Marie Kondo encourages clients to get rid of books and people do not like it

I’ve only watched episode one of Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show, Tidying Up. She’s so genuinely caring, and so disarming, that the couple she helped adored her and their kids fawned over her too. You want her to come into your house and magically make your life easier and your relationship better. The show has inspired a lot of people to tidy and declutter their stuff and it’s very well reviewed. I really enjoyed this review by professional organizer Jaclyn Ray on Refinery 29. She perfectly explained Kondo’s method of praying to the house and of “waking up” books by tapping on them. “To me it was like when you’re in a yoga class with an instructor and you’re doing your poses and then the teacher just goes way off into the woooo.” Exactly! Like you finish the class but aresurprised how wacky it got. Ray also said that teaching her clients to fold wouldn’t work, because they would never maintain that. “I don’t really see the point of Kondo’s intricate folding method… visit those houses 10 months later. Eighty percent of my clients are repeat customers.”

Do you remember that show Clean Sweep in the early 2000s on TLC? That was the inspiration to my decluttering guru, Clutterbug. (Her books will change your life!) Clean Sweep dealt with some borderline cases, but it featured people with spaces that were still livable, unlike Hoarders, which can be disturbing as we discussed. There’s Queer Eye and house makeover shows, but there was an untapped market for shows of everyday people bettering their spaces and processes. This show is sorely needed, but many people don’t like Kondo’s approach to books. She recommends keeping about 30 books, however she lets people keep more if they want. That sounds ok to me as I use the library usually and don’t keep books around, but a lot of people dislike it. Here’s an editorial from The Guardian discussing it, and some tweets are below.

While I’d heed Kondo’s “Konmari method” for habits such as folding T-shirts, she is woefully misguided when she says we should get rid of books that don’t give us “joy”.

The metric of objects only “sparking joy” is deeply problematic when applied to books. The definition of joy (for the many people yelling at me on Twitter, who appear to have Konmari’d their dictionaries) is: “A feeling of great pleasure and happiness, a thing that causes joy, success or satisfaction.” This is a ludicrous suggestion for books. Literature does not exist only to provoke feelings of happiness or to placate us with its pleasure; art should also challenge and perturb us…

As for culling one’s unread books – while that may be essential for reducing fire and tripping hazards, it is certainly not a satisfying engagement with the possibilities of literature. (Unless it’s self-help or golf, in which case, toss it.) Success is, eventually, actually reading your unread books, or at least holding on to them long enough that they have the chance to satisfy, dissatisfy or dement you. Unread books are imagined reading futures, not an indication of failure.

I read in a variety of ways – ebooks, audiobooks – and never mind donating or sharing books. But I can’t imagine what a blank collection of physical books I’d be left with if they had to spark joy.

[From The Guardian via Lifehacker]

This is a similar argument that organizer Ray made against the Konmari method too. A can opener doesn’t spark joy but you need one. (I got rid of the tongs when I was decluttering my kitchen using Clutterbug and quickly realized that was stupid. It was my own fault though.) As for books, I like Lifehacker’s argument that books exist both for you and for your visitors, to tell them something about you. Nick Douglas makes the case that they’re similar to clothing in that way. It’s not only about how it makes us feel, it’s about the image they help us project. I guess the lesson here is “you do you,” keep what you want and discard the rest, but don’t save a bunch of sh-t or your house will be a mess. There are hard decisions to be made and we have to let go of some ideas along with our stuff.


photos courtesy of Netflix press

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

184 Responses to “Marie Kondo encourages clients to get rid of books and people do not like it”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Snazzy says:

    I will get rid of everything else before I get rid of my books

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      I can’t help but wonder about people whose spaces have no books.

      • mercury says:

        Thats interesting…What people think of my living space has no bearing on me because I have to live in that space- not anyone else. I’m a lawyer, yet I have 0 books in my condo. I prefer a minimalistic and clutterless lifestyle and that involves minimal items and no books (don’t even have a book shelf). I love my living space!

      • MyBlackCats says:

        As a Librarian, reader & person who believes books are catalytic – when moving I’m a book burner! Those things are heavy and rot prone, says my inner less-evolved mover.

