Though the The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up calls for getting rid of clothes first, I decided books first. Whatever, dude. It's my life.
It's important that I mention, I got rid of my journals first... like, six months ago. Back then, I was planning to write a piece called, "How to Lose Four Pounds in 2 Minutes", by throwing away journals (and the dead-weight, tear-stained pages of memories that were smashed and suffocated inside them). But I never got around to it and now I see why; my discarded journals were waiting to be discussed in a better, more dramatic and impactful post. (Such spiral-bound little attention whores.) Nevertheless, I threw them away, which was really hard for me because, again, I'm super attached to my past. I gave a brief overview of this in last week's post.
It's obvious to me, my soul was gearing up to let go, even six months ago. It was gently nudging me, preparing me for a giant purge that would hopefully and probably lighten my load and help me move forward in many, many ways.
So, on to the books-- the ones I didn't write. Remember, the criteria is very simple; Only keep the things that spark joy. You know as well as I do that if you try hard enough, you can find joy in anything. Everything. All the things that keep you from throwing sh*t away. But that's not what this book is here for. From the get-go, the author of the book, Marie Kondo, made it clear she's not interested in my bullsh*t. She did not develop this tidying up system to coddle me and comfort me into parting ways with gems such as Through the Storm, written by Britney Spears' mother in 2008. *(Not only do I have an unhealthy attachment to my past, I'm attached to Britney's, too. In my defense, though, she has a pretty fun past. One of my faves.)
As for deciding what to keep and what to toss, I assumed that the "joy-spark" would be just that; a spark-- an immediate signal from the Universe, guiding me in my quest to tidy. Like, maybe the warmth of seventeen angels would descend upon my chest, meaning, keep. And a cold, dark, looming, creepy-asss spirit would wash over me which would mean, discard that horrid word-cemetary, Erica. But, no. Nope, I was on my own. And if you do this program, you'll be on your own, too; left to your own intuition. I'm just warning you, cuz I love you.
Just pull sh*t off the shelves and hear them fall to the floor, like bricks. Then, look down at your pile and feel free to take a trendy pic of them, just laying there, like complex pieces of a dresser from IKEA. Then, it's time to get to work.
My strategy was simple:
- If I've had it for over six months and hadn't read it, I tossed it.
- If I DID read it and definitely got what I needed from it, buh-bye.
- If it was a "work/career" book, (like, I have a lot of books on Eating Psychology and Intuitive Eating that I have not read all the way through, but I use them as reference guides in my work), I kept it.
- If it was a book that I read, and it was dear to my heart...I actually gave it a hug, thanked it for allowing me to escape in it for a time and placed it gently in the Hefty bag. (The book below is one of them) Those ones are tricky because they still *technically* spark joy for me. BUT since I've already read them, I'm not going to read them again. Therefore, they're just sitting. Being sad and lonely. I must give them a new home :-)
Then there were books that stirred up a lot of old stories of my own. Two books in particular, about the ethics of In Vitro Fertilization, from the period of time I was "passionately" opposed to the process. I struggled and suffered over it for a long time (having NEVER experienced this in my life, of course). But I ended up discovering my issues with it stemmed from beliefs I had about my Mother not having enjoyed motherhood, herself, and she didn't even have to try very hard to get pregnant. I was resentful of women who would do anything and pay anything to have a child. Surely they'd thoroughly enjoy motherhood, never taking it for granted, like I believed my Mother did.
I don't share this to be dramatic, I share it because A) it was my truth and B) I no longer hold this belief or anger toward IVF, therefore, I don't need books about it. Sometimes, the mere existence of a book in our space can represent old beliefs and outdated stories from our psyche...regardless of what the book is actually about. It's important to acknowledge this, say a prayer for yourself and be done with the item.
Okay, so, what DOES spark joy on my book shelf?
- Childhood photo albums
- Framed Photos
- Just a few tchotchkes
- My Dad's original copies of The Catcher in the Rye, Brave New World, and a poetry book passed down from my Great-Grandfather
- My collection of Children's Books; many from my own childhood and many that speak to me and I want to be able to share them with my imaginary future children.
The book doesn't suggest this, but I think it's important to have what I like to call a "'Magic' Sponsor"; someone to hold you accountable for getting rid of your sh*t. Sound good?
So get your donation bags ready. Where would you like to start?
*And for my next trick, I'll make almost all my clothes disappear! Tune in next time :D