Updated: Aug 29, 2019
Books. I collect them. I cherish them. Most importantly, I read them. So the thought of giving away any of my books was, quite honestly, not a happy thought. Having them all lined up or stacked on top of each other on a shelf was extremely pleasing to me, seeing all the books I had and feeling their words all over my house. Then we started the KonMari process, I had to face the facts - not all of my books were loved equally.
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Before I started, my bookshelves were mixed in their appearances. I had some bookshelves, like the one out in our dining room, that were nice and neat. Shelves like this were a sort of display for the books I cherished most and wanted out so that I could see them more easily. Books like this included Harry Potter (duh), books by Tana French, books by Kate Morton, and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series as well as a few other random books.
Then there were the other shelves. These shelves had books all lined up vertically, but then they had other books stacked vertically on top of those books and it looked like a hot mess. I had books on these deeps shelves of a book case Aaron's uncle made and they were hidden behind piles of paper and miscellaneous objects.
My collection of books was outgrowing the space I had for them all and though I may not have realized it, all of those books placed helter skelter was stressing me out! I was still holding on to books from college classes I took, books that I had bought in my early twenties (even teen years!) and still had not touched, books that I had picked up a few times and read bits of but never got very far into.
There were a lot of books that I felt I was holding onto because I had spent the money to buy, but never read and, by golly, I had to read them someday, right?! I was keeping some of my books more out of guilt and obligation, rather than the enjoyment of actually reading them.
With the KonMari method, I was really excited to go through my books and have the tough conversation with myself about if I really needed a book that I had not read yet, or did not like, or was unsure why I bought it in the first place. Which books did I own that truly sparked joy for me and would bring a smile to my face to see on my shelves?
So I created a pile. A big ol' pile of books on my kitchen table. I grabbed books from the dining room, bedroom, living room and stacked them on the table to get a full view of all the books we had in this house. I was hoping Aaron's pile would be bigger to make me feel better, but I was kidding myself. He is not a big reader like I am, so to expect his pile of books to be anywhere near mine was laughable.
Seeing all of my books stacked on the table was less overwhelming than the clothes, probably because you don't also have to fold books (how convenient!). My pile of books was smaller than I thought, which was a little boost for me, feeling like maybe I had a better handle on this whole thing that I realized!
One little cheat that I realized later is that I own a Kindle. Many of my books are on my Kindle and, therefore, not taking a ton of room on my shelves. So someday soon I will need to go through my Kindle and delete the books that I have bought but doubt that I will read so that even my Kindle is a nice and joyful place to roam.
With all of the books stacked on my table, I started with a few books that were an easy yes for me, which were (you guessed it!) my Harry Potter books. Each one of those books were bought immediately when they came out at Borders (RIP Borders, you sweet angel of a bookstore! Anyone else a huge Borders fan, comment below!) and I would even go to Borders for the night the books were available. Borders would have this huge party for anyone who wanted to come and get their book the first day and you bet your girl was THERE.
Through sorting my books, I truly felt like I was able to discern which books were keeps and which were going to be donated to our local library. If you are going through your books and want to donate them, there is a good post on Money Crashers that has a list of suggested places to donate your books, rather than throwing them away to be sent to a landfill!
The books that truly sparked joy were gladly put in one pile, while the books that I did not feel a connection with were put in another pile to donate. For the books that I decided to donate, it felt great to be able to part with them and no longer feel the guilt of holding onto them or having never read them knowing that they would be going to a more grateful home. I have plenty of books and there are plenty of people who would thoroughly enjoy the books that no longer bring me that feeling of joy.
Once I had my two piles separated, I placed the donation books into paper bags to take to the library. Aaron also got rid of a ton of books, many being old textbooks, but he probably got rid of about half of his books! Seeing the large amount of books that would be leaving our house was surprisingly relieving and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment from being able to let go of so many books.
All in all, I got rid of 51 books and kept 150 books total and definitely not meaning to keep such a precise number! We also went through our cookbooks, keeping 21 of them and donating eight. The books numbers do not include how many Aaron kept and will donate. I also went through all of my magazines and cut out clippings of articles, recipes, and pictures that I wanted to put in a clippings binder. Then I literally recycled every single magazine in my house. Every. Last. One. And you know what? It felt amazing!
With the paired down roster of books that I kept, I can gladly say that I was able to fit my books perfectly on our shelves. They look so much better all being stacked vertically and not being crammed into their shelves and being piled on top of each other. I even separated them into sections so that I would have a better idea of where all of my different genres of books were located.
The shelving unit in our dining room is still a work in progress and we go through the rest of the steps in the KonMari method, but the shelves with our books have changed drastically. The top shelf now just has decorations, the second shelf has books, and the third shelf has cookbooks and a decorative bowl Aaron's uncle made us when we moved into the house. Seeing those three shelves truly does spark joy!
In our bedroom, the shelving unit looks so much more streamlined and neat! I can see all of our books clearly and I can feel a great sense of joy when looking at those shelves. Before, the books were jam packed into those shelves, but now they are comfortably situated so that they can look more put together. Seeing the picture of how the shelf used to look is jarring now compared to the orderly photos after tidying our bookshelf.
Have you used the KonMari method on your books? If so, how did it feel for you to let go of the books that no longer sparked joy? Comment below!