77. A Novel Idea

books in black wooden book shelf
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So many people want to declutter but cannot let go of books. Any of their books. I move house fairly often and I can tell you that boxes of books are really heavy and dusty! They have to be packed, carried downstairs and loaded onto a van. Unloaded, carried upstairs then unpacked by me. Some books I owned were just not worth the bother. After one move, three boxes of books remained boxed up for over two years.

I’ve had the following conversation several times with people and the most common responses are “Nooooooo! Why would I want to do that? I could never get rid of any of my books! They mean too much to me. I might read them again. I would regret it”

  • Is there a person inside your head who judges your book collection? If you had fewer books, would they disapprove?
  • If someone took away one book a day, how long would it take you to notice?
  • Would you know which ones were missing?
  • Would you miss them?
  • For the prize of a thousand pounds/dollars, could you whittle your collection down to one bookcase or shelf of your absolute favourite books?
  • Imagine you can take only twenty books with you when you move abroad. How do you feel about leaving the other books?
  • Is it sentimentality, cost, status, perceived value, it was a gift, they are a collection?
  • If you love it and will read it again, then keep it.
  • If you don’t, then why are you holding onto it?
  • If you loaned your copy of a book to a friend, and never got it back, would you buy it again?
  • Does your ‘to read’ pile never seem to go down?
  • Will there never be the right time to read certain books you own?
  • If you knew that someone else wanted to read a book that you owned, and you probably wouldn’t get around to reading it, would you give/sell it to them?
  • Letting go doesn’t have to happen all at once. You didn’t acquire them all overnight, so the cull doesn’t have to be dramatic.
  • Books are meant to be read, not to gather dust. There is barely enough time to do everything you need to do, so don’t feel guilty about not finishing a book.

I’m not heartless. I get the struggle. I do keep some books from childhood with my name and class neatly written inside. I bought first-editions of future classics by accident that I can’t bear to part with. Pangs of memories forgotten of old train or concert tickets used as bookmarks. Those expensive signed hardbacks where I queued for two hours to get two minutes with the author.

I’m into audiobooks now, so have digital clutter to contend with, and unlike my spare room, I have a very restricted amount of storage.


11. Kondo my Condo

pexels-photo-322338.jpegIf it didn’t spark joy, it was out. I was ruthless. I was going to streamline, have 33 items. It would be an effortless capsule of silk, cotton, cashmere. Flawless. The whole William Morris beauty thing in my flat; the whole Zuckerberg/Jobs clothes thing in my wardrobe. Simple. Clean. Efficient. Easy pieces. I was going to be more. With less.

I started with my clothes. I’d already decided I was a navy and grey person with a purple accent. Getting dressed was going to be easy because all of the decisions would already have been made for me. How efficient and peaceful my life was going to be once I had decluttered.

“Only very rich people can afford to live in such frugal elegance,” I thought. The chair I wanted cost two months wages.

My tech would have to be wireless. And white. Minimalists do white.

The ‘Maybe’ box was getting quite full. Every time I wanted to ‘Keep’ something sentimental, I thought that if Leo could do this, then so could I. He’s got six kids.

It will be so fulfilling and worthwhile. I wondered if books should have their spines facing inwards. Do tiny house people even have any books? Where do they put them?

I just need the perfect crockery now. Some Japanese hand made plates and bowls. Casual but functional. The Ikea and hand me down, starter home stuff I have at the moment is all mismatched.

Anyway, in my head I thought about how humble and modest I would feel when people saw the finished flat. Curated. Efficient. Sufficient.

A single orchid. A hand-blown glass vase from Italy that I held all the way home on the plane.

in the back of my mind I worried that I would regret it. What if Ryan and Josh ever came round? There’s only two chairs. I hope they never find my version of Monica’s closet aka ‘The Room of Requirement.’ Still, I have got four more chairs and two deckchairs in there.

You never see those rooms on Apartment Sponge.