The 20/20 Cure {Days 13, 16: Declutter Books, Clean}

{Isn't this living room so wonderfully welcoming and peaceful without books and media?}

A quick step backward in the Home Cure to complete Day 13 and (kind of) declutter some books, then staying on track with Day 16 and cleaning one room.


We did a lot of eliminating in our book and media collection and in the kids' books through our Project Eliminate a few months ago when we were preparing to move. A few months past, we haven't missed or noticed a single thing we got rid of, and there's more we've kept that we have yet to read or reference.

I am completely on board with not having book or media collections. Period. Books are easily borrowed for free from the library, personalized music stations can be heard for free on Pandora, and movies are most enjoyable when they're rented while they're new which can be done cheaply through Redbox, while older TV shows or movies can often be accessed through Netflix (or, again, through the library).

I love these options, because they're current and super affordable. And I don't have to worry about what to do with a huge VHS collection once everyone switches to DVD or blu-ray, or what to do with a huge music collection once I've grown passed my teen pop phase. (Okay, I didn't really go through a teen pop phase, but I somehow ended up with several teen pop CDs.) And if I finally read a book once, do I really need to hold onto it to read again, or should I let go of it so I can explore other great books out of the millions available?

And yet, we somehow end up with books and media that, while not a "collection" per se, still never leave.

{Who needs media if you have a living room like this?!}

In his video for Day 13, Maxwell challenges to take the book collection down 25%. Every ounce of me wants to take that challenge. To top it by dwindling it all down to one tiny shelf. To do so, the books would have to be mine to dwindle. I share shelf space with a spouse and two kids. So I do what I can.

{No room for extra books/media in a beautifully simple space like this. Well, actually, they have plenty of book/media storage not seen in this photograph, but that's besides the point ;) }

First, an awesome minimalist approach to decluttering books. It's worth a few minutes to read, or, at a minimum, skim. Even if you're not into going minimalist, these six tips are the perfect start to sorting your collection--especially the "tiny actions" included after each tip.

Now, our progress using the six tips mentioned in the article above:

{1} Write it down. One book has been posted with a reminder to write about it (probably on this blog), then I'm free to pass it on.
{2} Divide. Get ruthless with your "yet to read pile." I like her rule of thumb: "if it hasn't been read in six months, it probably won't ever be read." 2 of my books have been posted with a date that will hold me accountable to get rid of them in six months. Post-it notes in hand, I was ready to help Daniel implement this principle with his books, to which he plainly declared, I'm not getting rid of any of my books. At least I tried.
{3} One of the best ways to make use of your book collection is to share it with others! I agree. And I've been doing this with the last several books I've read, passing them on to friends or family that I think would enjoy them. And the book I'm currently reading (Grace for the Good Girl) will also be shared after I write a blog post about it :)
{4} Set aside one shelf of your book case as your "desert island" shelf. These books don't even take up an entire shelf for me and include: a personal-sized hymnal I received from my church family when I was 12, the Adventist Home (still reading it, and holding onto it because it's worth reading again), my Bible, and a sizable stack of devotional journals filled with my own writing.
{5} Organize your non-fiction books by topic. Thanks to the purge we did in the spring, we have no overlaps in topic. Well, maybe in Daniel's sports books from college, but he's already set me straight on those sticking around.
{6} Look for multiple copies, and get rid of them. I was a little bit surprised how many duplicates we found when we moved to Florida, and again when we returned to Nebraska. I was also a little bit surprised to find we still had one duplicate waiting to be gotten rid of! Those sneaky little books. AND, it was one of Daniel's books, so I guess he did help me declutter :)

{FINAL TALLY} 1 book is a duplicate and leaving the house ASAP, 1 book leaving the house after I write about it, and 3 books ready to leave the house once they've been read or after six months has passed, whichever comes first. Not exactly 25% of our collection, but with only a few small shelves of books, I don't think we're doing too bad.

{Day 16: Clean One Room}

Once again, our twenty minutes today was better spent maintaining the entire apartment rather than focusing on one room. Dishes, laundry, picking up clothes, dusting. Somehow the mess adds up throughout the day, and taking twenty minutes for us to work together as a family to put it back in order is necessary.

{It's your turn...}
Read Breaking the Sentimental Attachment to Books, and do one of the tiny actions, then share about it! What's included on your "desert island" shelf?