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To Cull or Not to Cull?

Tags: book

Marie Kondo's Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo caused quite a stir on Twitter when she suggested getting rid of books that don't spark joy. At first, it was quite amusing to see people's reactions, but then it became quite shocking. People were adamant that you do not get rid of books under any circumstances ever, as if getting rid of books was sacrilege, like Marie Kondo was some kind of monster for even suggesting it. The reactions to those outraged was quite amusing, though, with people taking the mick out of them, and with others pretty much telling them to lighten up.

I thought I'd give my two pence. While I can understand why people would have an issue with getting rid of books - I myself have hopes of having a home with my own library full of books, and you can't have a library full of books if you don't have books to put in them - I am also not that attached to books I didn't like or would never read. Obviously, I'm a book blogger and book seller, and as such, I get sent books, where the books most people will have are books they bought or were bought for them, so I am coming at this from a specific privilege. But, for financial reasons, I still live with my parents, and all my belongings go in my bedroom, and I am in no way exaggerating when I say my room is a health and safety hazard.

I have five bookcases. Four tall ones, one of which is quite deep so is double-shelved, another which is quite narrow, and one half sized book case, which is also double-shelved.And I have ten piles of books on my bedroom floor that reach well above my knee. And a couple of grocery boxes with books in. Bar the bookcases that are double-shelved, the three other bookcases aren't shelved as you'd expect. Instead, I have short piles of books on each shelf, bottoms facing out; if I were to shelve them properly - vertically, spines out - I wouldn't fit them all on, and I'd have even more piles on the floor. With my bed, my wardrobe, my chest of drawers, and a chair, there is very little space left in my bedroom. I have a narrow U of space around my bed and that's it. I have too many books, and they have to go. With things as they are, they aren't sparking any joy, they're actually stressing me out, and I hate my room at the moment. Instead of a haven, it's a place to sleep, and that's it.

I'll have been book blogging for ten years in March, and in those years, the review copies have accumulated. A lot of the books I have are unsolicited ARCs - ones I liked the sound of, and planned to get to one day, but have just sat there, not being read. Others are books I have read and didn't like. Others are books I read, and enjoyed, but didn't love. Others are proofs of books I now have finished copies of. I have culled in the past, keeping the ones I liked the sound of, but now it's time to be strict. If I want to read those books at some point, I can go to the library. They have to go. I'm not getting rid of all my books. I'm keeping all the ones I loved, all the ones by my favourite authors, and, of course, I'll be keeping the majority of books I've bought that I've not yet read (I will be getting rid of the ones I've since heard are problematic). But everything else is going.

But it's not as bad as it sounds. Obviously, I'm getting rid of them, but that doesn't mean I'm throwing them away. They'll be donated to my library, to charity shops, to my local hospice for their jumble sales - possibly even a local school library through Book Buddy. They will find new homes, and bring joy to someone else instead of me, and, in some cases, make some money for some worthy causes at the same time. All of which is preferable to them filling up my room, stressing me out, and me knocking piles over when I try to go to the loo in the middle of the night. I will have five book cases full of books shelved spine out. I will see all the books I have (except those at the back on those double-shelved bookcases). I will have space and room. I'll be able to breathe. I'll look at my bookcases with joy. I'll be able to take shelfies, for the first time in god knows how long.

The only problem is, I can't drive. So I can only actually get rid of the books when my dad is able to drive me where I need to go. Which means even when I cull, the books still have to stay in my room somewhere until then - hence the grocery boxes of books previously mentioned. But even just taking books off the shelves or the piles and putting them in boxes makes me breathe a little easier. So while I may not know Marie Kondo's method, I am all with her: if certain books aren't sparking joy, get rid.

What did you think of the ruckus Marie Kondo's show caused? How are you doing for space when it comes to your books? Are you for or against culling your books? What do you do with the books you cull? Tell me all in the comments!

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This post first appeared on Once Upon A Bookcase, please read the originial post: here

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To Cull or Not to Cull?


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