KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #13 – Books Part 1
As a writer, I tend to read a lot, which means I own a ton of books. However, as I continue in my KonMari journey, I wanted to use my bookshelf in my office to not only house books but display items that bring me joy as well. And, my project binders.
Several years ago, I was all about accumulating as many interesting books as I could, to one day have a dedicated library in my house. I envisioned myself drinking tea beside a huge window, surrounded by floor to ceiling books. However, every time I moved, there were more and more super heavy boxes of books that no one – including the movers – wanted to lift. The more books I had, the more bookshelves I needed. It was an endless cycle.
A couple of moves ago, I decided not to take three bookshelves with me to my new home. I donated over 500 books to the library, followed by another 200 once I settled into my new place. Some books I read. Some I would never read. Almost all of them nonfiction.
Basically, what was left is what I now have, and it’s still too much. In fact, at times I have forgotten I own a particular book and buy a second or third copy. It’s frustrating that there are so many books on the shelves that I can’t get to the ones I want. It’s time to purge!
I also wanted to bring some light and air to my bookshelf, which sits behind my desk in my office. When I walk into my office, I want to be inspired and happy to look at the bookshelf, not be distracted or annoyed by the mess.
Marie Kondo, in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, says to put all your books in one pile and purge from there. I couldn’t do that. I had to take it shelf by shelf, which was organized by topic. Even cleaning through my books that way I’ve had stacks on the floor for several days while I decide on the new layout for my bookshelf. It would have been a nightmare with all of them on the floor at the same time!
As I touched each book, I determined if it deserved a place in my home. If so, it went into Pile A. If not, Pile B, whereupon I noted all the pertinent information (title, author, ISBN, price) onto a handy dandy spreadsheet. I always keep track of books I donate or sell. That way, I won’t buy them again – hopefully. Then, I checked Amazon to see if they were worth selling. Most were not. So, they were put into a box and packed into my car to deliver to the library.
However, there were some that didn’t fit into either category. They didn’t deserve to stay, but I really wanted to read them before I sent them on their way. I know, Kondo says to just give them away, but I truly believe I will make it through this pile. Alas, Pile C needed a home.
As I worked through the shelves, I had to decide what I wanted where. So, I did my usual – I drew a quick sketch of the bookshelf on a piece of paper, identified what I knew and listed the book categories that still needed a home. (I use this same method for kitchen cupboards, bedroom closets/furniture and anything else that can be put on a grid. It helps me to think things through.)
I’m about halfway done, and it’s been a challenge. I cannot believe how many books I can squeeze onto a shelf! (These are really deep.) I’ve always been good at organizing things, I guess to the point where I have far more than I need of some items.
So far, I’ve donated about another 100 books, added about as many into Pile C, with many more books to go. However, what I’ve done I’m thrilled with! I just love walking into my office and seeing the clean shelves, lights and words of inspiration.
Here are some tips for cleaning through your books:
- Bit by bit. If you have a lot of books, take it a bit at a time. It gets too confusing when you have books all over the place. When you want to put them back on a shelf, you won’t be able to find it. If your books bring you joy, there’s no reason to toss them, but be realistic.
- Decide on the use. Do you just want to pile your books on your bookshelves, or do you want to use the shelves for other things as well, such as display items, awards, photos, or office items. You have to make that decision before you start to put things back.
- Make a grid. I find it’s best for me to make a list of all the categories I need to put into a particular space, make a grid, then decide where they go. Sometimes it’s decided on the grid. Other times I put the item away then note it on the grid and cross it off the list. It just helps to keep you organized so you don’t forget anything crucial.
- Clean it! Once the shelves are empty, do a good beeswax dusting and let it sit overnight before you put anything back. Let the beeswax do its job. It’s not often the shelves are completely empty, so take advantage while you can.
- Feel the energy. I’ve changed the layout of some of the shelves several times, until I felt it was right. I even changed the location of two or three categories because, while they looked good on my grid, I didn’t like the way it felt on the shelf.
- Light it up! I’ve had so much fun using the inexpensive LED fairy lights on timers to light up my bookshelves. I’ve even used flameless pillar candles and lighted candle bases. It’s so exciting to walk into my office and see everything lit up. It increases my energy immediately.
I’ll do a final blog post once I’ve finished, and post photos on Instagram, but I thought I’d share what I’ve done so far. This is such a tough category for me, particularly if you’re an avid reader like I am. And, I keep my cookbooks and art books in other rooms. So, more mess to make!
I’d love to hear your comments on how you’re using KonMari to sort through your books. Leave your comments below!
Next up, Books Part 2. Join my feed on Bloglovin’ or catch my Instagram posts to keep up to date.
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