Making Space – Books

I’m back! I’m not really sure why my blogging became sporadic for awhile there. For sure the end of my thesis and going to Bermuda for a week had something to do with it, but I’ve kept up blogging through other times that were just as busy. Whatever caused it, I’m back now! I’ve got a mild cold that I must have caught on the plane home, but I got my conference paper in on time and I have an October full of family visits and fun with friends. I’ve got an easy schedule planned for job-hunting and if I can stick to it (and there really is no reason that I can’t) then I will be able to relax and enjoy my post-Masters “break”. Hopefully the break won’t be too long, I do need to start moving on with my life and earn an actual wage, but I plan to enjoy every minute of it.

I still plan to post about my trip to Bermuda, and the Almonte Fibrefest, but I have spend some time going through the photos first.

I’m also hoping to get through several mending/craft/other projects that have been lingering over the summer. Usually I flit between projects and then they never get fully completed. My strategy lately has been to pile everything on my kitchen table and then work slowly to clear it. The visual difference of creating order out of chaos really motivates me. I did that with adding a zipper to my duvet cover, which I posted about earlier. Then I did it again with fixing the seams in a old crochet blanket.

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I have to say, after spending so much time with the blanket, the colours have grown on me. Knightley likes it too!

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I’ve also gotten some small mending done like re-attaching a button to a vest and fixing the strap on a canvas grocery bag. I like that the pile allows me to pick up whatever project I want to, as long as I finish it before I pick up another project.

But that isn’t what I wanted to post about today! There is just so much to catch up on 🙂 This weekend I managed to get back to my KonMari decluttering (first five posts are here) and FINALLY moved on from Clothes to Books!

Bookshelf before (there is also a bedside table full of books, not pictured):2015-09-27 12.06.58

I thought I had my books fairly contained, but when I went around the apartment I kept finding more: cookbooks in the kitchen, books I’m currently reading all over the place, and notebooks near my desk and in the closet. I brought all the books, magazines, diaries and notebooks (empty or filled) together in the bedroom and piled them all on the bed:

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Then I sorted them into sub-categories: Fiction, Non-fiction (I included Poetry in this category for some reason), Magazines, Pattern (knitting and sewing) booklets, Notebooks, Photobooks, Diaries. The photobooks and diaries are sentimental, so I put them aside to deal with when I get to that category at the very end of the KonMari process. Once everything was sorted I pulled the Fiction books on to the floor and sorted again, grouping single authors together and separating unread books from read books:

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The biggest stacks on the right are books by Tamora Pierce. She is my favourite author in the world, and I own every book she has published. These will stay with me forever, and in fact they now make up about half my fiction collection! I don’t mind though, I love them so much.

I had a hard time fully committing to donating some of these books, especially the “easy fiction” books. I’m not normally inclined to re-read them, but they are the “comfort food” of books so I like having them around. To help get through this, I created “to re-read” category. I let myself keep books I want to re-read, and committed to making a decision about keeping them or letting them go once I’ve read them again. I’m not sure this the best idea and it certainly doesn’t follow the KonMari principles, but it made it easier for me.

Here is my fiction “keep” pile (not including the re-read pile):

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Knightley was not happy with this whole process and expressed this unhappiness by throwing up on the carpet later that evening. He seems to have settled now, though.

Once Fiction was done I tackled Non-Fiction, which included a lot more books than I was expecting. I used to have mostly fiction books and once again my past image of myself continued without being affected by the evidence of a change. One thing I like about the KonMari process is it forces you to acknowledge your reality and incorporate that into your self-image.

Non-Fiction, pre-declutter:

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I have quite a few coffee table books that I haven’t yet read. I’m planning on probably donating them once I’ve read them. They are beautiful books but logistically difficult to read, and my coffee table is too flimsy to support them! I also have a lot of books on random topics from over the years, plus over course tons of crafting books.

By the time I went through the Notebooks I was done for the day, so I’ve left Magazines and Pattern Booklets for another time. I didn’t actually discard any notebooks, but I don’t have that many: one in-progress journal/diary, 3 empty journals (all gifts), 5 small partly-filled lined notebooks I’ll eventually fill up and recycle, and 3 topic notebooks (family tree, canning log and a notebook full of maybe/someday ideas for craft projects). I also currently have 3 notebooks I have made out of scrap paper. I carry one of these around all the time as a ubiquitous capture device (so I never forget anything!) and once I use all of them up I go to Staples and have more made. I’ll keep doing that until I run out of scrap paper, which will probably be years from now.

Overall the process wasn’t as tough emotionally as the Clothes category. I probably kept more than I should have but I’ve gotten very good about discarding books as part of my everyday life, so I think my total collection will hold steady or decrease slowly over time. I definitely made a lot more space on my bookshelves, which now hold everything that was in my bedside table, plus all the notebooks:

2015-09-27 18.03.23

Bottom two shelves are books I’ve read and definitely want to keep. Top shelf is books I haven’t read but want to read (including all those coffee-table books). Second shelf from the top is mostly books to re-read (fiction on right, non-fiction on left), plus some keep books (stacked horizontally) and the notebooks and empty journals. I’ll probably play with the arrangements over time but for now I like it. I especially like the the extra space in the second shelf, so I as discard a few more books I hope to make the other shelves more roomy.

I ended up with about 50 books to donate to the Experimental Farm’s fundraising sale at the end of the month. I need to find some boxes to carry them in…everything I have now is too flimsy! This may have been my most enjoyable KonMari session. I’m feeling better about discarding things and I’m more attracted to open, emptier spaces now than before. It really feels like an improvement, even though I can tell looking at those bookshelves that I need to discard more books before I’m 100% happy with it. Plus I still have to tackle the magazines! Still, I’m glad this process is becoming more positive. I know a few people that have just read the book and just started KonMari, or a version of it, and it is wonderful to be able to say honestly that it gets easier as you go. I’m slowly moving towards having the life I want, and the space for relaxation and flexibility, and that is a fantastic feeling.

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5 Responses to Making Space – Books

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