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11/17/2014

A Time to Read

The cold is here and free entertainment is becoming limited. So we have returned to an old winter activity that we used to do a lot in the past and had forgotten about: hanging out at a bookstore. We spent four enjoyable, completely free hours reading books and magazines on a Sunday afternoon.

Some people may feel too tempted to spend money, but we’ve figured out two ways to inoculate ourselves. First, we bring our own insulated cups of coffee. Second, if there is a book we might like to read and it would be difficult to finish during one afternoon, make a note of it and get it from the library. Over the years we have realized that there are very few books that we need to own. In fact, we have quite a lot of books in our house that we haven’t touched in decades. Which brings me to a book that I picked up today and completely read before leaving the bookstore: the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by marie kondo.

Reading books about organizing stuff has always intrigued me. I fantasize about owning a minimal amount of things and living in one of those tiny houses. Digging down to the necessities in life! Jason and I go through our stuff a few times a year – we call it purging. Unfortunately I have never been completely satisfied by the results. But this book has some different ideas that I’m going to try:

  1. One category at a time. Rather than go room to room, choose a category like books. Go throughout the house and gather up ALL the books and put them on the floor.
  2. Touch and examine EVERYTHING. Does it spark joy? If you hesitate, then it probably doesn’t have that spark.
  3. Discard everything in that category that you don’t want BEFORE organizing and putting it away!
  4. Reduce until you reach the point where something clicks and you feel satisfied. That point is different for everyone.
  5. If you are having trouble getting rid of something, ask yourself: Is this because of an attachment to the past or fear for the future?
  6. Finally, designate a final resting place for each thing.

Inspired, I came home and tore through all of my books in the house (Jason got inspired too). This resulted in 100 books that we will give to friends or attempt to sell on Amazon, a used bookstore, or drop off the leftovers at St. Vincent de Paul’s. Hopefully this will result in a small chunk of money that we can put in savings!

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Doing it by category is a great idea! Have you read anything by the Minimalists? Check out www.theminimalists.com

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