Have you guys heard of the KonMari method?
It’s essentially just a method for decluttering, which doesn’t sound too exciting. But there’s something revolutionary about it. Marie Kondo doesn’t believe in storage solutions, she believes in only keeping those things that bring you joy. In the proscess, a lot of people mention feeling unburndened, both physically and spiritually. Because you have to ask yourself tough questions, like why am I keeping this? Can I let go? How will it feel to let this go?
I started my KonMari journey a month or so ago.
I was ecstatic. I’ve been swimming in junk that I don’t want, and I’m tired of being burdened with materialism. I was ready to purge, ready to dump my extraneous things and go. I could envision my life free of clutter: no more procrastinating by cleaning, no more junk drawers, no more messy desks! I was stoked.
Getting through the clothes was easy. I had already done a small clothing purge a few months before, this was just a matter of getting rid of the rest that didn’t serve me. A few days and garbage bags later, my wardrobe was slimmed down, and picking out outfits is super quick and never causes anxiety. This was easy, I thought. Decluttering my apartment would be a breeze, I would be done in a month, tops!
But the next step was books. And I stalled. Hard.
I’ve been procrastinating on the books for over a month now. I can’t bring myself to take them all out of the shelf, decide which to keep and which to let go of. It’s not that I have many books; in fact, it’s the opposite. It’s the books that I’ve lost that are stuck. In sorting what I have, I have to remember what I lost.
Most, if not all, of the books of my childhoood and teenage years are lost to me. I don’t think there’s any way I’ll see them again. It’s that hole, that loss, that prevents me from looking through what I have now.
It’s all seven Harry Potter books, all bulky, hardcover tomes, except the first. My mother made me get the first, and I fought, hard, against it. After I read it, I got every single sequel the day it was released in the US. My dad worked at a store that sold them, so he would bring them home to me after he got off work. I remember one year, my parents were going to give the newest volume to my brother, instead of me, and let him read it first. Hoo boy, was I mad. Let’s just say they changed their minds real quick.
It’s The Chronicles of Narnia and His Dark Materials, each single-volume editions, sitting side-by-side on a shelf. I recognized and reveled in the irony. I cherished them equally, and read them both again and again.
It’s Watchmen, the last gift my high school boyfriend gave me before we broke up. It’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, which I’ve read through enough that I still have some of the poems memorized. It’s the Magic Schoolbus books, the ones that came out before the show.
They’re all gone.
Eventually, though, I pushed through this hesitation and sorrow, and took my books out of my bookshelf, all that I have left now.
Seeing them in a pile, I have more than I expected. That lifted my spirits a bit. I began to pick them up one by one, asking myself if they sparked joy, thanking those that didn’t. I was surprised by how many of them still make me happy. My old Malcolm Gladwell books, that my grandpa borrowed from me once and when he gave them back, they reeked of cigarettes for months. A Song of Ice and Fire, my most recent fantasy series foray. Ender’s Game. Catch 22. Fahrenheit 451.
I piled up the onces that I was ready to get rid of. It wasn’t a huge pile.
I thanked them and let them go. Some I recycled, some I donated.
The rest, I put back on my bookshelf, in surprisingly neat rows.
Next up: Papers! Bring it on. 😉