The life-changing magic of tidying your bookshelves – How Kobo can help you declutter

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In The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, the bestselling book on decluttering, author Marie Kondo says it is critical to tidy by category and dictates that there is a “correct order” in which these categories should be tackled. She advocates starting with the easy stuff first – clothes — then moving through groups of things until you reach the most difficult category to assess and part with – things with sentimental value. Books, says Kondo, are the second easiest category to declutter after clothing.

Tell that to your average booklover who has been lugging boxes of them through multiple moves, retained worn copies of The Hardy Boys and first year university textbooks (“but look! My notes in the margins!”) and has a teetering stack of might-be-read or half-read books that are too good to part with. There is so much love and sentiment wrapped up in books, not to mention a feeling that it might actually be sinful to get rid of them (isn’t book burning a crime? Or merely frowned upon?) we tend to keep books on our shelves and in our lives for years.

For avid readers, this can understandably cause storage issues (the vegetable crisper is not an acceptable place to stash excess novels). Thankfully, technology can help. With a Kobo eReader—or Kobo’s free eReading app—Booklovers can more carefully choose which titles they want to own in print and which are better suited to the digital format.

Below is a step by step guide for tidying your bookshelf.

  • Kondo says don’t cull your bookshelves; instead remove all books and put them on the floor. The essence of the Kondo magic is to actually touch your possessions, hold them and feel if they “trigger joy”. If not, off to the discard pile.
  • If you have a lot of books, it might be easier to break your books into categories for the culling process: general (all your thrillers, fiction, biographies and so on), practical (cookbooks, business books), visual (photography, etc.) and magazines. “Once you have piled your books, take them in your hand one by one and decide whether you want to keep or discard each one. The criterion is, of course, whether or not it gives you a thrill of pleasure when you touch it.”
  • Touch but don’t read – “reading clouds your judgment.” Keep focused on the prize: a shelf filled only with books you really love.
  • Recognize that “sometime” means “never”. If you haven’t read a book yet, dump it. “You may have wanted to read it when you bought it, but if you haven’t read it by now, the book’s purpose was to teach you that you didn’t need it…..(or its) purpose was to be read halfway. So get rid of all those unread books.”

What is the upside of the exercise? The joy of being surrounded with true love, the books that have real meaning for you and touch your soul in some way. And, according to Kondo “I have noticed that having fewer books actually increases the impact of the information I read.”

There is another easy way to live with books differently: Select those few books that “spark joy” – which are in your personal pantheon or are simply too beautiful to give away — and then keep your home and space tidy by reading digital books. Your neighbourhood Indigo store not only has all the great print books you might want to browse, but also sells Kobo eReaders which can easily store up to 3,000 digital books, is the size of a pamphlet and weighs about as much as a cupcake.

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