If you at all frequent book twitter, you might have heard variations of people aghast at Marie Kondo‘s suggestion of clearing out books. I know this strikes fear in the heart of Rioters, but I think, for many reasons, Kondo is right.
- Her suggestion is primarily to rid yourself of books that don’t spark joy. This means the math textbook you spent 100 dollars on but will never again read, the hand-me-down book club books from your aunt that you will never actually read, the “idiot’s guide” to whatever that you bought in high school. Don’t get rid of your favorites, but feel free to let go of the books that you don’t actively love. Get rid of that book guilt.
- Not everyone loves reading like you. This might sound obvious, but it isn’t. This is something that hit home when watching Kondo’s show: lots of people didn’t even have a book collection to purge. Other people had a collection of weird old cook books, manuals, and board books for kids who had long since outgrown them. She isn’t attacking your book collection, but trying to help her clients.
- Books are not your identity or your personality. This might be hard, but books become so entrenched in the way we see ourselves, sometimes we forget why. Getting rid of old paperbacks or passing on old favorites to friends does not mean you are not longer a book lover. It means your journey with that particular book is over.
- There are a lot of class-based issues implicit in the discussion. The people who can hold on to lots of books have the space or the ability keep them. Not everyone has that, whether they need to downsize or make room for parents or children.
- You can also find a copy to read if you really need it. Yes, you might not be able to buy it again. But you can borrow from a friend, get it from the library, find a free digital copy, etc. There are so many options.
So as you consider Marie Kondo and books, these are just some ideas to keep in mind. Happy purging.