I’m using the Like Mother, Like Daughter Bookshelves Link-Up as motivation to post again. While some question the stylized bookshelf, and caution not to get rid of too many books, I love the result when I did just that:
I found that cleaning and organizing my library, and in the process discarding and selling hundreds of books, (we removed 6 book boxes of adult fiction and nonfiction, and over 600 children’s titles when we “Kon-Mari’ed” our collection last year) was incredibly freeing.
To give you some perspective, this was the “before”:
Eeek! Aside from the mess, these books were not easily accessible, with stacks in front and books just all over the place.
Now that they shelves are emptier and more inviting, I find my self referencing books more frequently and picking up titles to read that I hadn’t remembered were there, before.
I estimated that we downsized the books in this room — which is all of our books other than children’s books and cookbooks — by at least 60-75%. Most of the discards went to Goodwill, with 2 boxes reserved for Amazon sales and one for fall consignment.
I promise to also share with you pictures of our children’s bookshelves, as soon as my spotty internet cooperates. We did that de-cluttering project the Marie Kondo way as well. I do have a couple pictures from the process, but check back later as well for the bookshelves.
As you might know, with her method, you choose your keep items (and in the process discover the discards) based on what gives you joy. As a family, we did children’s books. We estimated we had 300-500 kids books once they were all on the living room rug. We were dramatically off as there were actually over 1,222 books of all shapes and sizes.
And yes, it was hard work — we hauled them down from the kids’ rooms, and up from the basement shelves til all were together in one place.
Our rule was that if a book sparked joy or brought happiness to any of the children, or to John or I who enjoy reading aloud to them, it would be kept. This helped de-stress some of the older children, who thought we were going to get rid of all their books. Even though we never said that.
We boxed up just over 1/2 of the books, all of which apparently gave none of us 7 any joy. Wow.
I think it was incredibly important to do this process exactly as she says — hence the schlepping of books from all over the house to one spot to touch each one as decisions were made.
It’s powerful to see them altogether, recognize the abundance with which we have been blessed, and yes, find duplicates. The keepers — very manageable!
After putting the books neatly back on cleaned shelves, we had room for everything on our main bookshelves downstairs, a few kept in each child’s room, and two empty bookshelves in the basement that the kids now want to use for Lego creations.
So peaceful. There are no longer stacks of books everywhere throughout the house… at least not kids’ books.. they all have their places and are easily put back after use.
The only negative consequence from this was that I did have a bad allergic reaction to dust, and it began to turn into a sinus infection that was very painful for several days. I kicked it thanks to tons of vitamin C, cod liver oil, etc etc.
Anyway, I DO recommend front-loading with vitamin C, benadryl, etc and even wearing a mask when you do this!