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I’m on my technical Day 4 of the KonMari Method. Mother of three, expectant of one, this is not the sort of addiction I should be getting into. But here we are. I shutter to tell my husband of the physical toll. So if you’re pregnant, just hold onto that book till the baby’s born and you actually can’t move. Pain is your body’s way of telling you to stop. Dopamine is your brain’s way of saying, don’t ever stop.

I have seven garbage bags of clothes for the future yard sale. My husband has consented to storing them in the attic. Four are my clothes, one is boy clothes, two are girl clothes. Since I started reading the book, I waited in anticipation of Category #2: books.

Books have ever been a problem. My father cherished books. I never saw him read them for leisure, but he taught me that sense that books are precious. They made sure I had many books. I recall exploring the Bible for the first time as it had always sat my shelves. I giggled at a leather bound antique book on the human body in my father’s collection. He and I took trips to the local used bookstore. He delighted in buying me books and I delighted in the escape they provided during adolescence.

Thus I owned many books. Naturally they had to go with me. It’s cute in Rory’s room on the Gilmore Girls but not so quite when your husband has to carry them in boxes at least every two years. Here are some storage solutions over time.

IMG_1592In Virginia, using a Target bookshelf and a plastic one from home, stacked on a filing cabinet since there was too much furniture.

IMG_1597Moving to the country in California, we used my father’s double sided bookcase as a room divider to create an office for my husband. It was nearly full.

IMG_3676Before we moved again, I purged and discarded a substantial number of books.

We could not fit the double sided bookshelf in our new and current home so they books were spread all over the house. In our office remodel we created a library wall using brackets and reclaimed wood. A dream come true but some times it seemed so very full, I wondered how attractive it really was.

We created a pallet bookshelf for in-use books in the kid’s room.

IMG_6512I’ve thought about book organization much more than clothing organization, thus my excitement. Kondo directs the reader to, like everything else, only keep that which gives you a thrill. To be grateful for the books that have lived out their time in your life and send them on their way. Because I believe in the value of books, this resonates with me. She tells us to get realistic, if we haven’t read it, we won’t read it again. I keep books for reference and that has been useful, but some of them I have not referenced in years. I can let them go.

To fully follow the KonMari Method, you bring all your books to the floor. I am unwilling to do this. So I stood on a comfortable step ladder and held each book, asking if it sparks joy. I was surprised at the result. Oliver Twist, no. Great Expectations, yes (really?). A Tale of Two Cities, yes (that surprises me). I thought I’d discard all my Jane Austen books but Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park and Persuasion tickled my joy. I accepted that if I ever teach courses in psychology, I can just find a new textbook because most Ethics textbooks for psychology are the same. I left my husband’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Zelda books alone because they give him joy. I still need to ask him about his Calligraphy book.

We recycled children’s books that were torn up and I put into the discard box the books I deeply disliked. So on and so on. My eldest daughter helped me. My son whined and tried to occupy himself otherwise. My youngest (a year and a half)  attached to John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism the rest of the day, which was pretty funny. As long as it’s bringing pleasure and not harming anyone, I guess that’s okay.

IMG_7701  One overflowing, too heavy to carry box of books filled and the shelves now have breathing room. They look neater, more beautiful to me.

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I will take the box to the used book store and see what money we can get (for birthdays and Christmas presents) and then take the rest to the library. That last step makes it very easy for me to let them go. I know exactly where I can get them if I ever have the urge to read them again!

I have a few more to go through. I haven’t managed to bring everything to one place. There are some stray books in my room. And I didn’t realize she included magazines. I usually sort through those and take clippings, so that falls to the “papers” category.

Luckily, I can conquer that sitting down. Until then!

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