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In this post, I share my experience of using the KonMari method to declutter my books. The method is based on Marie Kondo’s book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I am interested in her approach, not only as a professional organiser, but also for us as a family.

Book decluttering using the KonMari method, during and after

If you’ve read my first blog post about the clothes category, you know that I actually started the process a while ago. I have to admit that there was quite a long interval between working through the clothes and the books. Marie Kondo recommends doing it all in one big sweep, or at least as fast as possible. Life happens, though, and personally I need to be in the right mood to tackle a project like this, hence the delay.

So, what happened? First, I have to tell you that I am a book lover and always have been. I’ve got an emotional attachment to many of my books. However, I have pretty much stopped buying books in recent years. Instead, I have become a very regular user of our beautiful local library. This obviously stops the influx, which is a good thing.

 

Working with subcategories

In contrast to the clothes category, I didn’t declutter the books in one go, but worked through various subcategories:

  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction professional
  • Non-fiction personal
  • Reference books
  • Travel books
  • Magazines
  • Cook books

There are more possible subcategories, which were not relevant to me, such as textbooks, comics, phone books or music books. I mostly used the coffee table in our lounge room as a sorting place and sometimes I added a trestle table.

To keep or not to keep … where the joy question wasn’t always enough

Marie Kondo says not to read the covers or extracts of books, but to pick one up and feel whether it sparks joy. I have to say: I found this more difficult with books than with clothes. I naturally did sometimes read the covers before I decided what to do with it.

Once I had decided, the books ended up in one of the following piles:

  • Keep
  • Keep but discard of when read once more
  • Keep for the sentimental category
  • Go to the German Community
  • Go to the OP shop
  • Go to the recycling bin

I did keep some books that I will eventually give away. First, however, I want to read them again (I often read books several times). So, I made a little pile of about 20 books that fell into this category. In the meantime, I have already reduced this pile and given away the ones I re-read.

 

Because I hate waste, I did some research first

Having lived in Switzerland for almost 40 years, most of my books are of course in German. This means that I can’t just bring them to the op shops here in Australia; at least, I wasn’t able to find one that is interested in these books. After quite a bit research, I found a retirement home with lots of German immigrants who love to read books in their native language. Knowing that the books would be appreciated made a big difference to me when deciding to let go or not.

I also knew that the local library has a magazine swap box in the entrance, so I brought all of mine there.

The professional, reference and travel books were the easiest for me to let go because I knew the contents were dated. That’s really a no-brainer.

Conclusion

Going through the process I was able to let go of about 126 books which represent almost exactly 50 %. Pretty good for a bookworm, don’t you think? I’m happy with the overall result, and it does feel great.

My top tip with regards to the book-category would be to think about where to bring the books you no longer want before you start the process.

 

Decluttering books using the KonMari method

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Related posts:

My KonMari Journey – Part 1 
What you need to know before starting with the KonMari method
Should You Apply the KonMari Method for Your Printed Photos?

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