Hi everyone! As you might have worked out from the title of today’s post, I’ve been doing some decluttering of my books and as Marie Kondo seemed to cause quite the uproar (unfairly so) in the bookish community when her TV show came out on Netflix in January (I think it was January, honestly I have completely lost track of this year, what is time), I thought it might be quite interesting for me to share my experiences using her method to organise my own books because it’s not something I’ve ever tried before and well I thought you guys might like to hear about it.
So I suppose I should start with some context, since I didn’t just decide to do this out of the blue. As you guys know (well if you didn’t before, then you do now), I’m graduating from University this semester and for the last three years, I’ve stored my books in my parents’ house in Stirling. Now whilst I will still be doing that because I physically cannot keep all of my books at home, I thought that graduating was a good excuse to go through my books and weed out my collection a little, because I know that I’m not interested in reading absolutely everything that I’ve acquired over the past three years anymore, and it doesn’t make sense to have all these books taking up so much space when I’ll probably never read some of them. So with the help of my friends, Nicola and Rebecca, we went through all of the books, and using the KonMari Method (sort of, I’ll get to the adaptions I had to make in a minute) decided what would stay and what would go.
I had to slightly alter the question I asked myself, because I actually haven’t read most of the books that I’ve stored at my parents’ house, so it was less, “does this bring me joy?” and more “does this have the potential to bring me joy?”. It had also been a while since I’d bought a lot of the books, so I did have to get Nicola to read the blurbs of a few of them so I’d remember what the plot of the book was and could work out whether I was still interested in reading it.
To reassure everyone, I ended up keeping more than 30 books. Of course I did, the whole point of this is to keep what brings you joy and personally, I need far more than 30 books to bring me joy. The whole point of the KonMari method, as far as I’ve gathered is to keep what is right for you and makes you happy, and that could be 30 books, it could be 100 books, it could be 1000 books, if it brings you joy then it’s here to stay.
First off, we sorted my books into piles so that we could go through them more easily, and then basically we’d go through each book one by one and I’d decide what I felt I’d still enjoy and what I’d lost interest in. I think it was a bit frustrating for my friends at first because I wanted to keep pretty much everything from the first couple of piles, but as we went through the books, I found more that I was willing to part with.
There were some that I instantly knew I wanted to keep, books by favourite authors that I’d really enjoyed, books that I loved the concept of and was still really excited by, books that I’d loved and had signed, the ones that I just looked at and was like, yes, I want to keep these.
There were also books I instantly knew I wanted to get rid of, books I hadn’t enjoyed or hadn’t been able to finish or had just completely lost interest in. There were a lot of proofs that I just didn’t want to read anymore or books that I had picked up at YALC a couple of years ago that I didn’t really have a strong attachment to because I’d just got them as part of a deal. The hardest ones were those books that I wasn’t really sure about, I didn’t have strong feelings either way or that I’d had signed to me and so even if I wasn’t sure about reading it, I still felt compelled to keep. This is where it is very useful to have friends because they basically bully you (lovingly) into getting rid of all the books that you’re not sure of!
We organised my books into three sections, books I wanted to keep, books I wanted to donate and books that my friends wanted (do you see now why they agreed to help me do this?). Naturally, the books I wanted to keep ended up being the largest pile, but my friends did get a few books and I ended up with a bag of books to donate, some of which may be going on Twitter in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out.
I wasn’t really sure about the KonMari method at first, because honestly, getting rid of books is never something that I’m very good at and I thought, well what good is bringing joy as parameter for books, all books bring me joy! But actually having tried it, I’m a lot less sceptical than before. There were far more books that I was sure would make me happy (and vice versa) than there were books that I dithered over and it actually didn’t take quite as long to do as I thought it would. I didn’t count my books before I organised them, but I’m pretty sure they were getting up into triple digits and it only took us just over an hour to go through all of them. It honestly feels like a weight off my shoulders having decided to offload the books I have because now I know that I have more space for books that I’ll hopefully really love and I’m pleased with everything I kept.
Getting rid of books is really hard for me, because I’m one of those, “but I might read it someday” kind of people, and I hate to let a book go that I might have enjoyed. But I did learn through doing this that I’m more certain about what I’m going to enjoy than I thought and that decluttering does not have to mean getting rid of all of your books, I still have a pretty hefty box of them and I’m pretty happy that all of the books in that box, have brought or will one day bring me joy (plus I have a box and two bags of books going home, so I think I’m doing just fine!). Plus I’m pretty sure that all of the books that I’ve given up as part of this declutter will be replaced with new ones in time (is that not how this works?).
I’m never going to be someone with a small book collection. Books bring so much joy to my life, even the ones I haven’t read, all the infinite possibilities behind the pages are a wonder to me. That being said, I think it’s a great idea to occasionally go through your book collection and make sure that you still want everything on your shelves. It’s a good way of checking in with your reading tastes and making sure your shelves still match those and also to make space for all those shiny new books!
Have you ever tried the KonMari method? Would you ever? Do you find it easy or difficult to unhaul books? Let me know in the comments!
I probably will do another Jo Talks post this month, since I am now done with Uni, but it likely won’t be until the end of the month in two weeks time (HOW ARE WE HALFWAY THROUGH APRIL? Someone please explain time to me!). In the meantime, I’ll have another Top Ten Tuesday post for you guys tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that.