Tidying books can be a task filled with pleasure, if you have the time. Or, it could get really overwhelming! For me, one of the pleasures of reorganising my bookshelf is stumbling upon books that I have forgotten. It is something akin running into an old friend. I take it as one of the indulgences of decluttering. However, the danger of ‘wasting’ time remains. Moreover, you may just get so lost in your old books that you might just ignore the task at hand.
The book, Spark Joy by Marie Kondo offers a ‘life-changing’ way of tidying up. Well, this includes tidying books as well. For the uninitiated, Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up has revolutionized homes and lives. In Spark Joy, she provides advice on specific categories and this includes a section on tidying books as well.
Here are some thoughts on what we have gleaned from the chapter on tidying books from the book:
In essence, the book believes that one must only keep things that spark joy. If something does not spark joy for you now, it never will and you need to ‘thank’ the object and discard it. People don’t discard books since they might want to read it again.
But, as Kondo says, “But if a book doesn’t spark joy for you now, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll never read it again some other day,”. The lesson? Get rid of all books that don’t spark joy, and that you have read half way or not read at all.
What happens when you discard?
Now this is something I find quite interesting and poignant. She writes in the book….
“When you’re left with only those books that you love, you’ll discover that the quality of information you receive changes noticeably. The room you make by discarding books seems to create space for an equivalent volume of new information. You’ll soon see that the information you need comes just when you need it, and when it does, you’ll find that you respond to it immediately in a new pattern of behavior that wasn’t possible when you were hoarding books and neglecting the information they contained,”.
Now that’s food for thought!
Kondo recommends taking every single book off the shelves and piling them on the floor. Then, one must pick them one by one, hold the books in the hand, and keep only those that spark joy. She cautions against staring to read them at that time!
Specific book categories
If you have a series of comics/books you could decide if the entire series sparks joy or not. With respect to magazines, Kondo suggests setting a limit on maximum number of issues you can keep.
Storing books attractively
Kondo recommends standing up the books rather than stacking them in a pile. Books could be kept category-wise. It is also fine to keep them where they are used- for example, cooking books in the kitchen.
Do you match the books you have kept?
I find this aspect of the chapter really interesting. Kondo writes,
“The energy of the book titles and the words inside them are very powerful. In Japan, we say that “words make our reality”. The words we see and with which we come into contact tend to bring about the events of the same nature. In that sense, you will become the person who matches the books you have kept. What kind of books would you want in your bookcase to reflect the kind of person you aspire to be? If you choose which books to keep on that basis, you may find that the course of events in your life changes dramatically”.
Well, I never really looked at tidying books with this angle before. But, who knows? Books are known to change lives…
If you are a serious booklover…your house will show that! Actress Parineeti Chopra’s home, designed by The Orange Lane (founded by Shabnam Gupta) translates her love for books into a multimedia piece of art in form of a storybook wall. Conceived and created by Ganga Kadakia, the wall portrays colourful and vivid book covers that in an instant, take you down the memory lane!
Bookedforlife takes a glimpse into the making of the storybook wall in a conversation with Shabhnam Gupta.
Is the ‘story book wall’ a movable screen or a stationary wall?
The wall is a stationary one.
Could you briefly highlight the technical process that went into creating it?
The wall was built as a wood framed partition. Covers of iconic books and movie posters were selected and pasted onto the partition which had a textured egg white finish as a base. The entire composition was then sealed with a clear topcoat.
What is the base of the storybook wall?
The base is plywood.
How do you think that this story wall enhances the ambience of the house?
There is a direct connect of the wall with the space since it is located in the den, where she would spend time watching movies or reading books from her library.
Chopra also has a vast book collection, which seems to be important for her. How did you incorporate that into the decor?
The other two walls of the space are created as a large library – a set of white niches with pops of colour and wall paper. It houses her collection of books as well as artefacts.
Walls have ears…goes a popular adage. Well, in some special cases they have a story to tell as well!