Self-Confessed Book Hoarder: The Declutter

After trekking home from the North, I fell down onto my childhood bed and felt a pit of unease building in my stomach. I have so many books. Too many books. Books I’ve never read, books I’ve never touched. An obscene amount of unloved books gathering dust. 

Like a lot of readers, my shelves are usually my pride and joy. But as I stare at them now they don’t mirror my interests or passions anymore. I know they need to go, but the idea of giving them away feels so wrong…

Photo by Element5 Digital on

This is where Marie Kondo comes in. Her notion of an object sparking joy was one that resonated with me immensely – it made me see my possessions in a whole new light. Books are the second category of items that can be sorted through, and I decided to tackle this once and for all.

How does a book spark joy?

It speaks to you. If it doesn’t incite some kind of reaction in you, it probably isn’t worth keeping. Books are designed to make us feel things. To make us learn things. And so if it just gathers dust it kind of reduces the whole point of books at all.  

As the books tumbled from the shelves, I tried to remember who I was when I had bought them. Tombs of Dickens and George Eliot from when I was obsessed with the notion of liking ‘smart books’. Various untouched non-fiction hardbacks that I truly believed I could get into (I hate hardbacks – why are there so many of them?). 

I thought it would have been harder, saying goodbye to probably over a 100 books. 

But it wasn’t hard. In fact I felt very little at all. 

Because now when I look at my shelves, they are full of books I am excited to pick up. Books that I can’t wait to reread. Books hidden away by the sheer mass of other books that I didn’t even know I owned. It’s like taking a sigh of relief. My TBR is now manageable, I am not swamped by hundreds of unread books I will never get round to. 

As an avid reader of books, I know how much books mean to those who own them. But I would invite you, reader of this blog, to go through your shelves and ask yourself whether that book sparks joy in your life. Has it sat there for years unread? Does the thought of yet another book – one you don’t even want to read – make you feel a bit queasy? 

My books are all going to better homes. Selling some on Depop, musicMagpie, and taking to charity shops will ensure that someone out there will love and read my untouched copy of Bleak House by Charles Dickens. My current books now have space to breathe. 

My shelves have never felt this welcoming before. 

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