Before I started Kindergarten, I learned to read. The book was titled, Tip and Mitten and I still own my terribly old, battered copy. I treasure it because it came from my grandpa’s book shelf and he passed away when I was 8 years old. From the time I learned, I didn’t stop. Reading has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember.
Each summer camping trip, Christmas vacation, or Easter break was filled with reading for me. My parents gave us books for Christmas and we dove into them headfirst. I am a die hard fiction addict. I used to be slightly embarrassed by that fact and tried to sound more sophisticated by reading biographies or books about history. But I love a good young adult fiction book.
Some of my favorite series include: Harry Potter (I was one of those who bought each new book as it came out and had to re-read the entire set again before the next book), The Ranger’s Apprentice, Fablehaven, The Beyonders, The Books of Bayern, The Chronicles of Narnia, Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, and many, many others. I will say though, that I have never read the Twilight series and probably never will.Beyond a series there are too many good single books to name. My list is always growing. There are so many talented people out there! I have always held a deep conviction to fill my home with books. And I have. My husband loves religious and historical works and has become a collector of many more books on those subjects than either of us would possibly read. I began buying children’s books as soon as I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter and haven’t stopped since.
I want my children to love books as much as I do. I read to them every day. And night. We read a lot of books. When people ask me what we are doing for homeschool I often reply, “We read books.”
As we began to KonMari our home, I started to get nervous about approaching the books. In fact, I put it off until last. I know it was out of order and books are supposed to be the second thing you tackle, but I could not bring myself to do it. My husband had a similar reaction. Parting with our clothes and our kids’ toys were a cinch compared to even thinking about getting rid of books.
I finally started in on our kids’ books. It’s always easier to get rid of other people’s things, right? There were some obvious ones that were torn or colored all over. I used a similar method that I did with clothes: 1 box for trash, 1 box for give away/selling, and then the ones we kept (WAY too many).
There weren’t a lot to throw away and that part went quickly. Next I went through and honestly took each book in my hands and thought about it. There were obvious keepers — classics, stories with good morals, ones my kids asked for over and over, etc. I made a mental note to get rid of most, if not all, of the character books — barbie, my little pony, dora, etc. With an over abundance of books already, I didn’t want any fluff. I wanted the really good stuff. That helped narrow things down.When I was finished . . . we still had OODLES. Where did all of these books even come from? When you take them all off the shelves, it’s amazing to see. Lots have been long forgotten, others are so loved that you need to let them go but hate to.
We planned on having a big garage sale so I had a big box ready for that. But we still had too many. I decided to utilize a “cheat” method. I went through the remaining books after two months and again took out an entire box full to give away. With what was left, I had my girls help me find their very favorites at the time. They each picked about 8-10 that they loved right then, and we kept out most of the board books for the babies. The rest went into a box and were put away in a locked closet.
Now we rotate out the ones they get tired of and it feels like getting all new books again. They love it. It’s like having your own library, without all of the books causing a disaster of clutter in their bedroom constantly. For now, this works for us. I will probably scale down even more if we ever move, but it has been a good “meet in the middle” arrangement.
As for the adult books . . . my husband actually got rid of more than I expected! We are in the process of listing and selling a lot of his, because we might as well make a few bucks!
We still have shelves full of books, but they aren’t stacked to the ceiling and overflowing anymore. I admit, I kept most of mine. I had already gotten them down to my very favorites and classics I want my girls to read or want to read with them. I kept a few parenting books that I read often, and a couple of text books that I refer to on a regular basis.
It was hard letting go of books. But it was made easier knowing that other children would actually be reading and enjoying them. My kids have plenty and there is always the library!
If I had to pinpoint, I would say without a doubt, this part of the KonMari method was the most difficult for my husband and I. I don’t regret anything we got rid of, and it does feel better to see less chaos on our bookshelves.
Up next, TOYS.