The temptation to have a generously-sized home -- one that's big enough for all your stuff -- is a little backwards: Choosing a place with less square footage and then downshifting your consumer habits helps you cut your consumption, use fewer resources, lower your carbon footprint, and reduce the amount of material possessions you have -- which can add stress.
Want to get your space organized but don't know where to start? Try these five books for tips, advice, and suggestions on making the most of small spaces. But keep your end goal in mind from the start: Instead of buying all five, look for them at your local library, download the electronic versions, or borrow them from a friend before you end up with that much more stuff to declutter later.
1. Small Space Organizing: A Room-by-Room Guide to Maximizing Your Space
Small Space Organizing: A Room-by-Room Guide to Maximizing Your Space hit shelves in January 2012 -- just in time to offer tips and advice to everyone who put "get organized" on their list of New Year's resolutions.
Author Kathryn Bechen helps readers make the most of small areas, from finding a nook for a home office to creating an entryway without a dedicated foyer. And if you're downsizing because of an empty nest or a change in finances, Bechen can help you see all the potential in your new home.
2. 500 Ideas for Small Spaces
500 Ideas for Small Spaces focuses primarily on homes that clock in with fewer than 1000 square feet -- think apartments, small cottages, bungalows, and other decidedly un-McMansion-style houses.
Kimberley Seldon, Style at Home editor and host of "Design for Living," offers practical suggestions, from what paint colors make a room look bigger to the optimal height for hanging coat hooks for kids and adults to keep jackets within easy reach.
3. Simplify Your Space: Create Order and Reduce Stress
Professional organizer Marcia Ramsland uses a four-step approach to help you cut down the clutter and get what's left organized in her book, Simplify Your Space: Create Order and Reduce Stress.
The four steps can be summed up in one word: CALM, which stands for "Create a plan," "Approach it by sections," "Lighten up and Let go," and "Manage it simply."
The book also includes checklists, decorating tips, and diagrams for getting a place for everything and everything in its place.
4. Unclutter Your Life in One Week
Uncluttering your entire life in just seven days may be a bit optimistic -- especially if you're starting with a big, messy space -- but Unclutter Your Life in One Week has at least one major fact to recommend it: It's written by Unclutterer.com editor Erin R. Doland, who makes minimalist living seem not just attainable but preferable on the site every day.
Look for tips on getting rid of those sentimental objects you have trouble parting with (and even more trouble storing), setting up a streamlined office, and turning your closet into a space that makes choosing an outfit a breeze.
5. Organizing Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living
Organizing Simplicity goes beyond just those piles of old college textbooks, clothes your kids have outgrown, and the wedding presents that are still in their boxes: It can also help you pare down and organize everything from your calendar to your finances.
Author Tsh Oxenreider, founder of SimpleMom.net, also offers tips geared toward each room of your home and decorating suggestions to tie it all together.