Marie Kondo urged everyone to de-clutter to de-stress, telling folks to evaluate the items in their home and ask this question of each one: does it bring me joy? For most things, the answer is no, and it can be tossed away or donated to someone who will appreciate it. My wife and I spent hours evaluating our belongings as we moved across the country (as my
Patreon supporters have read, it was significantly more complicated than anticipated!) into a much smaller home. I still overestimated the space our pared-down belongings, so as we unbox items, we continue to discard and donate anything possible.
Except the books.
Even though I primarily read ebooks on my phone or Kobo reader, I can't quite bring myself to discard all my hard copies. They carry unique smells of ink and aged paper, author signatures, and memories of gifts given and received. And, despite the giant corner book shelf we built to store our volumes, and the Little Free Library in the front yard to share the less-precious tomes with neighbors, there always seem to be more laying around.
Which is probably why the Country Living article laying open on a waiting room table grabbed my attention. "The unofficial anthem of book lovers all over might as well be just one more–as in, just one more page, just one more chapter, just one more book, just one more precariously built bundle on the nightstand reflecting the best of your reading intentions." Yep.
So for 2023, instead of despairing over the precariously perched piles of printed masterpieces, I'm embracing them in our new decorating scheme. Books in the fireplace, books on the stairs, book-built end tables. Because yes, Ms. Kondo, they do bring me joy.