|The book pile on my bed|
I am so in love with this book. She completely rewrites the concept of home organization and I completely agree with her. The basic concept is that first you discard and then you organize, but it is much more than that. She wraps psychology and spirituality inside her advice that works, at least for me, on a level that I would have never considered. Unlike the way I typically reorganize by going room by room, she recommends by category. Not only that, but she insists that you take everything in that category and dump it in the middle of the room, and then pick up one piece one by one and ask yourself: Does this spark joy? The whole point is to surround yourself only with those things you love to bring peace and joy to your home. The amount of items each person keeps will vary--she actually describes a "click" moment when you realize you are at the level of possessions that works best for you.
I'm not going to attempt to sum up the book anymore than that because it is something that should be read and not told. After I finished reading, I knew I had to try it out immediately. I started with my clothes, as she recommends, and dumped every item, from head scarves to socks, on the bed one afternoon. I went through each piece, one by one, and asked if it brought me joy. I did not consider where I got it or from who. I only questioned whether it made me happy, felt for the answer, then put the piece in the keep or the donate pile.
I eliminated half my clothes in this manner and was so startled by the effect it had on me. I have drawers I can open, a closet I can see into, and each time I pick out an outfit, I am so happy to see clothing I enjoy wearing. I'm having fun creating new combinations. Since I have much less clothing, I'll have to keep up with laundry more often, but when I do laundry, I'll have much less to wash, dry, fold, and put away. Joy!
It was also a relief to let go of clothing that no longer fit, but I was keeping for some reason or another--either because of who gave it to me or some memory attached to the piece. Letting those go freed me to look consider what I wanted to wear now, not what I use to wear or what others thought I might want to wear.
This was no true hardship though, because I've never been happy with my wardrobe. I was hoping that after I finished, I'd be more content, but I'm so much more than that: I'm thrilled! Uplifted! And this was just with my clothes, which I've never felt a true personal attachment with. So I knew I had to continue. I moved on to the next item on her list: books.
I am a bibliophile. I love books. I love collecting books. I love reading books. I love writing about books. I have several bookshelves filled with books, some of which I've had for almost forty years.
What I don't have is space. Or the ability to find a book I want. Or the time to keep up with all these books. And after reading Ms. Kondo's book, I realized that just because I enjoyed a book, I don't have to keep it. It's such a simple concept, but one I've never allowed myself to consider. I love books, so I should be surrounded by books, right? Except that most of these books I'll never read again, I'll never even open again, and some of them I've never opened for a first time. I have books to have books, but out of those books, I couldn't say which I truly loved. There were just too many.
What I realized was that the books I've read and enjoyed are inside me already; they shaped me at that moment when they entered my life and I paused to read them. They did what they needed to do then, and now it would be best to let them go and open myself to the possibility of new reading experiences. Those books I choose to keep should be those that truly give me joy to look upon, not for any memory attached to the book, such as where I got it or from who, but joy from the book itself.
I was certain this would be a challenge and I decided to start easy. And I had way too many books to pile in any one place as she recommends. So first I sorted at each bookshelf. I pulled out everything that I felt nothing for, bagged them up, and took them to our local library donation site. When I was finished, I had cut my library in half.
|Books I donated from the first pass through the bookshelves, which filled a box, a laundry basket, and seven paper grocery bags.|
Now I was ready to pile all the books onto my bed. One by one, I held each book, not opening it, looking the cover and giving myself a moment, and only a moment, to feel whatever I would feel about it. For 90% of my books, I felt very little. Some I couldn't remember reading. Some I'd never read and knew I never would. I let those go. A couple I had to question and found that usually they were associated with a memory of a person or event, but the book itself wasn't inspiring the feeling. I let those go. And every now and then, I'd pick up a book and couldn't help but to grin and giggle over the sheer pleasure of holding that one book. Those few books stayed.
These are being donated:
|Six more paper grocery bags full, plus a box.|
These are what remain:
Not even a full bookcase of books, but each one of them I love and adore and most of them I will reread again and again.
I knew I'd be happy to have the extra space in the house, but what I didn't expect was the weight that left me when I let go of the books that I'd been "meaning" to read. I had no idea how unconsciously anxious and guilty I was to own books I'd not yet read until those books were gone. I feel such peacefulness when looking at my books now, not overwhelmed by the number of volumes or the need to read those I'd not yet gotten to, or use those I'd been holding onto just in case I needed to research something. The few books that I choose to keep that I haven't yet read are only a handful of titles that I just received--literally, I just got them last week. I'm looking forward to enjoying them and just as much looking forward to letting them go afterwards, and, if for some reason I don't get around to reading them within the next month or two, I'll let them go, too.
I suspect that in time, some of the books I've kept I will choose to let go and new ones will take their place. But at the moment, I am certain that I will never have the sheer number of books that I had. And if I find that I miss one that I let go, there is always the internet to find a new copy.
Best of all, my daughter was so inspired by what I was doing, she decided to do the same. We piled all her books onto my bed--and she nearly filled my bed with her books--and she sorted them ruthlessly. She'd outgrown most of her books a few years ago, but we had both held onto them for one reason or another. Now her bookshelf truly reflects who she is today. And yes, she's gone to a single bookshelf instead of two packed shelves and the headboard of her bed packed full and a couple piles elsewhere in the house.
|Books my daughter will donate to her school library and teachers|