Congratulations! You made it through the first major part of this challenge! We took a long time taking care of our clothes, shoes, and accessories, but it was worth it! If you are like me, you now own half of what you previously owned. The amazing thing is, I don’t miss any of the stuff I got rid of! I feel so great knowing that I only have things that I love, and it’s amazing to see so much space in my closet and drawers!
Now we are moving on to the next major category in this challenge: books!
If you are a book lover like me, this category may be a little difficult. In fact, Mari Kondo, the author of the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up says that books are one of the three hardest things for people to let go. My guess is that this is because we have so many unread books that we were planning to get to “someday,” and we fear that if we get rid of these books, we will be missing out on vital information. But Mari says that with books, “sometime” means “never.” We often tell ourselves that we will read them “when we have more time,” but when does that ever happen? If you haven’t read it by now, then it wasn’t important enough and not necessary for your life. If you get rid of a book and then find yourself really wanting that information, you can re-purchase the book.
There are yet other books that we have read, but think that we will re-read. This, too, rarely happens. If you have read a book once, you have already received the information, whether you remember it or not. And the fact of the matter is that in this internet, information age, you can find most anything you need by searching online.
Rare are the books you have read and re-read that you actually love. Those that bring you joy. Those that belong in your “hall of fame.” These are the books you want to keep. Imagine having a bookshelf of only books that cause you to be happy, just by looking at them! This is our goal.
Mari says that you can also keep books that give you pleasure, but don’t necessarily make it to your “hall of fame.” These might be informational books or self-help books, or anything that gives you really like, for whatever reason.
Those that fall in the “maybe” pile need to be discarded. For me, “maybe” means “no.”
Mari (and many of her clients) note that having fewer books increases the impact of the information they read. She also says, “For books, timing is everything. The moment you first encounter a particular book is the right time to read it.”
Now let’s get to the method of choosing our books.
- First, go through your house and find all your books. It is rare that we keep all our books in one place, so your search needs to be thorough. Include all those college textbooks you are keeping in a box in the basement.
- Lay all your books out on the floor. It is not enough just to look at their spine while they sit on the bookshelf. You need to actually handle each one. If you have too many books to put on the floor at one time, you can divide them into categories. Mari suggests the following four categories: General (books you read for pleasure); Practical (cookbooks and reference books); Visual (photograph collections such as books you have purchased on your travels that have pictures of the places you have visited–not your personal photo albums); and Magazines. However, we are going to save the magazines (and combine them with catalogs) for next week, so don’t worry about dealing with those for this week’s challenge.
- As you take each book into your hands, notice whether it gives you a feeling of joy. DO NOT START READING THE BOOK! This clouds your judgment. Instead of noticing what you feel, you’ll start asking yourself if you need the book or not. In addition, opening each book and getting sucked into its contents will make this process take a really long time. You will become fatigued before you can finish.
This challenge may take you some time, and it is probably one of the more difficult and time-consuming challenges in this entire series. But you can do it! It is highly unlikely that you will miss any books you part with, and the ones you keep will become even more special.
This challenge is based on the KonMari method found in the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you are just joining us, be sure to start at the beginning! It’s very important to go in order! You can also visit my Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life page for all the previous posts in this series. Don’t feel like you have to catch up if you are just finding this challenge now! Just make sure to start doing the weekly challenges from the beginning, and you will be fine!
Next week’s post: Magazines and Catalogs