Book review: A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind — by Shoukei Matsumoto

“A monk’s day begins with cleaning.” And not because the temple grounds are dirty or messy. They do it to eliminate the suffering in their hearts. So begins the minimally-designed charming paperback that promises to deliver “Housekeeping Secrets from the World’s Tidiest Monks.” I learned a great deal reading the monk’s expert tips on keeping a spotless home, including what it means to take care of things, “things become garbage when they are treated as garbage,” as well as how to repair them. I embrace the concept of opening windows before cleaning, no matter the season, to let fresh air in as well as to communicate with nature, feel the cold, the wind, or the heat. It is certainly within reach to clean and tidy on a daily basis, to return things to their proper places before the day is over. However, some of their tips may not be sustainable in a house filled with family, kids and pets. For instance, the monks admonish “soaking cooking utensils that have been burned or dirtied in the sink and leaving them until the next day is not acceptable,” I beg to differ, soaked dishes are just plain easier to scrub.
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.
9 books to tidy up
The Minimalist Home: A Room-By-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life, by Joshua Becker
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, by Margareta Magnusson
Zero Waste: Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash, by Shia Su
Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism, by Fumio Sasaki
Remodelista: The Organized Home: Simple, Stylish Storage Ideas for All Over the House, by Julie Carlson
Who Knew? 10,001 Household Solutions: Money-Saving Tips, DIY Cleaners, Kitchen Secrets, and Other Easy Answers to Everyday Problems, by Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste, by Bea Johnson
A Life Less Throwaway: The Lost Art of Buying for Life, by Tara Button

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