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the magic of tidying up

Poll: Right so, how many books do you own?

Just how many is too many?

MARIE KONDO IS tearing apart families across the world with her seemingly controversial method of decluttering – especially when it comes to books. (7)

In her Netflix series, ‘The Magic of Tidying Up’, Marie recommends that one couple reduce their book collection to 30.

However, she’s since clarified her comments in a sit-down interview with the New York Times.

“The KonMarie method is about your sense of value – what do you hold most important?” she said. “If your reaction is anger that you have to let go of books, that’s great, because it means for you, books are invaluable.”

92nd Street Y / YouTube


“The idea is, if it sparks joy for you, you must keep it. Even if I go over to your home and say, ‘do you really want to keep this book?’ If you feel it sparks joy for you, keep it with confidence.”

So no, she isn’t an Asian book-burning Gaston, as someone cleverly described on Twitter. She’s a woman who wants you to get to grips with why you own so much stuff, not force you to fling your first editions out the window.

But the number 30 got me thinking.

Growing up, I owned more than 30 books. In fact, it probably went well into the hundreds. Coupled with my library membership, my burgeoning love for stories. I’m convinced my terrible eyesight is as a result of straining to read Harry Potter in the dark, under the covers (no amount of carrots could fix that.)

As I got older, I moved away from books and on to music, among a myriad of other hobbies well worn and long-forgotten. I rarely, if ever, bought books for myself. Occasionally, I got the odd tome at Christmas, which would be resigned to a shelf until further notice.

Over the last two years, however, I’ve dipped my toe in again. Commutes now double as strictly scheduled reading time, because I’d be hard pushed to be put my phone down at any other time of the day. With my job, I’m lucky to have access to a lot of books without buying them and which also means I can freely pass them on. On top of that, I’ve just joined a library as a means of being more sustainable.

I’m reading more, but buying less – not because books don’t spark joy, but put simply. I don’t have room for them, and they take up a lot of space. Having giving away so many, I’d now estimate that there’s five, maybe six books at most in my room right now. Where the feck would I put 30 books in a room given what the Dublin rental market is like? It’s all well and good when it’s your family’s space you’re compromising, not your own.

And besides, isn’t it nicer to share the joy of a good read with someone? How does that ‘Frozen’ song go again?

So, long story short – how many books do you own at this very minute? Library books and lent books which you have not seen from your friends for months don’t count. Just the ones you have right now – a rough estimation will do.

Poll Results:

More than 30 (1329)
21 - 30 (112)
11 - 20 (101)
5 or less (55)
5 - 10 (55)
None! (28)

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