I have never viewed books as clutter. I never will view them as clutter.
However, I am a book hoarder.
Before starting this post, I had four lovely bookshelves stacked full of books. And I was planning a move. We’ll put it this way. I’m going from a four bedroom home to a 650 square foot apartment.
Crazy right? But that’s what happens when you move to an expensive city. Besides, why do two adults need four bedrooms? Seriously, we didn’t.
Basically, I had to get rid of some of those books. I didn’t want to move them all because they’re so heavy, and I didn’t have the space for four bookshelves. Anyway, I recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I started the process of Konmaring my house. Basically, I gathered everything of the same category in my home and put it into a pile. Categories included clothes, paperwork, books, sentimental items, etc. When you’re using the Konmari method, you’re supposed to hold each item. If it brings you joy, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you get rid of it. You’re also supposed to talk to your stuff, but I’m not about that.
I didn’t follow the Konmari method completely, especially when it came to books. Because is a book I haven’t read really going to spark joy? I don’t know because I haven’t read it. But I did use her strategies, and now I’m down to one bookshelf of books.
Essentially, I’ve changed my mindset.
Why am I holding on to books I like but don’t plan on rereading?
It’s because I viewed those books as an extension of myself. I didn’t keep them for a practical reason. I didn’t keep them because “they sparked joy”. I kept them because it showed what I read. To me, it told other people something about me. It was a status thing. Look at all these books I’ve read. I can’t be the only one who does this.
Why am I holding on to books I really don’t want to read?
Because I feel obligated to read books. For example, I was holding on to a copy of The Grapes of Wrath because it was a classic and I felt like I should read it. In fact, I tried to read it, but I found it incredibly boring. Every time I looked at the damn thing, I cringed.
I don’t want to cringe when I look at my personal library. I want to feel happy. So I got rid of it.
So basically, I’ve decided to let go of the books I hate. Those William Faulkner books I read in college? I HATED them. I’m not going to reread them, and it’s silly to keep it because it “makes me look sophisticated” or whatever. I’ve decided to let go of the books I don’t plan on rereading. Am I really going to save them for my future children? Honestly, they can go to library. Or if I want them later, I’ll replace them. No need to take them across the country.
And what about those books I think I might read? That book I’ve had for years and haven’t touched?
I read the book description, skimmed some reviews. If it still interested me, I kept it. If it didn’t, I let it go.
I thought that after all of this, I would miss my books. I thought I’d feel guilty. I thought I’d be missing a piece of myself. But honestly, I don’t. I feel relieved. I feel excited about reading again. I feel like my head is finally clear. And it’s so refreshing.
I think part of the reason I don’t feel guilt is I know that those books are going to someone who might enjoy them. Some went to my step sister. Some went to friends. But most of them went to the high school where I used to teach, to help build the library. And hopefully some kid will find a book they love.
Anyway, I’m interested to hear your thoughts. Do you hoard books? Have you tried to declutter? Think you might give it a shot? Let me know if the comments below!