What no one tells you about #KonMari and book regret

  • Sunday, March 10, 2019


... and how much it really hurts

I am suffering from some serious book regret. If you were livid when you heard Marie Kondo purportedly declaring you should “only should have 30 books” (untrue, she never said it), then read on.

Close to a year ago, we had to move — about 2000 km away. We were moving from a two-bedroom house with basement to a one-bedroom apartment.

Moving costs money so everything oversized and heavy had to stay. I was brutal when culling my books and I even ignored the whole “spark joy” feeling. I had my other family members do their own culling - yes, I drank the Konmari Kool-Aid and was not going to make that decision for them.

I initially felt great after the purge. High fives all around. I knew I was oh-so-practical. I knew I was saving money.

So we hied off to the new home and before I knew it, I was craving certain books. My lovely short story collections - I looked up some of these books in the local library and surprise, surprise, many weren’t there (credit my obscure taste for short stories). The SO asks where I had put his copy of Cain, and gggrrr ... I tell him that he specifically said it was fine to give away, yes he did, he really did. The other month, I was looking back at old blog posts and realized that I had tossed a whole bunch of vintage Agatha Christies into my donation bin, collected over years of thrift store hauls. Over the months, I have been having these severe moments of regret.

My takeaways from the whole experience?

Take the time to find out which books spark joy in you. Why the hell did I cave in to pressure of practicality, I keep asking myself? Well, we we under a time crunch. If you have the luxury of time, don’t do your book decluttering when you feel you’re under duress.

When in doubt, don’t throw it out. The books you’re lukewarm about, keep them. Then do another culling. Or not. The problem with this whole spark joy business is that on the day I did the cull, I was in different mindset and didn’t have time to process what I was keeping and letting go of.

Don’t let anyone else dictate how you should feel about letting go of a book. ‘Nuff said.

Give yourself permission to keep some sentimental books. Sure these books are replaceable, and maybe even borrowable from the library. But there is something deeply personal about certain books. I loved my short story collections, with many of them being ARCs; I was among the first to read, love and and review them! I loved my vintage Christies; can I ever get back that feeling of holding those ARCs or that initial thrill of spotting them glinting on those shelves?

And with that, I say, be kind to yourself. Decluttering requires a ready mind, and in some cases, a ready wallet. Sometimes that extra few dollars will save you heartache.

Photo by Verne Ho on Unsplash

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall