As an aspiring minimalist and a naturally messy person, I love reading books and blogs about decluttering, organizing, cleaning hacks, and simple living. At some point, I’ll share some of my favorites (those that work especially well for those of us with kids), but today, I thought I’d share a tip of my own.
Like many people, I have an extreme attachment to books – the look, the smell, etc. In fact, I love books so much that I got a Masters degree in Library Science. But, if I saved every book I have ever bought or been gifted, my house itself would look like a library – and not the clean, cozy kind. The kind with cobwebbed stacks of books, where you would be as likely to find a rare classic as a body buried in the corner.
Still, I struggle to get rid of books, even those I don’t like (I’m looking at you Samuel Richardson’s Pamela: or Virtue Rewarded, aka, Sexist schlock disguised as classic literature). I tried to “Marie Kondo” them, but dammit, they ALL spark joy, even if I only hate-read them. So, I needed something even more drastic. Luckily, I stumbled upon this winning, two-part formula:
1. Have kids.
2. Get a puppy.
Together, my kids and puppy work together to ensure my book collection never gets out of hand. Their system works like this: First, the toddlers pull the books off of the shelves and leave them strewn across the floor. Then, the puppy steps in to try to eat them. The books wind up in such bad condition that I couldn’t read them again even if I wanted to. That makes them (marginally) easier to let go.
That’s it! It’s that simple! I know, I know, I couldn’t believe it could be that easy either. The beauty of this system is that there is no agonizing struggle to determine which books I truly love and which ones I can let go – the toddler/puppy make all of those difficult decisions for me, often even destroying some of my very favorite ones!
So, there it is, folks – the secret to my book decluttering success. Next up: How to Declutter Your Favorite Shoes (Spoiler Alert: This involves the same toddler/puppy ruthlessness described above).