Books Magazine

Maybe Tidying up Can Be Life-changing?

By Justwrite @must_write

Maybe tidying up can be life-changing?Okay, so as a preface to this post I just want to let you know that I am an extreme bibliophile. I LOVE books, I LOVE reading, and I have a little hoarding problem when it comes to those fabulous pages covered in a combination of the same 26 letters. Though, according to someone - I'm not sure who, I saw it on Facebook- "It's not hoarding if it's books."
A few months ago a work colleague mentioned a book on tidying. She told me some silly anecdotes about socks, but also that she had tidied her home and managed to throw out a bunch of previously unthrowoutable stuff. We'd had many previous discussions on clutter and organisation, as I had been somewhat obsessed by the topic and willing to talk the ear off anyone nearby. My colleague was a self-confessed hoarder, or hangeroner of miscellany over her lifetime. I was impressed when she shared her victory over her possessions and she seemed suitably proud of herself.
Fast forward several months to a sudden desire to use the free eaudiobooks available through the library I work in and the decision to take a look - listen - to Marie Kondo's little book on the life-changing magic of tidying up. Yes, I was to discover that she did have a rather strange relationship with her socks, but underlying that was the message, repeated often with the phrase - does it spark joy, that her technique was about focussing on what you want to keep rather than what you want to let go. And that kind of made sense to me. It also seemed important to do this 'tidying' in a certain order and to touch every item as you evaluated it.
I've never been a clothes horse or even a particularly girly girl, so the clothing category was already fairly light on, but having gained a few kilos of late, I managed to find two big bags of clothes that didn't 'spark joy' so to speak.
Books was the second category, and anyone who knows me well would have bet money on me not being able to let go of more than a handful of books, if that, but it turns out they would've done their money. I took my books, one category or genre at a time, from the bookshelves and piled them on the floor. I have near enough to seven floor to ceiling bookshelves and at last count over 1000 books.
The moment of truth. 

I didn't think too hard or too long, just held each one and decided if it 'sparked joy'. For me, this boiled down to, is it signed - my VIP books, is it by a favorite author, is it part of a set and if I hadn't read it yet, was I likely to? It was surprisingly easy. The more books I moved to the 'out you go' pile, the more space I had on the shelves to arrange my special books. The more I threw out, the more excited I became. I have never, in my life been physically, mentally, or emotionally able to part with my books. Though not biblical, this was a minor miracle.
I have high hopes now for 'tidying' the rest of my possessions with the same success. This is 'extreme' tidying, a ruthlessness I've never managed in the past, and yet it doesn't feel that way. I feel no loss. No guilt. No scarcity.

I simply feel lighter.

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