Confronting your books

Juni 03, 2019

Beschäftigung mit Deinen Büchern


Sneezing and scratching…not because of spring allergies, but dustballs flying.

I’m climbing my dad’s bookshelf, huffing and puffing while dusting and cleaning the shelf and the books on the shelf.

This particular bookshelf is standing in his bedroom which makes it even more important to clean it regularly. My dad is trying his best to convince me that he doesn't notice anything and that he has no dustballs flying into his nose. But his protests don’t stop me, because it’s not healthy to sleep with dust in the air.

I’m sure you have experienced something similar yourself. To clean out a bookshelf is quite a task. You have to take every book out, vacuum and air them (outside), plus clean the actual shelf. It can easily fill up a whole day.

One thing that could help is to have fewer books, but why do I bring that up? You have the books that you have and that’s it. Or is it?

We are now starting with the second category of the decluttering journey following the KonMari Method by my favourite tidying expert, Marie Kondo.

Recap of the KonMari Method Method

But first, as a reminder, here is a quick recap of the KonMari Method and Kondo’s basic rules:

The very first thing you need to do is, visualize the outcome. How do you want to feel when you look at your bookshelf? Or even better, what life do you want to lead in your home after you are finished tidying your whole house?

It’s important is that you work by category, not by place or room. You tackle one category at a time and we have already tackled category number one, clothes, which you can review here.

But most important is to have your mindset right. It’s not about throwing things away. It’s about discarding whatever doesn't « spark joy ». Discarding means choosing what to keep. Kondo says that the best way to know this is to ask yourself, “Does it spark joy when you touch it?”


How to declutter your bookshelf the KonMari Way

My first reaction to the idea of decluttering books was “NO WAY! I need to keep them all! I can’t get rid of my precious books! Besides, I might want to read them again and there are many that I will read sometime in the future! Hands off!“

Once I did try to sort out my bookshelf, but just half-heartedly. But now I am doing and really following Marie's suggestions because, in my opinion, they make so much sense.

Here’s her method:

Take all of your books off the shelf and put them on the floor. Don’t forget to go through every corner of your house so you don’t forget any, just like you did with your clothes.

If you have too many books to choose all at once, sort them by categories.

Clap your hands to wake them up. Kondo explains that books that haven’t been moved for a while are dormant, so it’s hard to judge whether to keep or discard them.

Pick them up one by one and choose which ones you want to keep.Remember, the criterion is whether or not they spark joy.

She also says that you shouldn’t open the books, you should see if you feel any joy when you touch them. She explains that reading blunts your joy detector. You’ll start thinking about whether you need a book instead of how it makes you feel. To me, this suggestion sounds a bit difficult and I will do a mix of just touch and read a bit.

It’s quite likely that some of your books have already fulfilled their purpose and Kondo continues with the suggestion to take this opportunity to get rid of all your unread, neglected books.

The result

When you’ve finished tidying your books, step back and take a good look at your bookshelves. What kinds of words leap out at you from the titles on their spines?

What kind of books reflect the kind of person you aspire to be? Kondo says wisely, that if you choose which books to keep on this basis, you may find that the course of events in your life changes dramatically.

She also says, when you're left with only those books that spark joy, you’ll find that the quality of information that comes your way fits better with the life that you are imagining for yourself.

Use the opportunity to clean

So while you are climbing your bookshelf, I would recommend taking the opportunity to do a thorough cleaning.

The best tools for this job are a vacuum cleaner and our all-around cleaning product Ecoclean.

Vacuum the shelf itself. Push it out and vacuum behind, the floor, the boards, the wall. Once the shelf is free of dust, get a bottle of Ecoclean and clean thoroughly over all the same places again. Don’t worry, Ecoclean can be used on almost all materials, like wood, painted surfaces (do a colour test if the material is old), marble and so on.

To get more information on everything you can clean with Ecoclean, hop over here.

Helping your parents out with a special cleaning project could also be a great Father’s Day gift. What father doesn’t need his bookshelves cleaned out?

Hi Dad! Happy Fathers Day!

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