As with the wardrobe declutter, I didn’t quite follow the KonMari method to the letter when culling my book collection, but it still helped me make hard decisions and allowed me to significantly reduce my library.
My KonMari-ish process
I admit, I was worried about this step, but it was surprisingly simple for me, and this is coming from a hardcore book collector. I used to have the fantasy that all book nerds have. We all want the epic, Beauty and the Beast library that’s bigger than my apartment. And I have been stuffing my three large bookshelves to the max to achieve that library look. I still like that look, but I am tired of having shelves full of books I’m never going to get to read. It feels greedy to me when I know that someone out there could find their next favourite book in these stacks, yet I’m just hoarding it for the aesthetic. Queue guilty feels.
With that in mind, I went through my shelves multiple times and pulled everything out that I wasn’t excited about reading. I cleared one shelf so I had somewhere to put the keepers: books I’ve read multiple times, good reference books, books I haven’t read but am excited to, and books that I love as beautiful objects. Kondo calls this the “hall of fame”.
I also sent messages to friends who I remembered lending books to telling them to either keep them or pass them on.
You have to make some hard choices
“Keep only those books that will make you happy just to see them on your shelves, the ones that you really love.”
Excerpt From: Kondo, Marie. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” iBooks.
Here are some things to keep in mind when going through your books
- You don’t need those travel books. They’re probably out of date anyway, and the internet has everything you need. If you are keeping them for the photos, get your butt over to Pinterest! Check out my travel board for inspiration.
- Are you keeping a series of books because you loved the first one, but the rest were only ok? Keep the first one and get rid of the rest. This was the case for me with the MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood. I loved Oryx and Crake, but Year of the Flood and MaddAddam were just meh.
- That said if you get rid of something from a series and then decide you want to read the whole series one day, you can always read it again by borrowing it from the library. Or if you use Scribd — and you should, it’s basically Netflix for books. No, they don’t pay me I just love them — you can see if they have it. Nothing is gone forever, so be cutthroat about it!
And that’s it! See? Not so hard. After counting all of the books I’m getting rid of it’s exactly 80. I’m going to see if I can sell some of them to my favourite used book store which I’ve never done before. Hopefully I can get a few bucks back because I’ve certainly given them a ton of business! I pinkie promise not to use that money to buy more books.
Papers… dun dun duuun! This one scares me, guys. I’m drowning in paper over here! I may take a couple of weeks to mentally prepare. If you’ve been through the KonMari process and you have any tips for dealing with all the paper, please share them with me. Seriously, this worries me more than sentimental items.
What’s one book that you have in your collection that you would never get rid of?