Sunday Slowdown: Shelf Control–or, (Some of) Everything Must Go

sunday slowdown 3Rs Blog June 14 2015
I feel like I don’t need to read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for myself–I’ve come across so many people who have read it and shared what they got from it that it’s been distilled pretty well, and I think there’s been some osmosis. And what I’ve absorbed has me pretty certain that I’m not about to go all-out on the KonMari Method, but I can see some merit in the concept.

I can’t really find much to object to in the principle of holding on to only the possessions that “bring you joy,” can you? Living your life surrounded only by things you truly love sounds ideal…but many things that sound ideal don’t quite work out that way in the real world.

That said, I did my most recent closet-cleaning a few months ago with KonMari in mind; I got rid of three bags of clothes, and most of what I kept has actually stayed organized. I’d do it again…although if I understand correctly, I wouldn’t have to if I’d done it properly and by the book (pun definitely intended) the first time. (That’s what I mean about not going all-out, I suppose.)

bookshelves August 2013 3Rs Blog
See? Spaces!

It’s the books that are keeping this on my mind. Too many of the ones on my shelves have been unread for too long, and that is NOT bringing me joy. I’m coming around to the idea that this could be the summer of cutting my bookish losses, admitting that a lot of my TBR is truly WNR (Will Never Read), and packing them up for the book drive.

I did a big book purge two years ago, before we moved into this house and put in the wall of bookshelves. Those shelves had spaces then. They really don’t now. I want them back.

bookshelves June 2015 3Rs Blog
It’s all too much.

It’s not just the physical space considerations, though–it’s also the psychic ones. It’s feeling overwhelmed by the choices at hand (which also confirms that my fear of running out of things to read truly is a thing of the past). It’s feeling guilty about reading the newest books that come in while so many have been waiting years for their turn. It’s feeling frustrated that I don’t even look at the books on those shelves for days–weeks–at a time, which is why the idea of a free-range-reading summer seems so appealing. These feelings all mingle with the reluctance to do all of the “un-cataloging” in LibraryThing that really should be part of any serious book-purge project I do, but I think they’re starting to pull ahead of it.

I’ll never winnow down to the 100 books or less that Kondo supposedly says are the most anyone needs, though, and I don’t even want to–that’s just crazy talk, and I’m fine if the number that’s left is still much higher than that. I’m not even considering getting rid of my “keeper” books, since I’ve already decided after reading them that they were sources of joy. What I’d like to be left with are the books that I’m still excited that I want to read, and that’s more important to me than the number.

Even after our Seattle trip, I’ve got plenty of available vacation time (twelve years in the same job can do that for you). I’m asking for a week off later this summer, and I’m going to use it to clear off my bookshelves. Maybe I’ll even spend some of it reading. I’ll keep you posted.

I have questions!


How do you keep your books from taking over your life? (“I get them all from the library” is a valid strategy, but honestly, I’m not going to try that one.) What’s worked for you? Have you tried the KonMari method?


And…what are you reading this weekend?

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,402 other subscribers