“Are you happy wearing clothes that don’t give you pleasure? Do you feel joy when surrounded by piles of unread books that don’t touch your heart? Do you think that owning accessories you know you’ll never use will ever bring you happiness?
The answer to these questions should be no.
Now imagine yourself living in a space that contains only things that spark joy. Isn’t this the lifestyle you dream of?”
― Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
One of my goals, now that I am no longer gainfully employed, is to straighten up, organize, and de-clutter my little piece of the world (a couple of rooms and part of a garage). I am not a hoarder, but I am on the edge and can keep too much valuable stuff. One of my biggest weaknesses over the decades has been books.
It spiraled out of control when we lived in Mesquite. Our house had a long and wide hallway – wide enough to line with bookshelves. One of my favorite pastimes was to go to Half-Price (a chain of local used books stores) and buy books from the clearance rack. I filled those shelves. The kids referred to it as my “library.” Unfortunately that arrangement concealed the sheer number of tomes involved – until we moved to Richardson. The movers charged us an extra 500 bucks… “I’ve never seen so many books in my life,” the guy said.
So I was put on a diet – two full-sized and one half-sized bookcase. If I want a new book, I have to get rid of one. Of course, then the Kindle came along and my appetite for actual books waned somewhat. I might have a “library” as big as the one in my hallway back in Mesquite – but it’s all digital and doesn’t actually take up any real space – and gigabytes are plentiful and cheap.
But still, I am trying to reduce, eliminate, and de-clutter – and there are still too many books. It’s funny, but to this day, I can’t throw books away. I probably should do that, with some good books, just to teach myself that the world won’t end. But there are other options.
I have a routine now. We have a little table by the front door where we put the mail when we bring it in. I keep a few books there – ones I’ve selected that I have read, or have on my Kindle, or suspect I will die before I get to it. Every time I go for a bike ride in the ‘hood I grab a book and drop it off at a Little Free Library.
It is shocking how many of those things are out there. You don’t really notice them from a car – but from a bicycle they are impossible not to spot. I have yet gone to the same one twice – though I will soon.
The only problem is that nobody is picking up the books I leave. They are all good books, but usually a tad on the difficult side. Most people seem to be looking for children’s books, cookbooks, mysteries, or thrillers.
It is what it is.