Last week was clothing, this week I continued on my KonMari mission and tackled what I thought was going to be one of the hardest challenges: books. I set out with the mindeset of “I love books and don’t want to part with any of them” but weirdly, this was, pretty much, a doddle!
KonMari recommends, as always, to take all books and put in a pile on the floor to start with, then sort into categories (as per the list in the picture above) then begin the discarding, based on what brings you joy. She also recommends NOT reading any of the books as you discard so that your decision is not swayed. If there are any books in the pile that have never been read – they are never going to be read; the time for reading them has passed.
Having read the book and taken notes on this stage, I decided to banjo the recommendation and “Lissa” it instead of “KonMari-ing” it.
Starting with Magazines – the easiest choice. I have an addiction to home interiors magazine. It is not as bad as it used to be. There were years where I would spend upwards of £15 every month on these glossy mags of gorgeous (and sometimes, lets be honest, rather f-ugly) homes and decorating inspiration. This compulsion to buy these mags continued even with the advent of Pinterest. I have however paired it back some what to just 1 or 2 magazines a month, one of which is a subscription that I got as a gift last Christmas. So, to the magazine rack – I have a side table/magazine rack literally overflowing with mags. I piled them, then put them in a couple of shopping bags for ease, picked them up, and went straight out to the recycling bin and dumped them. (there is a reason for my ruthlessness and will come to that in dues course). Magazines= Done!
Now the mag rack holds only my planner and the address book
Next, was Folders. I have another strange addiction : cutting up magazines and storing all the clippings in various folders. I have lever arch binders filled (the poly pockets inside actually bulging and bursting) with recipes, crafting ideas and projects, interiors and decorating ideas (2 lever-arch folders, the first one started when I bought my first flat in 2001), holistic and alternative medicine and health (yep, bought those magazines too), gardening, green and eco lifestyle, and other various random pieces of eclectic paper crap. These were squashed into one of the cupboards in my sideboard. Fitted in any which way. It was essentially Jenga and booby trapped.
The reason I chucked all the magazines earlier, was because I had amassed this collection of clippings over more than a decade and I can’t tell you when I last looked at ANY of them!
I took a deep breath and began the cull. Most of it went in the recycling. I kept the gardening folder, the recipe one and a couple of the herbal remedies (although to be honest I am not 100% sure why, being as all the info is widely available on the internet). This is against the KonMari approach, but, damn it, they brought me joy when I held them, so holding on to them I am. I now have a ring binder and 3 leaver arch binders empty, but I am keeping them too – I have not yet reached the Stationery section of the de-clutter, so it would be rude to get rid. PLUS they bring me joy – I love stationery (and 2 of the binders came from my old work and are really sturdy and good quality with clear pouches on the front to decorate them… oh and FYI I didn’t steal them, they contained obsolete info and we were told to chuck them, as was the way of the business. There was no way I was chucking perfectly good binders)
Some of the papers that were put out to recycling. The cupboard is now empty and the shelf put back in place. Not sure what to keep in here now…
Lastly it was the turn of Books. The hardest section. Apart from loving books, the reason I thought this was going to be so difficult was because Hubby and I had a MASSIVE cull of our book collection before (A) arrived 6.5 years ago. What is now (A)’s room was essentially a library, wall to wall Billy bookcases from Ikea. The majority faced a carboot sale end to their life with us. Since then we have built up our collection again, and culled again (not the same size as Pre(A) but still a fair amount. So the books I had left I thought they were going to be with us forever. Not so!
It took all of 20 minutes to decided what to keep and what to discard. I did not split is down into fiction / non fiction / cook books etc. I went along the shelves and removed each book, either putting it back or putting it in a pile. I ended up with discarding half!! I also disobeyed KonMari and started flicking through the recipe books – I know have a number of photos on my phone of recipes that we enjoyed but not enough in the books to justify keeping the whole book.
Faced with the discard pile, I was unsure what to do with them, so naturally, I took to social media for advice. The books in good condition are headed to the library to be donated there and some are going to our home ed club this week as we are having a swap shop (the remaining stuff is to be donated to local charity shops). That has taken care of all the books that no longer bring me joy, will never be read (just to say here, there are still some books I have held onto because I haven’t read them yet but I will read them. I will!) or will never be read again.
The green crate of books are my books from my childhood. They are in no way fit to be donated to charity shop / library/ sold for thousands in ebay, such was my penchant for writing my name (and sometimes address) on the insides in blue felt tip, or simply colouring in and doodling and completing the puzzle pages in the annuals. They are also incredibly tatty and torn. It was suggested to me to set the books free. I LOVED this idea. So yesterday at the woods, the kids were amazed to find a random Enid Blyton Famous Five book hidden in a tree. There was a message inside too :
Who could have left this…..and were there any more??? As it happened, there were another 7 books hidden around the woods which had the kids excited and intrigued as to who had left them and where they would find the next one. Such a simple yet fantastic idea. I am going to do the same with the other books and leave them in random places to be found. Spreading a little joy. Who wouldn’t like a free book?
The title of today’s post is “almost complete” and this is because I have not yet finished the stage fully. The discard has been dealt with, but I have yet decided where to put the books I am keeping. Obviously on the book case but I want to re-jig it. I have only cut my books, not touched Hubby’s or (A)’s. Also I need to decide on the place to home the 2 folders I kept. It will happen I think, once I get rid of more stuff and therefore have more options available as to where to keep the items that are staying, if that makes sense?
This time I am going ahead to Stage 3 before 100% completing Stage 2, but I can live with that. Stage 3 is Paperwork – my head hurts already at the thought, but it is one of the most neglected areas in my home – I hate dealing with financial paperwork. To prove how awful I am with paperwork, when I was an HR Manager and moving to a new store, my previous boss informed my new boss “She’s fantastic with people, shite with paperwork”. I have a feeling the shredder may need replacing after this week…