If you haven’t heard of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo then please get out of your cave and roam among the real people for a while. You’ll quickly find out that this lovely lady has made it her mission to help scours of people find meaning in their possessions and generally de-clutter.
I’ve never actually watched her show, but I know enough about it, and, as someone who frequents many book blogs, social media sites and generally doesn’t live in a cave, to know that many are outraged by one of Marie’s principals: that a person should only own 30 books at one time.
Many object to this because they love their books and cannot handle the idea that they should get rid of any of them. Some people also feel that it might limit reading, however, I think Marie’s got a point. Not a whole one, but at least the start of one.
After all, many people hoard a load of crap, and it’s great to de-clutter after all. As someone who was born after 1960 and without a trust fund, I rent a room in a shared house as opposed to a mansion with a library. As such I have to be careful of what I keep and what I get rid of.
Additionally, as someone who blogs for fun and reads regularly as a hobby, I happen to acquire a vast number of books; far vaster than the amount of space I have in my room, or indeed on my small bookshelf (it’s mine, not part of my landlord’s furniture: I love it because it spins). As such, I often have to make a run to the charity shop with some books once the piles get too high and the shelves start to heave under the strain.
This does not limit me in my reading: far from it, as I get to read books and then give them away for someone else to love. I keep a few books that will never leave me, such as my Sherlock Holmes compendium, my Agatha Christie short story books and my Complete Winnie The Pooh Collection, but the majority come and go on a regular basis.
Mostly the reason for this is I simply don’t re-read a lot of books. Often, when I want to come back to them I couldn’t find them in my piles before I started giving them away on a regular basis. If I want to re-read something I don’t have anymore then I go charity shop foraging- one of my favourite pastimes. I see no point in keeping endless books ‘just because’. I’d rather someone else got joy and knowledge from them than that they sat and collected dust at my place. Plus, they take up valuable space for books I haven’t read yet!
So, in the end I think it’s fair to say that Marie has a point; if you’re going to keep books, only keep the ones you truly love. I’m not saying limit your number to 30 specifically, or chuck your books out all at once, but don’t hoard too much stuff just because you can. After all, if you’re not even going to re-read it, what’s the point?