Day 9: Decluttering Books
“Imagine what it would be like to have a bookshelf filled only with books that you really love. Isn’t that image spellbinding? For someone who loves books, what greater happiness could there be?”
I decluttered my books! This was surprisingly not that difficult thanks to having Savannah, my master declutter expert by my side. I have always been obsessed with the idea of having tons of books lying around in my house. I dreamt of one day having a giant library, an entire room filled with so many books that I'd need a rolling ladder to access all the wonderful pieces of literature that I had acquired over the years. But, of course, that is a future life only existing in my fantasy. In reality, I move houses almost every year, I leave books behind with friends in every city I live in, and I currently have a small house and no dedicated space to store a library. When I looked around at my piles of books, I realized that I had maybe read 50% of them. I kept them around exactly because I figured I would read them one day.
“For books, timing is everything. 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.”
Once again, Marie was was right! It actually overwhelmed me looking at all the books I hadn't yet read. It prevented me from acquiring new books because I felt the need to finish the ones I had first. It was not sparking joy!
So I went through each book one by one and let them go. I let go of the idea that I was into reading classical literature. I let go of the idea that I was going to read marketing books to grow my business. I let go of any potential books I might read and kept only the ones that sparked joy.
“You may have wanted to read it when you bought it, but if you haven’t read it by now, the book’s purpose was to teach you that you didn’t need it. There’s no need to finish reading books that you only got halfway through. Their purpose was to be read halfway. So get rid of all those unread books. It will be far better for you to read the book that really grabs you right now than one that you left to gather dust for years.”
I ended up decluttering about 75% of my collection and sold them at half-price books. It felt really good. It's only been a few days but I see myself using my books more. I pick up the books I love as references or grab an old novel and read it at night. Similarly to the information detox, the analog form of information overload no longer exists in my home. All of it sparks joy.