Getting rid of books is easy – except when it’s not. There are hurdles along the way.
First, let me explain that I love to read. I LOVE to read. It started with reading under the covers with a flashlight when I was little and now I read much too late at night with the help of apps like Kindle and Libby.
(By the way, did you know most library systems have an app that allows you to read books for free without ever having to go to the library? Brilliant!)
My husband reads books for work so between the two of us, we had accumulated quite the home library. Books were scattered all over the house too.
Ok, so I mentioned hurdles:
I love books. Thanks to my Kindle, my book collection has been dwindling for years. But truth be told I still love the touch and feel of books. I even love the smell! So when going through our books, I had to remind myself that the “does this bring me joy” question should be directed at the content. If I hadn’t done this, I might have kept every book!
I haven’t read it yet but I want to. Honestly, I heard this more from my husband than myself. One aspect of his profession that he loves the most is developing leadership potential in others which means reading a lot of books about the subject.
I like reading personal development books like I like getting an annual physical. I feel really good about myself after it’s over but I don’t want to do it again until next year.
Still there were a number of books we kept with the intent to read them soon. If we don’t read them within 6 months, they are headed out the door.
Books create memories I never want to forget. Harry Potter. The Chronicles of Narnia. Lord of the Rings. Even books that aren’t epic in nature such as my seminary textbooks create powerful memories. I had to confront the fear that giving up the book would mean not cherishing the memory and therefore losing it.
This simply isn’t true! Take The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for example. The first time I read that was with my mom and I loved it! It opened up a door to magical belief that had yet to be tapped by books I read. Yet the actual book was on loan from the library and I’ve never seen it since. The memory remains although the book is gone.
I think I’ll remember this lesson when we get to sentimental items.
So what are the results?
We have more shelf space.
Let me clarify. We have exactly 75% more shelf space! Books have a way of filling up a space and making it feel very heavy the same way furniture does. So removing at least half of our books feels like shedding a lot of weight in our home. Since most of our books were in our bedroom (excluding children’s books), all of that “weight loss” occurred in the room that needs to be restful. It feels great just walking into the room!
We took our haul of discounted books to a local spot that buys books and DVDs. They gave us $104 for the books. Woo hoo!
But there was an intangible benefit of trimming down our book collection. Marie Kondo mentions the power of labels on items in our home and how our possessions can be screaming at us all the time. Even though the brain may only subconsciously read the title, it still reads it jamming our internal dialogue with uninvited speakers.
Well, it was somewhat the same with books. Our books were shouting at us from their shelves. Perhaps the title itself was telling us to do something: hike these trails, change this behavior, think this way, feel like this, stop, start, wait.
But some books screamed things like “you never finished me tisk-tisk” or “you still haven’t mastered this lesson.”
Discarding books that did not bring joy eliminated so many messages we were getting throughout the day. It calmed the internal dialogue a little.
I can see this same phenomenon occurring from unused exercise equipment or unfinished projects around the home. How many uninvited speakers are barging into our internal dialogue by simply existing in our homes?
Regrets? Not getting a before and after picture! Booooo.
I’m looking forward to step three, paper.