In Marie Kondo's book on tidying, I was curious to see the link she made between decluttering and being clear about who you are and what you want. I wrote about decluttering generally in my blog post Spring- Time to Declutter and when you're considering what is next for you, one of the places you can look for inspiration is your bookcase.
When my mother downsized from our family home to an apartment, a whole load of childhood books I'd stored in the attic had to be sorted. Many weren't great for selling as I'd been playing 'schools' and 'libraries' and they had all sorts of stickers and tabs! I've kept a small selection to remind me of those magical stories.
I've also a couple of family gifts. The rest of my book collection I have now reviewed several times. The last time using the single question advised by Marie- Does this book spark joy? I have just moved my collection out from my office into the living room and they give a pretty accurate picture of me.
The picture your book shelves paint of you need some interpretation as the books relate to the past. For example, you could pick up that I'm interested in travel but the individual books are about places I've been rather than places I intend to go.
There are some notable exceptions as I have passed books that have been meaningful to me on to others (maybe they will return one day!) and, recently I have been ordering books on-line for the convenience of reading on the go.
As a result of this process I'm planning to order paper copies of those that have been important to me as I like the physical reminder my book collection gives. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying is one of them. Perhaps it is not surprising from my childhood treatment of books that I like using tabs & markers!
So what does your bookshelf say about you? How do you feel when you look at it? How does it reflect your life?
Is it crammed full, overflowing? More books than you could ever read or give attention to? If so, are you afraid of missing out, of lack? Can you trust more in your ability to source information in the moment, to tap into your innate wisdom?
Are there many books you have accepted as gifts? Can you accept their purpose as a gift has now been fulfilled and the giver would not want you to keep something that brings you no joy? Better to recycle them to a new more appreciative owner. Is this reflected in a pattern of people pleasing in your life? Does this still serve you?
Do your books generally reflect your interests, passions and desires or are they trying to create an image of someone you feel you should be or have been in the past?
Time to let go and move on!
Marie Kondo recommends....
- emptying all of your book shelves
- handling each book, one by one, without reading them
- asking yourself 'does this spark joy?'
- and immediately decide which to keep and which to discard.
I usually give another option of a 'not sure' box. Load up all your 'not sure' books and put them out of the way for a defined amount of time, say a month. If you find you made a mistake and you really need that book, get it out. At the end of the month take the box with the remaining books to charity without a second review.
I'd love to hear your experience of book decluttering and what you've learnt in the process. There's space for your comments below and to book a Free Coaching Session to discuss the way forward for you, visit my scheduling page