While reading the excerpts from Marie Kondo’s book on tidying, I found myself quite excited by the idea of trying some of the tidying processes she illustrates throughout her book. This kind of surprised me as successfully cleaning out my belongings is something that I definitely struggle with as I am an avid collector of various objects–and the memories associated. Because of this, I decided to watch a few episodes of her show on Netflix as well to prepare me and visually reinforce how she advises the tidying to be done.
I chose to ‘tidy’ my books as I thought it would be the most effective since I had recently gone through my clothes, though not using the KonMarie method. She was definitely right in that just the process of taking out all of the items in that category that you own and piling them in one room puts it into perspective how many you actually have. I discovered that all together I personally had 267 books in my house. Though there were many and it was a bit overwhelming, I decided not to separate them into subcategories as I wanted the process to be fresh for each book, without sorting them first. However, I did know right away that I wanted to keep all of the books that I deem part of my actual collection–which is about 25 books all printed before 1930. I know that these ‘spark joy’ for me as I have specifically bought or received them as part of my collection. Though these are not average books, I used my reaction and feeling towards these as a guide for the rest of the process. I was surprised at the difference it made to hold each book in my hands as she advised. I found that books that I had thought would be keepers soon became part of the discard pile.
After completing the KonMarie method with my books, I was happily surprised to have 101 books in my discard pile. However, this still leaves me with 166 books, ranging from those in my antique collection, childhood favorites I cannot yet part with, and some of my favorites from the past couple of years. I did feel joy in both my ‘keep’ pile as well as my ability to consolidate my memories from my many childhood phases reflected in my books by just keeping a few from each. In this way this process was emotional, looking back through my many different interests growing up and the memories that came with these phases. I was also surprised at how much I had forgotten about my younger self, and even became frustrated when I came across a title that I knew was at one point one of my all time favorites but could not remember a single detail about the story. However, thankfully, I also discovered that I had perhaps put too much emotional attachment in my books to provide reminders of myself when in reality I can do without them.
In the end, I am not sure Marie Kondo would be completely satisfied with my results, as I found I was not able to completely stick to some of her rules, such as getting of books that have sat unread or favorites that I know I will not read again. However, I am satisfied with my results as I am definitely more happy with my collection as a whole and what I learned about my habit of collecting memories. I know that this was a positive experience for me and I am excited to continue this method to ‘tidy’ my other overflowing collections and personal items, as well as possibly revisit this collection again in the future to do further ‘tidying.’