How many books do you really need? Magic cleaning method
Autumn days off - a time when we are ready to do things that are never reached. For example, disassemble and re-arrange the book. If you want to bring order to the bookshelves to really change something in your life, you should use the method of "magic cleaning" - and get rid of most books.
Books are one of those categories of things that people find most difficult to throw away. Many say that books are the only thing that they simply cannot part with, regardless of whether they are avid readers.
One of my clients, a woman in her thirties, who worked in a foreign advisory firm, loved books. She not only read all thematic books on business, her interests extended to a wide range of novels and books with illustrations. It is quite natural that her room was filled with books. She had not only three full-time large bookcases high to the ceiling, but also about twenty high-waist book towers, built right on the floor. Moving around her room, I had to step sideways and dodge, so as not to stumble upon any of them.
I told her what I said to all my clients:
- Please, to begin with, remove every single book from the shelves and lay them, for example, on the floor.
Her eyes widened.
- Everything? But it's a terrible lot!
- Yes I know. All please!
“But ...” She paused for a moment in indecision, as if searching for words, and then continued: “Wouldn’t it be easier to choose them when they are still on the shelf and I see titles?”
Just the ones you love: how to wake the books
Books usually stand in bookcases in such a way that their roots are clearly visible, so it really seems that it makes more sense to weed out those that you don’t need when you see these titles.
Moreover, the books are also heavy. Taking all of them off the shelves just to put them back seems like a waste of energy ... Despite all this, do not skip this step. Remove all the books from the bookcases. You can’t judge for sure if a book really “hooks” you if it is still on the bookshelf.
Just like clothes or any other personal items, books that have been on the shelf for a long time without human touch fall asleep. Although they are completely visible, they go unnoticed, just as a grasshopper can sit still in the grass, merging with the environment.
If you will be wondering “Does this thing make me happy?”Just looking at books on shelves or in boxes, this question will not mean much to you. To truly decide whether you want to save something or throw it away, you must wake up your belongings from a deep sleep.
Helping my clients clean up their homes or offices, I get up in front of a pile of books that they put on the floor and clap my hands or gently stroke the book covers. Although the clients initially strangely look at me, they are always surprised at how quickly and precisely after this the selection process can be carried out. They clearly see what they need and what they do not.
If there are too many books to put them all on the floor at the same time, I ask customers to divide them into four conditional categories:
- Art (books that read for pleasure)
- Applied (reference books, cookbooks, etc.)
- Illustrated (photo albums, etc.)
As soon as you have put all your books in a pile, take them one by one in your hands and decide if you want to save or throw them away. The criterion remains the same: do you feel the thrill of pleasure, touching them, or not.
Remember: I said - when you are to them are touching. Try not to start reading them. Reading obscures your judgment. Instead of wondering how you feel, you will begin to ask yourself if you need this book.
Imagine what it would be like to have a bookcase filled with only those books that you truly love. Isn't it a spectacular image? Is it possible to come up with more happiness for a person who loves books?
Unread books: “someday” means “never”
The most common reason people don’t throw out a book is “maybe I’ll read it again” or “maybe I’d want to re-read it again.” Take a little time to count your favorites - books that you really read more than once. Are there many? Someone may find only five of them, and some outstanding readers can count at least a hundred.
However, people who read and re-read so many books are usually representatives of specific professions, such as scholars or writers. Very rarely can one find a completely ordinary person, like me, who reads so much. Let's face the facts. Surely you will reread only a few of your books. As in the case of clothing, you need to take a pause and think about what purpose these books serve.
Books are, in essence, paper, paper, covered with block letters and bound together. Their true purpose is to be readable, to convey information to their readers. What matters is the information that they contain. There is no point in simply placing them on your shelves.
You read books to relive reading experience. The books that you read have already been experienced, and their content is within you, even if you do not remember it. So, deciding which books to keep, forget and think that you will re-read them again, and don’t think that you have learned their contents. Instead, take each book in your hand and decide if it touches you or not. Keep only those books that you will feel happy with at one glance, only those books whose presence on your bookshelves awakens love in you.
What about the books that you started but have not finished reading? Or books that you bought, but have not yet begun to read? The Internet has greatly facilitated the purchase of books, but it seems to me that as a result, people now have more unread books than ever before. The problem with the books that we intend to read "someday" is that it is much harder to get rid of them than those we have already read.
Based on my personal experience, I can tell you right now: “someday” means “never.” If you missed your chance to read a particular book, even if it was recommended to you or you intended to read it a long time ago, then this is your chance to part with it. Perhaps you wanted to read it when you bought it, but if you haven’t read it yet, then the purpose of this book is to tell you that you don’t need it.
There is no need to finish reading books that you read only half. Their task was to be read in half. So get rid of all those unread books. It will be much more useful for you to read a book that truly captures you right now than the one that has been collecting dust for years.
How many books to keep
Now I limit my book collection to about 30 volumes at any arbitrary point in time, but in the past it was very difficult for me to get rid of books because I love them. When I first made out my library using the criterion of the joy they deliver, there are about 100 volumes left in my closet. Although this is not an excess amount, when compared with the average data, I felt that I could still reduce it.
Once I decided to take a closer look at what was left of me. I started with the books, the parting with which was considered absolutely impossible. In my case, the first on the list was “Alice in Wonderland,” which I have reread since elementary school. Then I began to look closely at books that were enjoyable, but did not reach this high level. Over time, the contents of this category change significantly, but these are books that I definitely want to keep at the moment.
The most difficult case is those books that deliver moderate pleasure; in which there are words and phrases that touch your heart and that you might want to re-read again. They are the hardest to throw. I began to look for a way to get rid of them without regrets, and eventually I came across what I called the "volume reduction method." Realizing that in fact I wanted to save not the book, but only certain information or specific words that it contained, I decided that if I save only what is necessary, I can throw out the rest.
My idea was to rewrite the sentences that inspired me into a notebook. Over time, I thought, this notebook would become a personal collection of my favorite aphorisms. However, starting, I realized that this process would require too much work.
Then I decided to use a copy machine. I will copy those fragments that I want to save, and then I will cut them out and paste them into a notebook. This, I thought, should be much faster and easier. But when I tried to do this, it turned out that the work turns out even more.
Finally, I decided to pull the right pages directly from the book. Sticking pages into a notebook also took effort, so I simplified the process by putting the torn pages into a file folder. At the same time, each book took only five minutes, and I managed to get rid of 40 books and save at the same time those statements that I liked.
After two years of using this “volume reduction method,” a sudden realization came over me: I never looked into the folder I had created. All these efforts were spent only in order to calm their own conscience.
Not so long ago, I noticed that having fewer books actually increases the impact of the information I read. Many of my clients, especially those who threw away a significant number of books and documents, also mentioned this.
In the case of books, timing is everything. The moment when you come across a particular book is precisely the time when you need to read it. In order not to miss this moment, I recommend that you limit the size of your book collection.