Have you read the organization book that’s sweeping (pun totally intended) the nation? It’s called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, and it’s fantastic. And I bet if I followed her method exactly, it’d live up to its life-changing claim. I, however, naturally ignored most of her advice (i.e. be systematic, start with clothes, work your way up to the harder decisions), and went straight for my personal tidying kryptonite: books.
As is a common refrain with many a reader, I have a rather lot of books. My current apartment has five bookshelves of varying sizes, all chock full of books, beloved and unread alike. And I still have stacks of books in my parents’ basement. Well, had.
The core of the KonMari method is to ask oneself “Does this give me joy?” If so, keep it. If it once did, but no longer does, thank it for its service and toss it. If it doesn’t currently and never has, get rid of that sucker.
Fortunately, this leaves a lot of room for a book hoarder like me to keep these multitudes of books. However, I had decided that I wanted to get all my books out of my parents’ basement (another suggestion from Ms. Kondo: don’t inflict your unwanted belongings on relatives!), and thus needed to make space for them.
School text that I despised and never want to read again? Out.
Random book I picked up for a song at a library book sale but have never even considered reading since? So long!
Gift from a well-meaning relative that I tried to read for their sake but just couldn’t get past the first chapter? Adios.
After five years of lugging dozens of boxes of books with me between six different locations, I actually got rid of a bunch. Whole boxes, even. A strong percentage. I was impressed with myself — as was my family, who had long ago given up on having any hope that I would get rid of a single ink-stained piece of paper.
And yet, I wasn’t able to bring myself to follow the KonMari method to the letter, if you will. I kept a few dozen (only a few!) that I really do want to read, or at least give a chance to bring me joy, before culling them. But there must be a time limit.
And so I am left with plentiful joy-full shelves, and one groaning shelf of must-read-or-get-outs. So that’s my challenge for the year: read all of them before buying another book. Where to start? Perhaps I should try Ms. Kondo’s book again first…