Thursday, May 07, 2015

Marie Kondo's 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:' Round Three (Books)

Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing translated by Cathy Hirano (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2014) / Jinsei Ga Tokimeku Katazuke No Maho (Tokyo: Sunmark Publishing, Inc., 2011) / A mágica da arrumação: A arte japonesa de colocar ordem na sua casa e na sua vida [EBook Kindle] Sextante; Edição: 1 (4 de maio de 2015); Amazon Servicos de Varejo do Brasil Ltda – Português.

Next order of business: books. Doing the KonMari “tidying” method with books is a bit more challenging for me than clothes. 

KonMari’s approach might put the fear of God or worse in most bibliophiles: she’s managed to reduce her personal library of 3D “codex” books to thirty -- yes, thirty -- volumes. To do this with a large collection, one would have to have the gusto of a fire crew right out of Ray Bradbury’s slim 1953 novel, Fahrenheit 451. I might have some of that gusto in me, but not for the equivalent of book burning.

Furthermore, logistically it’s more difficult to set up my books in the KonMari way, because I have a considerable number of volumes shelved in an office inside a large library,  plus another considerable number of them at a domicile located miles away. She would have me put all of the personal books under my care into one large pile or ziggurat, and then examine them one by one before carrying out the decision to keep, donate, trade or toss: all in one go. “Does it spark joy?”

So, what I have done so far is this. Books that have physically deteriorated due to acidic paper and the like – and can easily be replaced in e-book or other form – can go. Books that neither “spark joy” nor serve much of any practical purpose can also go.
Here’s an example of a culled book (a scan of its front cover, to be precise): a paperback copy of James Joyce’s Dubliners. Why pulled? It's become a bit dingy, and worse, it's beginning to come apart at the seams; I also happen to have a complete set of Joyce’s works in hardback. I like the crazy green cover, though.

Results to date: 

Magazines and catalogs discarded or recycled: 13
Books traded in or given away: 23
Compact discs (CDs): traded in, given away or discarded: 22


Magazines and catalogs discarded or recycled: 7
Books traded in or given away: 11
Compact discs (CDs): traded in, given away or discarded: 5
DVDs traded in, given away or discarded: 10

To sum up, that's 34 books out, a fairly comprehensive reshelving, with 27 CDs, 10 DVDs and 20 magazines and catalogs also moved away. Doesn't seem like much in numbers, but the reality is far more satisfying. It is quite fun to handle and relate to each item, one by one, in a way that results in what feels like a positive psychic energy flow.

Other categories down the line will include: general papers, komono (小物  = little objects, miscellany), and the hardest items of all  -- letters, diaries, photos and the like. Overall, KonMari work is fun, eye-opening and certainly energizing.

Today's Rune: Breakthrough. 


Charles Gramlich said...

I do often get rid of doubles, but other than that I don't mostly give up books.

t said...

not easy to do.

Dubliners has the coolest (many-est) covers, woah:

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