I checked out The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up from the library a couple of weeks ago, curious to find out for myself what all the buzz was about. I’d heard stories about people completely overhauling their homes after heeding the author’s call to declutter, and though I like to think I run a relatively tight ship around here, I’m always open to ideas about how to live more simply. The main premise of the book is this: if you don’t love it, if it doesn’t bring you joy, LET IT GO. Pretty revolutionary in this day and age of excess, isn’t it? But I’m nothing if not revolutionary (says the woman who breaks out in hives at the mere thought of change!), so I’ve decided to see what kinds of un-loved things are lurking in the recesses of our closets and cabinets. One of the primary guidelines for purging is to evaluate your belongings by category rather than location – rather than going through your home room by room, gather all your books or clothes or mementos in one place and go through the pile at one time, so that you get a truer sense of how much you own. I’ve broken down our stuff into the following categories and hope to tackle one or two bunches a week, with the ultimate goal of handling every single item in our house by the time summer rolls around.
- eating/drinking/cooking wares
- linens and towels
- art supplies
- decor items
- random crap
According to the book, you’re actually supposed to start with clothes, but given the number of things in my closet that I know I’m doomed to part with, I’m not ready to go there. Books it is, then! Shane and I aren’t major book collectors, so this should be easy, right? Right?!
I grabbed every last book in our house and piled them all on the kitchen island today. I was a little taken aback to see these all stacked up together – I thought I did a solid bookshelf purge a couple of years ago? I was even more taken aback when I started sifting through the stacks and realized how many novels I’ve been hanging on to that I have no intention of reading again. In about 45 minutes, I’d weeded out a good third of our collection – what remains are my favorite art and architecture books, about 30 memoirs and novels I love, and a small pile for Jules. I actually did a second culling as I was putting these away and came up with another 20 titles I was ready to ditch.
Coming soon to Goodwill on Dearborn!
Seven paper bags of books now sit in our downstairs hall, ready to leave our house and never return again. Our bookshelves are looking wonderfully sparse. “Life-changing magic” might be a stretch, but this felt good.