If you aren’t familiar with the KonMari method, it boils down to a few basic ideas which I’m sharing again:
- Finish discarding everything before you start tidying. Do it all at once, intensely and completely.
- Keep only those things which spark joy. Visualize the life you want after you tidy and instead of focusing on what to get rid of, focus on what you want to keep.
- Tidy by category, not by location. Go in order: clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous, sentimental.
- Treasure who you are now and thank the possessions you are discarding for getting out there. I didin’t thank everything individually but as I let go of certain items I am trying to thank them for the purpose they served before moving on.
- Store like with like. This should be obvious but it’s been a game changer as I’ve started moving all of my clothing, shoes, etc. into designated spaces. In this vein I’d also add: put things back where they belong the moment you finish with them.
- Vertical storage is key. You can find things at a glance and everything is easier to get to.
- Follow your intuition. There’s no right answer for how much to keep or discard, focus on what you love and when you hit that sweet spot that’s “just right” you’ll know you have enough.
- Appreciate your possessions. This goes back to thanking that which you discard and also treating items with respect.
Last weekend I tackled part two in my KonMari project. It wasn’t easy . . .
KonMari has a couple of specific pieces of advice for dealing with books. Like everything else Kondo recommends putting everything on the floor in a pile and working from there so you can touch everything and really make the most of your joy meter.
I hate doing this for books because a couple of my shelves are incredibly precarious and I don’t like going up and down the step stool while watching the shelf wobble around. I was going to still try this method but wound up getting sidetracked when my mom decided to keep my company. (That was partly my own fault because I am still tweaking my jewelry storage and was in the middle of that when she came in.) I think the process still worked even without everything ending up off the shelves all at once.
Obviously the main factor is still finding the books that spark joy. Again, as I was being more attentive to the process it was fascinating to realize that I really could tell when a book did or did not spark joy. It was especially clear while going through my old picture books and classic editions I received from relatives. It turns out I don’t need every book Chris Van Allsburg wrote nor do I need a giant phonebook sized edition of A Little Princess. In talking through some of the books Mom and I both realized we don’t particularly like Andersen’s or Grimm’s fairy tales. Yet I had three copies of them on my shelves.
All told I sorted out about forty books to give away including some picture books, novels, and duplicate copies. I was able to move a lot books so that they authors and genres were grouped together. As with everything except my clothes (speaking of which I still have to tackle my sweaters) I am still tweaking the exact storage method. But I’m feeling a lot better about how many books I’m keeping.
I am also happy to say I didn’t have any issues except for a low moment when I went and rescued five books I had already set aside to give away. It happens.
According to KonMari, “sometime” can mean never when it comes to rereading books. I’m trying to keep this in mind but a lot of my books are from signings and author events so they also have sentimental value attached. I think the solution might be to go back and look at them again when it’s time for my sentimental item sweep.
Another KonMari tenet is that the best time to read a book is when you first encounter it. I didn’t always think this was true but I’m starting to see the light. I’m working on a multi-pronged system to read through the books I have in a timely manner and especially to read advance copies I have before the books come out. I used to be better at that, but I also used to receive fewer ARCs so I’m not going to stress too much.
Regardless of if you are going to read the books again or when you encounter them, you should only keep those which you truly love. I’ve realized part of this ties directly to having easy access to books (to remove them or not) which I don’t have because all of my shelves are in ridiculous spots. I don’t want to dedicate another weekend to the process (I have to start taking down Christmas decorations) but with a day’s distance I’m realizing there are still some books on my read shelves that I don’t truly love and can definitely part with. As for the books to read–I’m trying to search my heart and only keep those which I truly want to read for myself and not for the hype.
I will be blogging about the rest of my KonMari process as I get to it, so stay tuned!