I could take her advice on the "personal books" I own, but 90% of my
library is for research and illustrations for speaking/preaching engagements
related to my work and they are stored in a home office. I have over 1000 books
and Bible commentaries in digital form that I cross-reference weekly, but I also
have a collection of over 200-300 books that are only available in printed
format. Not all of them bring me joy, but they are necessary for me to rightly
do the work I do with integrity. I would question any leader in my position that
is not constantly reading for personal and professional growth.
As I near retirement, my books are my paper memory, and many of them are out of
print and not available in electronic editions. Unless I have judged the book
not worth the time of keeping as a reference or a future reread, they all bring
me joy. At most I might give away 10% of them.
It is also important to realize that Japan and limited living space makes the
need for organization a vital component for almost every Japanese family unless
one is quite rich and can afford the American standard of living space in Japan.
Here in America the standard of living for decades has been a detached single
family home. Even so that standard has been changing and the idea of a home
library isn't necessarily something that most American homes, especially a
large library, possess. As hobbies go or as literary tradition in a family
goes, American culture may be somewhat different, especially when it comes to
owning and collecting books. However, as for hoarding books, when books are not
cared for, collecting dust, becoming a fire hazard, and just kept in some
haphazard manner in piles like junk, then perhaps, Kondo's method would be
quite valuable. Kondo's approach to organizing a home doesn't mean
that everything that she writes or says must be taken as a must. If a home
library or as a writer who needs a quick resource and loves the feel or real
paper brings joy, than why discriminate and spend hours deciding among each
individual book, if one has the room.
Her book is great! Too many are taking her words way out of context. Read her
book. Try to understand what she writes. If your five million or so books sparks
joy, keep them. If they don't, then get rid of them so that others might be
able to enjoy them. This is about bringing order to our lives, and living with
less than we need. That right there can bring peace to many. And as always, if
this way of organizing and/or minimalistic thinking doesn't fit your
lifestyle, move on and forget about it. She isn't forcing anyone to adopt
WallE, you make an interesting comparison of books to friendships. While it
would be sad and foolish to put a limit on the number of friendships we have, or
at least people we are friendly towards, it's an unfortunate truth that,
like the limited space in our homes, we have a limited amount of time in our
schedules for maintaining friendships. We can't give all the friends
we've ever made equal priority or time. Same thing with our physical
possessions. Some have to be "thanked for the memories" and let go. When
our emotional energy starts to suffer from the stress of maintaining too much,
whether it's things or people, we need to reevaluate. As to what the
"magic number" is, however, I'm sure that's as different as
we all are.
I can see it from both sides. My husband has a bit of a hoarding tendency when
it comes to books (especially from thrift stores)--books he will never more than
glance through, and on the most random topics, like Cessna pilot manuals,
neurosurgery, and the Encyclopedia of Wood (he's a mech engineer)--but he
hoards because he wants the "look" of a library in the house and for the
kids to have access to info on different subjects, even if the info's
already fairly outdated on some subjects. It's a huge pain whenever we
move, which is frequently. Converting to ebooks would be a great way
to declutter, even if I do personally prefer traditional print and paper. Or
skip the hoarding and utilize the internet and your public library.
My kindle holds thousands(?) of books and takes up less room than a normal
paperback. Seems like a fair compromise.
Just because she says that doesn't make it so. And nobody has to do what
she says. I'm keeping my books.
If people complaining about their love of books would take the time to actually
read her books, they would understand that she believes in keeping only the
items in your home that bring joy to you. That does not imply that
you can't read or check out books that challenge your ideas or bring new
thoughts into your life (which oddly enough is what Marie Kondo is doing for
these people!)... it just makes you think hard about why you are holding onto
all the crap in your home!
Wow! I feel sad for anyone that feels that keeping 30 books is "ideal".
It's like putting a limit on the number of friendships to