Tuesday, July 12, 2016

KonMari - The 'wait' of books weighing me down

It is now Tuesday, and I am finished with my bedroom books, finally! I have pared down from 436 books to about 45 books(!) plus a stack of adult coloring books. Before we get there, I want to walk through the process for me.

In the last blog you saw me in my home-cleaning mode: overwhelmed and dusty.

I dumped the contents of my bookcase, the piles off my dresser, the stack that was in my closet from my thesis research, the scattered books I had stored in the secretary downstairs. I can't believe how many there were.

I had so many other things squeezed in these books: notes, journals, photos, handouts, magazines, manuals, audio book CDs, a few DVDs for teaching, 2 more B&N gift cards, a stock lens for my DSLR, and what can best be described as 'in-case-I-need-it' paperwork. 

I could not organize into the categories Marie Kondo suggests. She thinks one can move general books and text books, reference books and fiction, into piles and work trough them in categories. I could not because I had so much and the space to do this is limited. I specifically moved them onto the bed because I would be forced to go through them all in one go. I would need a spot to sleep afterall. 

In the end, I was able to remove the books that I already read or would never read again. I let go of every single teaching textbook I ever owned. This was easy because I know that things change. It was difficult to say goodbye to my Donald Murray and Peter Elbow books, though in going through this process, I realize I lent my best of these to someone in grad school and I never got them back! I know their names, and I have assimilated their content. I doubt I will need their books in my immediate future, and the library is the best place to find these standard text in the future.

I am less sure of the pile of magazines I have put in the pile. I subscribed to Whiskey Advocate and Imbibe and saved them all. I saved a select number of Wired that I grab when we go away so I have something to read. I have not read them all and that dense pile on the far left is what remains. Kondo writes that the time to read a book or magazine is when it comes to you the first time. The immediacy of the message it holds is within and when you store it for later, it looses its value. I am not sure I buy into this. I will let them all go after an afternoon flipping through them one last time.

My bookshelf can breathe now.  The second from the bottom shelf contains only coloring books and journals and the bottom, self-help Tony Robbins and reference.

The energy within these books is for someone else now. I have gained what info I can from them.Someone else needs them I am almost positive. It is kind of awesome that I have been able to relive my initial contact and remember the content in each book as I let it go. I only saved those that have brought me joy and those that I still turn too. If I didn't read it yet, there must be a reason.

I have the pile of books lent to me that I need to return. People need to install GPS on their books if they want them back apparently!

I may keep Rick's Douglas Adams because it still is joyful. The Catching Fire audio book needs to be returned to the library (it is about 3 years overdue!). The Mammoth Hunters is book three of a set that needs a read before I return it to Billie. The Help was brilliant, but I have held it for over 2 years from Noreen. The fertility books were informative, but did not help my issues and I have resigned myself to being an awesome dog mom for ever and hoping my 401K will pay for a nice retirement home someday. Finally Beautiful Creatures was lent to me about 3 years ago from Amy, and I never read it. I couldn't get past the first chapter. I never give up on books but I hated it. 

Kondo's advice to recycle or donate is positive, but this is America and capitalism is king. They are going online and will be out for sale at the garage sale. I have too many current and valuable books along with the paperback clutter (though it is my experience that paperback junk sells better than the good stuff).

Can I get emotional for a sec? Moving the weight of these books was physically draining. BUT the 'wait' - wait to read, wait to return, wait to donate, wait to decide -- this burden was greater for me as a book lover. I always wanted a library room in my house. I visualized a happy place full of books and a desk for me to write and chair near a sunny window to read. Then I realized that this is the magazine version of my ideal home. What I discovered in going through the exercises Kondo forces on her clients is a space to write that breathes because I am more creative when there is no clutter and fewer things to distract me.

I kept my journals and coloring books because creative outlets like these are more interesting if I need to talk to the muses. When I get too involved in someone else's fictional worlds, I lose my own. I had to purge some great things I loved like my collection of Grimm's fairy tales, because I've read them and know them, but rereading them may waste time I could be using for writing. 

This blog is only one aspect of writing. Since I got rid of the bulk of the books I own, I outlined a kid's book and contacted an illustrator. He is totally excited about the concept and I plan on bringing it to publishing houses before the end of the year. Talk about opening up the channels of energy!

Tomorrow I want to take a moment to talk about selling online. I am a novice, but it feels better to try to sell them than to toss them in the trash or put them in the Better World Books donate bins. If that company, who takes donated books and sells them for profit and some donation, I can at least wait a year to see what I can well for profit before I donate the rest.

How are you with books? Do you hold fast to loads of them? Do you read a lot? If you don't hold on to books or don't read much, how and why? 

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