Have you ever noticed that when you decide on a course of action, serendipity comes into play? Something similar happened when I started the Book Project.
First, the library started taking donations for its March book sale. It’s hard to give up books, knowing may never see them again. But our librarians are thrifty. If my donated book is particularly interesting or in better shape than a book in their collection, it will end up on the shelf.
I started bagging books that someone else might enjoy. I filled three bags!
Second, I got a free copy of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I can’t say it was on my reading list. In fact, so many people were discussing it, I felt as if I’d already read the Cliff Notes and listened to the audio commentary!*
I read with interest Kondo’s methodical approach to tidying. She advocates handling one category at a time: clothes, books, papers, etc. The KonMari Method (as it’s called) calls for gathering all items from a category and spreading them on the floor.
So I covered the living room rug with stacks of books.
Then Kondo explained I had to decide which ones bring me joy. And to thank the cast-offs.** It was easy to pick out the joy-inducing keepers, but I lack a certain je ne sais quoi – French for “thingamajig” – for thanking things.
However, I have grande compétence in identifying books that bring nothing but grief (outdated textbooks, coffee-stained paperbacks, and the like). I’m not going to sugarcoat: I threw them up or tore them apart for the recycling bin.
In the end, I took a grand total of nine bags of books to the library and another to a free-range library.
Elizabeth Harris’s 3-part Financial Tidying with Marie Kondo at Forbes
Julie Morgenstern’s SHED approach, outlined with a self-quiz
Courtney Carver’s minimalist wardrobe challenge Project 333
*It’s different than what I imagined. For example, a friend invited me to a “clothes challenge” using the KonMari Method. We worked through her wardrobe, pitching what she didn’t like. It barely made a dent. Reading the book, I see it’s actually the opposite of throwing out unwanted things.
**Sounds wacky and a lot of reviewers ignored it, but… well, I’m going to review this book when I’m done!