I am continuing to use Marie Kondo’s decluttering method on my home. You can read about the introduction here. Next up as I KonMari my house: Books!
I used to have a TON of books. Before I moved in with my husband, they took up a floor to ceiling bookcase, plus I had more stashed under my bed. It comes at no surprise because I love to read and get pretty attached to books that touch my heart in some way. When I moved in with my now husband, we were living in a tiny one bedroom apartment with almost no storage space. That sparked the first major decluttering of my books. So I already had gotten them down to a smaller number.
There are a few cookbooks in the kitchen that I use all the time, plus magazines from upstairs. Right now, most of our books are stored near the dining room because this just worked out with space and with keeping a common decor with the furniture in the room. The bookcase holds my husband’s records and record player on the top and bottom shelf, with my books and scrapbooks in between. The rest are stored inside the chest.
Kondo goes pretty into depth in her book when describing how to go through books. She reminds the reader that books that may spark joy, are lifeless sitting unread on the shelves. She encourages us to only keep those that truly spark joy and that are actually used. Things like textbooks, dictionaries/reference books, and half read novels have served their purpose of providing an experience. After that, we do not need them anymore.
Going through them was tough at first because I had the mindset that I had to get rid of some. But then I remembered the main message of the book, to focus on keeping what sparked joy. After that, it became much easier. It was nice to know that nearly all of my books sparked joy. I had a nice collection of books I primarily used as art reference, those stayed. I also had about a dozen novels and classic books that I kept because I really do reread them often.
The books on the bookcase were all very, very old and passed down from my father to me. Although they were not really read, because they were a family heirloom, I decided to keep them. When I was little, I used these in my pretend play all the time because they were how a book should be. Solid, simple, and they had that great old book, musty smell.
I still got rid of a small pile of books. There were a few funny reads that I knew I wouldn’t pick up again. Among them were classics that I only really kept because it felt wrong to get rid of something written by Shakespeare. There were also reference books that I knew could be replaced by Google. There were a few books that I loved dearly and wanted to read them to Dominik, The Lord of the Rings and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. These I saved for a future gift for him.
I used this method to go through my son’s books too. Although, I also used criteria of whether or not it contained a message I wanted him to be exposed to or if the book had too many grammar errors. There were just a few, as I know his books spark a tremendous amount of joy for him. I gently encouraged my husband to go through his books, as he has lots of reference books and textbooks that are never, ever touched. But he remains in his “these are perfectly good” frame of mind.
How to keep it green and eco-friendly:
-Books that are in readable condition can be donated to a library. You get a tax write off and someone else gets to enjoy the book.
-Books that are damaged and unsuitable to be donated should be recycled, remember that they are just paper!
-They can also be sold on website like Ebay or Amazon, books like up to date textbooks still fetch close to their retail price, but it helps students to pay it forward with an affordable price
So although I did not declutter as much as I thought I would, I was happy that the books that were left after my last major de-stash were those that truly brought joy to me. It’s nice not being overwhelmed with titles or having books that go unread. The ones that I have are reread often because they truly speak to my soul. Every time I wonder if I am keeping too much, I remind myself that it’s not necessarily about the amount I have, but whether it truly sparks joy.
Up next: Papers