The Secret Joy Hiding in Your Books

I adore reading.  It ranks high on my short list of hobbies.  So you might think I had trouble letting books go.

Full disclosure: before I read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” I had already donated MOST of my books.  (They were all sadly packed away in a closet…and the ones I kept were still in said closet for the most part.)  Frankly, ever since husband got me a Nook for Christmas several years ago, I’ve been happily collecting books in electronic form.  I still enjoy the feel and smell of a real book, although I suspect not as much as some people do.

Anyway…I did not take a “before” shot of my books, and I dropped off my discards at Goodwill without snapping pictures either (like a bad blogger).  BUT, the pile wasn’t that impressive to begin with.

I held my books in my hands one-by-one.  For books, not only are you deciding what brings you joy, but you’re also paying attention to the words in each title.  KonMari talks a lot about the power of words and how tidying up can not only physically de-clutter our spaces, but also lighten a person’s load; unburden and clear out the mind.

books that spark joy
I did not place these books on my shelf in any particular order, but my special little collection ended up “sandwiched by happiness.”  Every time I see this, I smile.

She suggested that another way to think about what books to keep is to think about what kind of life you want to lead-to keep books whose titles align with who/what you want to be.  (Her example is if you’re single, but want to find a relationship, don’t adorn your bookshelves with books about being single!)

I love this unexpected, secret sliver of joy; I truly do.  I believe in the power of positive thinking and affirmations in daily life. I believe positive words cultivate positive thinking and a thankful attitude towards God.  It fosters contentment and appreciation in our lives. And I must admit…while I don’t believe keeping certain books will magically change my life, there is something exciting about seeing books that not only spark joy, but whose words have a special meaning to my life as well.  It was surprisingly delightful to see that the books I kept really reflected the things that are important to me (Family, my marriage, my pets), things I’m working on (searching for my purpose, focusing on the positive/happy, being thankful) and even places I want to visit (San Juan Islands, anyone?!)   

It is suggested

joyful desk decor
Random desk shelf joy: journals and trinkets I kept

that all books ought to be stored in the same space. In general, I think that’s useful for keeping track of how much you have. But I did not follow that advice with my books.  I enjoy using books as decoration in a few different places in our home, although most of them are in our home office.

I found the end result of book tidying to be well worth the effort.  I love the idea of surrounding yourself with words that reflect the kind of life you want to lead.  And now, pretty much all of our books are out on display where we can see them and leaf through them any time-not shoved in a closet; forgotten and taking up space.

more joyful books
“Where the Sidewalk Ends” always seems to survive the purge.  🙂

I think with each bag that gets taken to Goodwill or thrown away, I am gaining clarity.  Each time I let go and give away…I find that I still have more than enough.  It sounds crazy, but there is truth to be found in this process.  This thankfulness, this reflecting on why I’m doing this, it’s somehow cultivating openness to God’s leading in my life.

My experience won’t be everyone’s experience, but I hope that you will spend some time thinking about what you have-material and otherwise-and just be thankful today.  There is enough.

Next time, I tackle the dreaded “PAPERS” category.


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