Thursday, April 9, 2015

KonMari Part Two: Books!

Here is the next part in my series on my experience with the Marie Kondo system of tidying. You can see part one here!
After you go through your clothes, the next category is books. I'll be honest, I was scared to start this category. Travis and I had over 1,000 books in our house and I used to move several boxes of books with me to college every semester. We love browsing used book stores, lending books we love to friends and we were even planning on getting a custom built in bookcase built across an entire wall of our living room. Here are MOST of our books before.
On the left, two stuffed mismatched bookcases  in our living room. A few months ago I had gone through and gotten rid of what I thought was a large pile of books. On the right is one of two built in bookcases in our bedroom. I always called this "the good book shelf" because all my favorites lived there.
And here is the other weird bookcase in our room. Isn't it a strange shape? This one was made over pretty recently to make space for my dream pets.
As part of the process you pull every book in your house down and pile them together. This is everything but our cookbooks, craft books, and a big shelf of vintage kids books in our front room. I'll work on that one once that room gets easier to move around in.
Look at all these! Travis and I both love to read. I've held onto most books I've read, even if it wasn't something I'd read again. I even had books that I didn't like, but they had cool covers or I knew they were supposed to be good. Silly!
Piles and piles and piles.
I sat on the floor and went through the stacks, while Travis kept a tally. Because I had just read Marie Kondo's book it was easy for me to put most of the books in the get rid of pile. I would say something like "3 keep, 14 get rid of."
In the end we kept about 275 books, and took about 690 to McKay's, a local used book store. Woah! They wouldn't even all fit in the trunk of my car!
Here is what we took in! It took them a week or two to get back to us with a price, but we ended up getting about $260 cash. Not as much as we hoped, but hey, that is for stuff that was just sitting around our house! Travis took some action figures and I took some camera lenses later in the week and we got another $200 for those.
Here is the keep stack. It it is a lot of books I loved as a kid and have read over and over. I also kept lots of my graphic novels, and just a few books I haven't read yet. I put most of my HUGE too read stack on my library list so I'll just check them out on my kindle. I even ended up getting rid of my bedside table! It was pretty much just a place to stack books I didn't read for several years, and receipts.
We had MANY copies of all the Lord of the Rings books for some reason. We kept the coolest looking version of each. We even got rid of our hard back Harry Potter books! I definitely reread that series, but always the paperback copies. The hardbacks are just inconvenient to carry around. Travis kept just one of his Stephen King books, and just one Chuck Palahniuk. I'm so proud of how on board with this process he has been.
Be My Baby by Ronnie Spector is one of my favorite books of all time! If you are interested in girl groups you have to read it! It's so good!
See, lots of my favorite books from my childhood. The Witches or Matilda by Roald Dahl are two comfort books for me. If I'm home sick I love to lay in bed and read one of those. Or Harriet the Spy. Or any of the Bunnicula books! And see that copy of Where the Red Fern Grows? I got it from the scholastic book fair in elementary school and I can vividly remember laying in bed and crying at the end of it. It is the first book that made me cry. I love it.
Another author I've always loved is Beverly Cleary, especially books about Ramona, or Ralph S. Mouse! Does it seem weird that out of all the books I have I kept the ones for children? I don't think so, those are the ones that sparked joy with me, and make me happy to see on my shelves.
I was going to do a side by side before and after with these shelves but look! They are empty! All of the books fit on the larger shelf in our bedroom! I'm using these shelves to sort things for now, but they will probably be out of here eventually. How crazy is that? Now I have other plans for that wall since we don't need built ins anymore. As you can see, we have a lot of work to do sorting our game collection. That is one of three shelves. Ah!
And here they are! I really can't believe it. I moved my poodle bottle cover collection in here, which I love and can now look at every day.
Knick knacks are going to be HARD for me but I put some of my favorites on this bookshelf. I've had most of these dalmatians as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I used to always say when I grew up I wanted to animate 101 Dalmatians. Which is nonsense! I had two of the sleeping puppy on the right and was agonizing over whether I should keep them both, when I dropped one and it's head popped off. Meant to be I guess.
These candles are from the first year we went to the Elvis vigil at Graceland. Precious memories.
I went through my cds at the same time I went through the books since they are on the same shelf. Lots of them went to McKays and I threw out most of the mix cds I had from high school That spindle is actually discs of our wedding photos. I'm going to back them all up on a few hard drives then throw them away. I also treated myself to a teeny iPod and have started transferring all of my cds onto our computer. We'll see if I can get rid of the actual cds! I do use them all the time, but I don't really have to have physical copies.
If you had told me even two months ago that I would be getting rid of most of my books I would have told you that you were crazy! But when we took all those books to McKay's it felt so good! Liberating almost! Now I just have the ones I love, and if I feel like I need to read something I got rid of again, I can just check it out on my kindle.
I'm still loving this process. We've definitely slowed down (because you can't work on it every minute you aren't at work all the time) but I feel great about it. Several people I know have picked up the book since I've been talking about it and I can't wait to hear how it goes for them.


