The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: Book Edition

So there’s been declutter radio silence around here since I overhauled my closet after reading The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. I felt a sense of momentum at the time but thanks to some busier weekends and internal resistance to moving on to the next stage (books), I evaded and side-stepped the decluttering plan until last week.

On a rainy Thursday night, armed with a glass of wine, a bad ‘80s Spotify playlist and an ever inquisitive kitten, I edged towards our bookshelves.

The games begin. Pickles the kitten was thrilled with the extra hiding spots.

The games begin. Pickles the kitten was thrilled with the extra hiding spots.

Why did I resist?

  • To my family, books are uber important. I grew up around bulging bookshelves and due to never wanting for something to read, proceeded to read like crazy. I’ve always wanted my home to be full of books also.
  • I worked in book publishing for six years. Amongst co-workers and friends, literature collections were frequently discussed and often given the highest importance. I also received huge discounts and a heap of free books, so building my collection of classics and new books was easy.
The donate pile. Sorry Slash.

The donate pile. Sorry Slash.

The process

  • Take all books off the shelves and place them in the middle of the floor
  • As per the clothing exercise, find every book you own in your home. Every book.
  • Pick up each book and ask ‘Does it give me a thrill of pleasure when I touch it?’ If not, discard or donate.

Additional notes from the author

  • Do not start reading the books. This one was tough for me but I resisted…
  • You will re-read very few books in your time.
  • Ignore the notion that you may read it ’sometime’ - sometime never comes. You've missed the window once you’ve brought the book into your home and not read it.
  • Keep a hall of fame of books - the books you reread every year and the ones you want to read right now (but may be decluttered later).
Pickles could sense I needed a break halfway through.

Pickles could sense I needed a break halfway through.

Findings

  • I didn't totally agree with the instructions. There are a number of books I haven’t read but I do know I’ll paw through eventually - maybe only when on holiday, maybe when I retire (!), but I do want to keep them and read them.
  • I accepted every offer of a freebie for way too long - this spills across into most aspects of my life. Freebies seem amazing at the time, but in reality you usually take items you don’t actually need. I’ve noticed in the last year or two that 9 times out of 10 I say no to giveaways and perks.
  • I married the right guy - like I needed another reason to confirm this. Around 10 of the books I pulled out, I realised we had duplicates of. We read the same stuff.
  • I hold on to certain ideas or times of life - similarly to the clothing overhaul, as I touched each book, I felt some past emotions. Some related to times of my life when I was reading certain styles of writing. Some around books I bought on recommendations from a number of people but that never worked for me. It feels good to let these notions go, and to remind yourself that you’re becoming more and more of the true person you’re meant to be.
And the 'keep' pile.

And the 'keep' pile.

Next up in The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up? Miscellaneous papers! Can you guess I’ll be avoiding this one too?

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