How I got rid of 80 books using the KonMari method

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.

How I got rid of 80 books using the KonMari method.

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

  1. 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 They’re probably out of date anyway, and the internet has everything you need.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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

What’s next?

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?

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How the KonMari method helped me get rid of most of my clothes

The KonMari method, as described in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, has helped me get rid of the crap in my closet so that only my most-loved pieces remain. Now those items will get even more love. It also helped me to really define my personal style, which is something I’d been struggling with for ages. I am so happy that I went through this process! Read on to see how I went from freaking out about what to wear everyday to barely giving it a second thought and still loving what I put on.

KonMari method - clothes - before
Here is the before shot, sort of. I had already gone through and did a quick purge of things I knew without question I wanted to get rid of. I still had a lot left! This does not include my shoes and bags.

The Process

Kondo asks you to put all of your clothing into a pile. Everything. Anything you forget about automatically gets discarded, because if you forgot about it you probably don’t care about it enough to keep it. Once you’ve gathered all of your clothes, she recommends that you sort your clothes into categories and discard each category in her recommended order. I did sort my clothes but I made up my own categories and went through them in no particular order, because I’m a rebel and I do what I want!

For example, separating out my running gear helped me see that I had way more running clothing than I needed. How many shirts do you think I need for running if I run four times a week at most (and do laundry once a week)? Ok maybe I need to layer more in winter, but I live in Vancouver! I hardly ever need more than one shirt per run. I had 15! And that was just short-sleeved shirts. I still had tank tops and long-sleeved shirts to deal with. Since I mostly wear t-shirts and use the other shirts for layering if needed, I cut it down to my four favourite tees, and the rest got cut from the team.

My suggestion for you, should you choose to accept it

Rather than go through Kondo’s categories which are: tops, bottoms, clothes that should be hung, socks, underwear, bags, accessories, clothes for specific events, and shoes, I suggest creating categories for what you do when you are wearing the clothes, and then figure out how many times a week you do that thing. Now you know how many of said item you need. Get rid of the rest! This will help with letting go of things like extra workout gear and fancy clothes (if you don’t go out much). This applies to things like socks and underwear as well, at least for me. I use different socks and underwear for running than I do for anything else, and sorting those out made me see that I could probably use a new pair of special running undies and another pair of wicking socks!

I went through my whole wardrobe 4 times, each time getting rid of more and more, until I was left with pieces I wear all the time already, or would wear now if it was summer.

After I went through clothing and outerwear, I went through my shoes and handbags/tote bags. This was easy for me since I had already done a huge handbag purge on one of my previous decluttering sessions. But I still managed to cut my collection down a bit more. I got rid of most of my tote bags and reusable shopping bags. I had way more than I could ever use. I got rid of most of my shoes. Most of my shoes with heels went. I love looking at them, I hate wearing them. What’s the point of keeping a bunch of heels then?

Project333 - spring
The final result, sort of. There are a few more items that I have set aside, and this doesn’t show my outerwear. This is my spring capsule wardrobe which I’ll write more about in another post.


The results

I am very proud of my progress and very happy with what I have left to wear. I don’t feel deprived at all. I feel like the pieces I have left will get a lot of love and use, and I have a great idea of my personal style which will help me make smarter choices when I do need to go out and buy something.

Before reducing my wardrobe, getting ready to go out would give me anxiety. I would try everything on and then freak out and often cancel plans with friends because I just couldn’t deal! I know I probably sound like a baby throwing a tantrum to most, but anyone dealing with anxiety feels me, I’m sure. Now my closet is a safe space. I know what to expect and I know I’ll like the way I look regardless of what I put on.

Two things from the book that I will not be implementing:

  1. She says you should fold your clothes rather than hang them. She also tells you not to roll your socks into balls because this… hurts them? She says if you fold your clothes her way, they won’t wrinkle, but I call BS. I tried it, and everything was wrinkled. I do not iron. Ever. I will just hang my stuff, thank you very much. And I think my socks are just find being folded the old fashioned way.
  2. She says not to store your seasonal clothing, and I understand why. However I do have some items that I would only wear in the summer, and I have tucked  them away because I want to try my first go at Project 333 this spring. More on that in a future post. But basically the premise is you select 33 things to wear for 3 months or a season, and the rest gets packed away. Mind you I didn’t, like, pack it up in boxes. I just put my leftover clothes in a different closet. Hanging. Take that, Marie! 🙂

What’s next?

Next is books. I love collecting books and I think will be a little bit harder for me than getting rid of my clothes. I’ll be sure to update you on that process when I get there. Marie, give me strength!

Have you started following the steps in the KonMari method to declutter your home? How did it go? Do you have any tips? Let me know in the comments below!

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