Continuing on from last week’s clothing decluttering post we’re moving on to the second task on Marie Kondo’s list: Books.
I used to have a ton of books. I had three bookshelves stacked two deep in books while I was in college. When I got engaged had found a job in Dongducheon, South Korea to be near my ex I realized that the logistics of me storing all of those books for an indefinite amount of time was just not going to work. So I gave away and donated about half of them. After coming back to the US and unpacking two households (my college apartment plus our joint things from Korea) I once again consolidated the books, halving them again as there was simply no way we could continue to bring them from home to home. All this to say that I’m not new to decluttering books… but I’m also good at collecting them. I love books. Curing up with a good book and a cup of tea on a cold evening is one of my favorite pastimes.
This time around I had a full bookcase to begin the decluttering process with. In Marie Kondo style I started pulling them all out of the shelves. I didn’t have enough room to take down the teaching books (that I also actually needed to keep whether or not they brought me joy… a departure from her method) so those stayed on the shelf. Oops, not a perfect KonMari decluttering here either but it worked nonetheless.
The KonMari method would have had me ‘wake up’ the books by touching them all then, without opening the books, hold them and decide if they ‘spark joy’ or not. If they don’t then you discard them. Simple, quick and you would think fairly easy. I found this one less easy than it sounds on paper because there are books that I have not for regular use or because they bring me joy but because they are useful- a concordance, sheet music, teaching materials and books, etc. There are also some books that don’t themselves bring me joy but doing the activity that it helps me to do does bring joy- singing the songs from my music collection, cooking, etc. I also have books that I am saving for when my nieces visit, for use in my classroom and for my future children. None of those really felt like they fit into her plan for decluttering books. Perhaps I misunderstood her idea of sparking joy here but I definitely kept books that didn’t spark joy when everything was said and done.
Books were just hard and to be honest I didn’t like her method when applied to them. It did force me to think about the books I kept though which I’m going to take as the lesson of the day and move on to another area. I had some books that don’t fit my life any longer- ballet books for instance, I no longer teach ballet and don’t see that in my immediate future or cookbooks full of recipes that contain gluten… I’m never going to use them, I can’t- all of those made their way to the sell & donate piles as well as a few others. Another handful of books are heading to my sister for the girls to enjoy now rather than when they visit. All in all I got rid of a large box of books, I would estimate 25-30.
Next up is supposed to be Papers, and we’ll get to that next week, but I actually did a quick declutter of my car first as I was about to go out of town and all the decluttering and organizing had me itching to put it to rights before I left. I’m actually not sure if the car would be considered part of Komono or not part of my home at all actually but I spend quite a bit of time in my car commuting to work, chorus, dance and doctor’s appointments so having it cluttered can actually affect my whole day.
Until next time,