  1. I did the same thing not too long ago. I love having my books organized now.

  2. This is INSANE. The books, the amount of sorting and organizing and donating decisions you had to make..WOW. I must say, reading your other blog post about cleaning you closet has stuck with me through this week and now I can't bear to look at my disorganized room!! Tomorrow is my day off, so I'm using this as inspiration to GET THINGS DONE!!!

    xoxoxo, Naomi |

  3. awesome job. I can't imagine having that many books to sort through. Glad you got some money back for them. I have yet to read the book but I have read some articles and have joined a KonMari fb group. I really need a KM method for my eBay inventory. None of that sparks joy but it will eventually spark money which would bring joy

    1. i haven't even really been buying books for the last few years, i download stuff from the library to my kindle, i'm glad my collection wasn't even BIGGER!

  4. You just made me want to go buy all of those children's books! haha. I had hundreds of books when I was little that were my pride and joy. They were all in my playroom in the basement because I didn't have room for them in my bedroom. Then when I was 14, our basement flooded and I lost every book I had collected up to that time. It was devastating then, but now I'm sure it was a blessing because I know I would still have them all. Since then, I've tried not to hang onto any books that I know I won't read again, so I really don't have many anymore.

    And that weird shaped bookshelf seems like maybe they had a desk under it, and the part that's open was the little workspace? I don't know.

    1. that is so sad that your basement flooded! i'm so attached to my stuff, i'm terrified of something like that happening to our house. i'm hoping this method will help me get over that a little.

  5. True story: I vividly remember sitting at my desk in Miss Bailey's fourth grade class trying to hide under my jacket hood as I was overcome with tears reading Where the Red Fern Grows. It was the first time a book made me cry also! I was weirded out because I didn't know books could make you cry! I was hooked on reading for emotional feels after that book. And I LOVE Beverly Cleary, still do... and Judy Blume <3
    And I love what's happening over at your house. I just know that you're gonna get rid of those shelves and do something great in that spot.
    P.S. Those dream pets <3 The poodles have a more pleasing look up top. That was a good call!

    1. aw that is so sweet. that book is such a tear jerker!
      i was struggling on what to do with the poodles because i didn't like them where they were and was thinking i would have to get rid of them. but i love them in my room!

  6. Wow, that's a LOT! I don't have much in the way of books any longer because I just use the library now but occasionally I do buy one.

    1. i haven't bought many books in the past few years. i'm glad i finally started using our library (and i especially love downloading books to my kindle.)

  7. Love that coco sanrio kitty :D Gotta look into your organization system, I'm constantly working on downsizing/streamlining, etc. Books were a weakness of mine but now I won't get something unless I know it will be a frequent reference or it's something I can't get from the library. Love your collection and your freshly cleaned bookshelf is lovely.

    1. you've got to read the book! i think you'll be really into it!

  8. A few things. I am so proud of your decluttering. I really feel like Jamie needs this book. He has a lot of his identity tied up in his things and he has A LOT of collections and a hard time parting with them. Also I had those dalmations, but I sold a couple on ebay a few years ago when I was going through a purge phase. I used to buy stuff at the Disney store all the time as a child, and those were among my favorites! Also, I commend you on keeping Candy Girl. That is one of my all-time favorite books. It may be time for me to re-read that one!

  9. My husband and I are working on doing the Konmari method in our house and just got around to our books. If it makes you feel any better, we kept more of kids' books than anything, and our Beverly Cleary collection is also truly impressive.

    And we're empty-nesters!

  10. You guys seem to think that keeping things digitally is ok– I've been wrestling with this question myself: "Should I apply the same method to our digital items?"


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