Monday 24 June 2019

Marie Kondo doesn't want you to get rid of all your books

I've written before about Marie Kondo and how much I enjoy her books. Although I've never felt cluttered enough to complete an entire Marie Kondo festival, I definitely use her techniques when it comes to arranging my home. In particular I follow the essence of her method, which is gathering and decluttering items by category rather than by room or storage area.

Related post - Working out my own interpretation of Marie Kondo's method

I've always loved reading, and I've always loved buying, collecting and displaying books. Fortunately I've always also been good about passing on books once I've finished with them. Even books that I've bought new, if when I've finished them I don't feel that I'll want to read them again I'll pass them on to either friends or family, or to the charity shop.

Earlier this year, after the Marie Kondo documentary was broadcast on Netflix, people got very cross at the suggestion that Marie Kondo advises that one should keep fewer than 30 books. I don't remember this quote featuring in the series (although I'm happy to be corrected if it was!) and I didn't remember it from the books either. All I remembered was her opinions about which books to keep, and how important it was to really think about the books that truly deserve a place in your life.

Marie Kondo book meme
I had a look through Kondo's first book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying, and found the section that this 'quote' comes from. Under the sub-heading 'Books to keep - Those that belong in the hall of fame' where Marie Kondo discusses books, she says "I now keep my collection to about 30 volumes at any one time, but in the past I found it very hard to discard books because I love them."

So she is most definitely talking only about herself, and saying is that 30 books is the right number for her, and she emphasises everyone is different when it comes to how many books you want to keep around the place. I definitely have more than 30 books, but every book there is one that really does spark joy to me, and when I look at my bookshelf it makes me feel happy, not overwhelmed by a mass of books that make me feel guilty because I've not read them.

Related post - My Marie Kondo approach and Sparking Joy

I also found another quote in that section which I really loved - "The moment you first encounter a particular book is the right time to read it. To avoid missing that moment, I recommend that you keep your collection small." It's so true - when I spot a book that I want to read I want to read it immediately, not put it at the bottom of a to be read pile and lose that enthusiasm.

So which books belong in my Hall of Fame? I actually shared a blog post about my fiction bookshelf a few years ago, and more recently I shared a list of the books that I can read over and over again. Some of them are rather battered and scruffy copies, but they have definitely earned a place on my bookshelf.

Rows of colourful books on a bookshelf
Photo credit Nick Fewings via Unsplash

So don't be put off the Marie Kondo method if you think that she wants you to get rid of all your books, her advice really is excellent and will help you to think carefully about the books that you do want to keep, however many that is, and your reasons for doing so!

Related post - The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

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