Decluttering Books with the KonMari Method
Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying and Spark Joy, suggest that books should be the second category you declutter using the KonMari method. Check out this post if you missed the first category – clothes.
I’m a bit weird with books. I love a good book, you know the one that you can barely put down and stay up till the wee hours of the morning reading? I find that they’re hard to come by though. A lot of the time I will get partway through a book and then get frustrated with a plothole or un-original storyline (crazy, jealous, long-lost twin is completely overdone! I get so annoyed when a good plot in a book or show is ruined by this. Let me know if this gets on your nerves too.)
Anyway, I love books but have very few that I end up hanging on to.
Here’s how to declutter your books using the KonMari method, in just 5 simple steps.
#1 – Create a designated space to work in
Just like with clothes I used my bed. If you have a lot of books you might need a bigger area or even multiple areas. Clear the space you decided on and give it a quick clean or hoover (vacuum) if necessary.
#2 – Gather all your books to the space
Yes, all of them. I know that if you have a ton of books this might seem like too much work, but nobody said this was going to be easy. You’ll feel better and lighter in the end.
If you feel like you have too many books to get out all at once then you can separate them. Ms Kondo suggests 4 subcategories for books:
- General (books you read for pleasure)
- Practical (references, cookbooks, etc)
- Visual (photograph collections, etc)
She also suggests that if you have a large series of books or magazines then these should be made into their own sub-category.
#3 – Focus on what to keep. What sparks joy for you?
Take each book in your hand and ask yourself if this book brings you joy.
“When dealing with series, it isn’t necessary to hold each one in your hands. You can check whether or not they spark joy by piling the whole series together and putting your arms around the pile as though hugging it, or by just taking the top volume in your hands” – Marie Kondo, Spark Joy, page 127
Focus on what you’re keeping. Which ones are your favourites? What do you read time and time again?
If you’ve had a book for a long time with the intention of reading it but never have, you probably won’t get round to it. It’s ok to let it go. If you regret it then you can buy it or borrow it in the future, and actually read it next time.
Do not start reading the books as you’re going through them. You don’t want to get distracted and be doing this for hours longer than you need too.
As you go through your books you only need to separate them into 3 piles: ones to keep (that spark joy), ones to discard/donate, ones that you’ve borrowed that you’re going to return.
#4 – Put your books away
If your books were all over the place before, this is a good opportunity to store them all together (with the exception of cooking books or other books that need to be stored in a specific area.) At this point, Marie suggests taking a step back and looking at the titles of the books you’ve decided to keep. Some of them may not actually fit in with the lifestyle you want to create, like “if you want to live a joyful life but own a lot of novels with tragic titles”.
Remember, all storage at this stage is temporary. If it works well then great, but if you’re not happy with where they are now just know that you can find a better place for them later.
#5 – Box up your remaining books
Put the books that you need to return in one box, and ones you’re discarding in another (add more boxes where needed). Label these boxes so you don’t accidentally donate the books your friend or library lent you!
Put your return books either in your car or near your door, so the next time you go out you can give them back.
Your donate books can either be put in the car or by the door to take to the charity shop or anywhere else you can donate, or you might want to take pictures of them and pop them up for sale.
TIP: Don’t forget your ebooks! While you can’t hold them or put them on the floor, you can still decide whether or not they spark joy, and if you’re really ever going to read the ones you said you would many moons ago.
And you’re done!
If you haven’t read Marie’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying yet I highly recommend you do so. Even if some of her methods seem a bit strange to you (like talking to your belongings), it’s worth the read to get a firm grasp on the KonMari method. If you’re trying to save money check if your local library has any copies.
Other posts you might be interested in:
Are you doing or have you completed the KonMari method? Let me know, I’d love to hear your life-changing story!