildup by spraying with vinegar regularly.

To clean shower curtains, spray with vinegar and water or scrub with baking soda. Machine wash if necessary.

To remove limescale from sinks, scrub with baking soda and wipe clean. For tough stains, make a baking soda and vinegar paste and let sit before rinsing.

To clean mirrors, spray with soapy water and wipe with newspaper. Buff dry.

To clean bathtubs, make a baking soda, vinegar and water paste. Scrub tub and rinse well.

To declutter relationships, get rid of negative friends:

  1. They don’t have your best interests at heart. They only care about themselves.

  2. They drain your energy with constant drama and negativity.

  3. They don’t want you to succeed. They discourage your goals and dreams.

  4. They put your potential for greatness at risk. They try to convince you that you can’t succeed.

You must let go of people opposed to your success. Positive and negative don’t mix. You can’t become your best self with negative friends.

Surrounding yourself with negative people can ruin your reputation and hold you back. Their negative energy and drama will drain you and prevent you from progressing in life. It is best to distance yourself from such people by:

  1. Creating boundaries and enforcing them. Set clear limits on what behavior you will tolerate. Be firm and consistent.

  2. Not allowing yourself to be manipulated. Don't rush to their aid for every minor crisis. Make sure the issue warrants your time before dropping everything to help them.

  3. Understanding that their attacks say more about them than you. Their hurtful words are a projection of their own self-loathing, not the truth about you.

  4. Not giving up. Stay determined to pull away from them even as their behavior worsens. Eventually, they will realize you won't engage and move on to another victim.

  5. Finding new, positive friends. Surround yourself with people who share your desire for growth and success. Their positive energy will lift you up and support your progress.

In addition to managing your relationships, you need to declutter your thoughts. Your thoughts create your reality, so negative and chaotic thinking will yield a negative and chaotic life. To transform your life, you must take control of your thoughts.

Your thoughts are energy, and energy attracts more of the same kind of energy. So negative thoughts attract more negativity, while positive thoughts attract more positivity. While random thoughts have little power, your consistent and repetitive thoughts shape your life. Spending just one hour a day thinking positively is not enough to overcome the other 23 hours of negative thoughts.

Your mind has a conscious part and a subconscious part. The subconscious mind is very powerful but often operates without your awareness. Reprogramming your subconscious mind by feeding it a steady diet of positive thoughts and beliefs is key to achieving lasting change. With discipline and practice, you can overcome negative thought patterns and establish new thought habits that will transform your reality.

The summary outlines the main reasons surrounding yourself with negative people is detrimental, strategies for distancing yourself from them, the role your thoughts play in shaping your life, how to reprogram your mind for positive change, and the power of focusing your thinking on what you want. The key is making the choice to be very intentional about what you allow into your mind.

  • The subconscious mind stores all your life experiences. By age 21, it holds the equivalent of 100 encyclopedias of information.

  • The subconscious mind perfectly remembers events from decades ago. Conscious mind, not subconscious mind, is the problem.

  • The subconscious mind stores and retrieves information to ensure your behavior aligns with your programming and self-concept. It obeys the conscious mind's orders.

  • The subconscious mind is like fertile soil. The conscious mind plants thoughts like seeds. Positive or negative thoughts will grow and drive your life.

  • The subconscious mind cannot tell the conscious mind which thoughts to send. You choose which seeds are planted.

  • Those from abusive upbringings often end up in abusive relationships again because that is what their subconscious mind knows and attracts. Breaking the cycle requires professional help.

  • Decluttering your mind requires changing how you think. Focusing on the positive instead of the negative improves your life.

  • Happy, successful people think about their goals and how to achieve them. This shields them from negative thoughts and builds a positive attitude and success. Negative people focus on what they lack and feel miserable.

  • Being positive is about your mindset. Positive people are optimistic, even in difficult times. They see opportunities and lessons in problems. They resolve problems instead of worrying.

  • Training your brain to be positive is simple but hard. Your subconscious pulls you to old habits. Staying positive for 60 days can become a habit. Focus on one positive thought at a time to build new neural pathways.

  • Respond positively to negative events for the best outcomes. Look for the positive in negative situations.

  • Affirmations are the words you say or think. Replace negative thoughts and speech with positive affirmations. Benefits include eliminating depression. Studies show affirmations help with depression and anxiety.

  • Use affirmations by:

  1. Replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations.

  2. Repeating affirmations while looking in a mirror.

  3. Meditating by repeating affirmations silently or aloud.

  • Here are 25 positive affirmations to replace negative thoughts:

[List of 25 affirmations]

Here is a summary of the key points:

• Successful people have strict daily routines and manage their time wisely. They avoid frivolous activities and focus on constructive tasks. • Having a daily routine provides structure, establishes good habits, breaks bad habits, prioritizes important tasks, reduces procrastination, builds momentum, and boosts confidence. • Waking up early provides alone time, increased productivity, a positive mindset, peak willpower, and a peaceful commute.
• To-do lists help combat feeling overwhelmed, prevent forgetting tasks, and avoid missing deadlines. They provide an organized plan of action. • Prioritize important tasks, break down big tasks into smaller steps, schedule deadlines, and review/update regularly.
• Learn to say no, delegate when possible, minimize distractions, take regular breaks to recharge, and automate/streamline where you can.
• Ask yourself tough questions to determine why you procrastinate and address the root causes. Build self-discipline through repetition and habit forming. Start with small victories.

Key tips: Have a strict daily routine and manage your time wisely Wake up early
Use to-do lists and prioritize important tasks
Learn to say no and delegate when possible
Minimize distractions and take regular breaks
Build self-discipline through habit forming and start with small wins

To organize and prioritize your tasks effectively:

  1. Make a list of all the things you need to do. Group them into categories like work, study, home, etc. if needed.

  2. Prioritize the list by assigning numbers or letters to indicate importance. Then rewrite the list in priority order.

  3. Start working through the list in order, ticking off tasks as you complete them.

  4. Use to-do list software to help keep you on track. It can send reminders and sync across devices. Do some research to find software that suits your needs.

  5. Set goals to give yourself direction and motivation. Consider goals for your career, finances, education, family, health, attitude, public service, etc. Write specific and measurable goals with timeframes for achievement.

  6. Break down big goals into smaller milestones. Set daily goals to achieve the milestones and work towards your bigger goals. Stay on track by scheduling weekly check-ins on your progress.

  7. Use the SMART method to make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. For example, “I will become a lawyer by December 2020.”

  8. Turn goals into positive affirmations, like “I am married with three children by age 35.” Speak in the present tense.

  9. List goals in priority order and work on them accordingly. Be realistic in your goal setting.

  10. Don't stop setting goals. Continuous self-improvement should be a lifelong goal.

  11. Stop procrastinating. Recognize the signs like focusing on unimportant tasks, delaying tasks you could do today until tomorrow, etc. Take action by breaking down big tasks into smaller steps and starting, even if you don't feel like it. Establish accountability by telling others about your goals and deadlines.

• Procrastination is the habit of putting off important tasks until the last minute. It is not leaving insignificant tasks for later.

• People procrastinate for many reasons: lack of enjoyment in the task, lack of organization, intimidation, and fear of success.

• To overcome procrastination, employ strategies like focusing on the consequences, rewarding yourself, finding an accountability partner, and getting organized by planning, using to-do lists, setting goals, and avoiding multitasking.

• Success in private leads to success in public. Prepare yourself for your next stage of life by decluttering your environment and mindset. Maintain the discipline to keep things organized.

• Pursue excellence and success will follow. Continuous self-improvement and growth are up to you.


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