Bookshelves: Before & After KonMari

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:

Bookshelf after Kon Mari

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”:

bookshelves KM 2

Eeek! Aside from the mess, these books were not easily accessible, with stacks in front and books just all over the place.

bookshelves KM 7

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.

Bookshelf after KonMari

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.

bookshelves KM 5

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.

Childrens books before konmari

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!

konmari books childrens before after 2

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!

konmari book

Happy Kon-Mar-ing!


Lemon Rosemary Roast Chicken (Or how to make three meals at once)

I think I finally found the perfect Roast Chicken recipe. Between lemon, butter, rosemary and thyme, as well as the organic chicken, there’s a lot to love.

When I took these pictures, I was making four chickens for three meals at one time — two chicken dinners for new moms in our parish, and one 2-chicken dinner for us and my visiting in-laws.
Making oven roasted herb and butter chicken recipe

The main ingredients are chicken, softened butter, whole lemons, fresh rosemary sprigs, fresh thyme, and a little salt and pepper.

Start by zesting the lemons and mincing the herbs. Add lemon zest and herbs to the softened butter.

roast chicken butter rosemary 1

Mix together the butter mix (I used my hands while wearing culinary gloves) until it’s well blended.

Juice the lemons.

roast chicken butter rosemary 2

Rub the butter mix under the skin, into the cavities, on the outside of the chicken, in its creases — basically, all over until you run out of butter.

roast chicken butter rosemary 3

Pour the lemon juice over the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place lemon halves and 2 rosemary sprigs in the cavity. Bake at 425 (regular) or 400 (convection) for 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes (depending on size of chicken).

roast chicken butter rosemary 4

Or, add a homemade seasoned rice mix, veggies or other sides and deliver to a family near you to cook at their convenience. This simple recipe and the make-ahead method has been a huge breakthrough for me in making meals for moms. In addition to the two I made when taking these pictures, I recently made another four chicken dinners this way, delivering three in one day and freezing the other for later use.

If you live close enough to the recipient, cooking it all at home first is the best option, of course!

As we prepare for our own new baby, I am looking forward to making this and other recipes and stocking up our freezer.

Recipe for Lemon Herb Roast Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken, pat dry
  • 2/3 cup butter, soft
  • 3 lemons
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Zest two lemons.
  3. Finely chop leaves from one sprig rosemary and one sprig thyme.
  4. Combine butter, lemon zest, herbs and salt/pepper in a  bowl, mixing well.
  5. Smear butter mixture in and on the chicken.
  6. Cut lemons in half and juice one, pouring juice over the chicken.
  7. Fill cavity with lemon halves and remaining herb sprigs.
  8. Roast chicken for 45 minute to 1 hr 15 minutes, until 165 degrees F.
  9. Carve and serve!

Thanks  to the Pioneer Woman for the original recipe, and to my husband for helping me make meals for new moms in record time.