New to this series? I’m going through the KonMari method from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to clean my house out once and for all! You can see where I cleaned my clothes out here, and where I shared my modified capsule wardrobe here. Today, we’re cleaning out books!
After cleaning out my closet a few weeks ago, I was feeling seriously pumped about continuing this challenge. Who wouldn’t be thrilled by the prospect of tidying up your home once and never having to do it again?
When I first started working on this challenge, I felt like the book category was one I could almost just skip. I am an avid reader, but I don’t keep many books in the house – a few years ago I went on a decluttering kick and got rid of all but my very favorite books. Plus, I’ve taken to reading most of my books on my e-reader, so at any given time I have less than 15 or so books in the house.
But then, I remembered Jackson.
He’s got just a few books.
The vast majority of his books were handed down from friends and family – my mom has given us almost all of the books I had when I was a kid (which is a lot of books), and Corey’s mom has done the same. So, while I felt like we didn’t have that many books in the house, Jackson had an insane amount of books, many of which we really didn’t even enjoy that much.
So, I knew my job might be a little harder than I first imagined. I dove right in with KonMari’s usual suggestion of gathering every book in the house and dumping them on the floor. KonMari claims that if books are left on the shelf when you go through them, you aren’t really seeing them and you’ll be more likely to just leave them be instead of actually clearing them out. Always the rule follower, I made a giant mess in my son’s room to accomplish this task.
Jackson thought this was the most fun game he had ever seen. And in the end, we donated quite the stack of books – and his shelves (and the rest of my house) were looking and feeling a lot lighter!
Here’s what I learned from cleaning out our books:
– There are a lot of children’s books that really do spark joy in me. I kept almost all of my old Berenstain Bears books, a ton of Dr. Seuss books, and all thirteen Series of Unfortunate Events books. Some of them are too long or difficult for Jackson right now, but I know he’ll love reading them as he gets older, so I held onto them.
– I didn’t, however, hold on to all of the books we had that are “too old” for him. I have always held on to them just so we would have books that he could read as he gets older, but I had the realization during this exercise that he’s probably going to want to have his own books to make memories with – not mine. Yes, it will mean spending more money down the road as he starts to need new books, but I’m always willing to spend a little money on reading!
– Every last copy of Alice in Wonderland that I own sparks absolute joy in my soul. I couldn’t bear to get rid of a single copy – I have 7. Yes, I can acknowledge that it’s a little crazy. I don’t mind being crazy.
– I hold very little attachments to books for myself. I got rid of basically every book I own except for a few design/coffee table books, my first edition copy of The Shining, and a book of sonnets by Pablo Neruda that I’ve had since college. That’s it! I’m not big on re-reading books, and I stick almost exclusively to Kindle books these days anyway.
– We had way (way, way, way) more books than we needed! Even after clearing out all of the books, Jackson still has almost three full shelves of books in his room, plus a few in his basket downstairs. I think that’s more than enough books for a two year old, no?
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I’m so glad I decided to take the time and clear out our books, even though I originally didn’t think I needed to. It’s so much easier to find books that we want to read with Jackson before bed each night, and I’m starting to feel like I’m actually going to make some serious progress throughout this little challenge!
Do you keep a lot of books in your home?
Psst: You can still get the KonMari method checklist I created to go through this little challenge! Just sign up for my newsletter and a link will be automatically sent to you when you confirm your subscription!