Yes, I used The KonMari Method on my books.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about then let me start with introducing Marie Kondo. She is a tidying expert, bestselling author and star of Netflix’s hit show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo”. I did not know anything about her until “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” dropped on Netflix and I decided to watch it. From there I read two of her books, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story* and learned all about The KonMari Method™
Most tidying methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever.
The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.
I’ll go through my thoughts in regard to The KonMari Method™ as a whole a little later. The reason for this blog post is this quote by Mari Kondo went viral in bookland:
“Ideally, keep less than 30 books”.
Probably similar to what my social media feed looked like. Basically NOPE.
Here’s the thing The KonMari Method™ main message is “Keep only those things that speak to the heart” so if you love books then it overrules the 30 recommendation. Most book bloggers I know are passionate about their collections. Those books mean a lot to them. They love books in a way that a lot of other people don’t.
BUT I did KonMari my books. Because as passionate as I am about books I think it’s too easy to hoard. There are (now were) over 2500 books in my home – so many of them are unread. Lost because I don’t know what I have anymore. And new books arrive all the time.
So I went through them. Slowly. Cataloging.
- I “let go” books I’d read but didn’t feel I would read again.
- I “let go” unread books that I knew would be unread forevermore.
- I “let go” unsolicited review copies that I’d piled up because I might get around to it, but really, they just weren’t my thing.
- I “let go” books I’d bought because everyone was talking about them, that must read book. Yet for me these hype books rarely work out
- I “let go” books were I couldn’t remember why I had them
(I found new homes for all the books. From friends and donating for fundraising.)
The result is strange to explain. My books can breathe. There is space (not much) on the shelves. The books are no longer crammed so tightly that you can’t get one out without moving all the others. It makes things feel calmer.
I know my books better.
I’ve found plenty of books I need to read.
I look at them differently.
I’m a Book Blogger and I KonMari’d my books and it worked.
* I’d recommend the Manga if you want to read about The KonMari Method for yourself.
The KonMari Method as whole:
I do not wholeheartedly embrace this approach to decluttering. The insistence for not diverting from Marie Kondo method or adapting it to suit is a problem. It excludes those of us who physically can’t move everything into a single pile and sort it.
I have used Marie Kondo’s method for my clothes (by breaking the rules and adapting it) and this has turned out to be a positive. The folding does take time but once you become used to it is worth it.
Other categories/areas of my home have also benefited. There is a better order in my kitchen and boxes in drawers and cupboards is useful.
There are helpful things in The KonMari Method and I can see how people benefit. My problem is that it’s not designed to work for people like me, who physically can’t move things into piles as instructed. I could only work through one drawer of clothes at a time. Or one bookshelf. There is an insistence in the books that this is wrong, and people are not to adapt The KonMari Method, this is exasperating.
Personally, I am happy using “Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy” as a guide, along with a practical approach of what you are required to have regardless of whether it sparks joy.