I had tried in the past to sort out my books.
I’d even written blog posts about it – yet failed to follow my own advice. This meant that Maria Kondo’s section on getting rid of books, filled me with excitement and the fervent belief
that this time I was going to do it!
I booked a day off work and decided to tackle in one go. The first step was to take out all the books from my IKEA unit and put them on the floor. This proved rather difficult as there were so many. The front row of books hid another secret row of books behind it. To make matters worse, my bookcase was at the bottom of the stairs by the front door and my husbands bike was resting on it! That bike had to be lugged up the first flight of stairs before I could even begin. Argh!
Pretty soon there were books everywhere and I had to pile them up the stairs as they completely covered the floor. Seeing how many I had actually owned was shocking. The space looked like it belonged to a hoarder and that hoarder was me!
I followed the KonMari process as described, taking each book in my had and weeded out the ones that didn’t ‘spark joy.’. This left me with about 100 books left but as I scan the shelves today, I can still see candidates for a second purge.
In the process I found books I had never even read. I had to acknowledge that one of the problems had was the enjoyment I got from going to my local library and checking out five or six books at a time. Yet at home I had my own library full of unread books. This was crazy and with the books I found that still had lots of volumes that had the potential to ‘spark joy’. I vowed to start taking them on my commute to work and I now had a plan that would enable me to finally get round to reading them.
Sorting out my books had a strange affect on me. The interests and passions I had enjoyed before I had my daughter, now seemed less important to me. My love of all things ghostly had faded and I had become more cynical about psychics and their claims. I had less time to cook, although I got rid of less cookery books than I expected ( so there was still hope I wouldn’t survive on ready meals for ever.) I no longer had the time to watch or read about old movies and as for all those gardening books – well the garden spoke for itself! The only things that blossomed in my garden were weeds and roots.
The actual process was also physically exhausting too. Four trips to the charity shop lifting four bags of heavy books at a time. It felt like my arms would stretch until my knuckles scraped on the ground. Worst of all, although there was definitely more space, it didn’t actually look like I’d got rid of that many books! Yet the final total was 142! Amazing! There were still a large number of books remaining, but at least now the space was clean and uncluttered.
In her book, Maria talks about her clients having a physical reaction to clutter, but my reaction was emotional. First I started feeling really anxious and worrying about dying and what would happen to my daughter – completely irrational. Then three days later I had a complete emotional breakdown. One of those crying episodes that luckily happens only very rarely! Everything that happened last year, my miscarriage, my dad’s death, my concerns about my mother, all the fears, worries and sadness came out in one go. And then I felt better. Had the process of getting rid of so many books (and the associations that went with them) helped me release all those trapped emotions? Maybe. But I certainly felt much better for it.