I love books. My favorite job ever was a student job working in the library at the University of Rhode Island (probably because I never worked a shift more than a few hours long), and my favorite task was taking a cart of books to be filed on the peaceful upper floors.
I still love going to bookstores and libraries, even though I usually get books online now. The library has seriously come a long way in a few short years in their ebook and audiobook offerings.
Still, it’s nice to keep a small collection of books that were purchased during the years of reading books not on electronic devices. I am not a huge re-reader of books, so the bookcase is more for decoration and the happy feeling it gives me to look over at it than functional.
The KonMari Method for Books
Applying the KonMari Method to the books in our home was a breeze because we have already significantly pared down our book collection in preparation for previous household moves. We pretty much follow the rule that if there is a container in the house for a certain type of item, then you only keep what fits.
In this case, it is one bookcase in the living room and a few shelves on the TV stand. Wanting to faithfully follow the process of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, I set myself up on the living room floor one Saturday evening with a plate of sushi and pulled out all the books from the bookcase and TV stand to sort through, one by one.
I held each book in my hand and decided if it brought me joy. This was so much easier than clothes! It was fun to get to hold the books that truly do bring me joy to own, like The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra.
I also enjoyed sending the books that I decided did not bring me joy on their way. I used the same parting phrases that I used to let go of my clothes with my books. It was refreshing to finally give myself permission to keep only the books that have truly changed my life or for whatever reason have meaning to me.
I didn’t bother my husband with asking him to weed through his books. He doesn’t have that many anyway, and if he decides he wants to clear out the energy in his life to make room for other things then he is free to. But I won’t make him. Who knows? Maybe he already did this and I am just now catching up! (Update: when we moved houses, he decided all by himself to do his own book purge — I was a proud wifey!)
The Joys & Burdens of Books
After I went through all my books and decided which ones to keep, I put all our books back up in categories that I liked. No one really needs to access books off the shelf with any frequency anyway, so the categorization doesn’t need to be super functional.
Books are wonderful, but they can also be a huge burden. They weigh a ton, and there is also the burden of unread books. I finally let myself get rid of a few that when I looked at them I felt guilt for not having read them by now, not joy. I want to live in a house filled with things that bring me joy, not guilt.