      • GreenTurtle says:

        You can look through my vast Kindle library if it would help you feel less unsettled. 😂

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        I should have clarified those feelings developed before E-readers and small condos! It was more about the association with curiosity and education at that time, and I grew up with books in every room so it felt like home.

        Pianos used to be a hallmark of culture and wealth in the home but that’s changed too.


      • Mel says:

        So do i. I assume that people who don’t read lean towards being g uninformed and having conversation with them is painful.

    • jay says:

      The critic is taking the point too literally on purpose and it’s annoying (using a dictionary definition? really?). They come across as pedantic and rigid. It was clear to me that if it evokes a strong emotional response, if it moves you, keep it.

    • Incredulous says:

      Yup, you will prise my books from my cold dead hands. Also, furniture made from stacks of books is a feature.

    • Clare says:

      Eh, I’m kind of over mythologising books – my husband and I are both academics and between us we have literally hundreds (assuming we havent hit 4 digits) of books. Some of them I LOVE (especially partial to the feel good historical fiction) and some cause me anxiety on sight (the leftovers from doctorate days, kept on the highest shelf). If/when I do a declutter, THOSE bastards will be the first to go.

      Just because they are books they are not sacred. They make me think of a crummy time in my life. I shouldn’t have to keep them just because they’re bloody books!

      I don’t think we need to judge people based on which/how many books they own, or can afford to buy/store. It’s kinda gross.

      • Cidey says:

        Word. I know plenty of “educated”, narrow-minded snobs who use books as a status symbol. I’m convinced some use them as a form of decorating and haven’t even cracked the binding.

  2. Mel says:

    Exactly! My books are everything, my dream is to one day have a giant library ( and I do mean giant!) in my home. Sorry lady, but you’re not welcome at my house.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I currently own about 300 books on paper (plus another 200 or so on my Kindle) and they are my pride and joy. I started when I was maybe 6 or 7 – my parents signed me up for a book club – and now I’m in my 40′s and adore my collection. I’ve read many of them more than once, some even 3-4 times, and I’d sooner shave my head than get rid of them.

      Okay yes, it was very difficult when I moved in 2016 since I had close to 30 boxes of books alone, but even after a “cull” of the ones I didn’t want to bring with me I still had a ton. So while I agree that decluttering is not a bad idea, I wouldn’t even consider my books to be clutter…they’re my books!

    • lara says:

      Same here. And I love my cupboards full of books I have not read yet. I inherited an amazing collection and it will take years to read them all. Such a weird idea to throw them out because I did not have the time to read them.

    • Megan says:

      When we renovated our house I was forced to reckon with that fact that we had well over 1,000 books that needed packaging. I realized I was old enough and confident enough that I didn’t need books as intellectual bona fides. We kept only the books to which we had a sentimental attachment and gave the rest, along with many sets of shelving, away. I have never regretted this decision.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        With every move we have gotten rid of more because it’s just exhausting to pack and unpack, they’re very heavy (you pay for moving), bookcases take up space (you pay for storage), and so on. Getting rid of just enough books to get rid of some bookcases has really helped. We kept the tall ones to take advantage of vertical space. If we can’t fit books into them, something has to go — just like with the clothes closet.

      • Anners says:

        Yes, this. I think her method is to keep the books you love and will re-read (or that have a special place in your heart and you’re not quite ready to give them up). But I kept a bunch of university texts and heavy tomes that I got through once and would never read again because I thought it would make me look smart (ah, youth!). Now I only buy books I really love and the rest I just borrow from the library or read on my kobo. I love reading, but I’ve realized I don’t have to own all the books 😊

      • BeanieBean says:

        Same. I was the person who kept every single college textbook & they traveled with me as I built the life I currently have. Prepping for a move overseas, I realized carting my apple boxes full of books I hadn’t looked at in over 20 years was too much work. I have never used them for reference &, as mentioned, they haven’t been on shelves in awhile. Off to Goodwill with no regrets. I feel lighter & freer.

      • Danniegirl says:

        When I moved from my apartment to my house, I ran out of boxes. I considered just getting more boxes but ended up donating 90% of my books thereby negating the need to get more boxes. It felt great and after 5 years I’ve not regretted it even once. I primarily read on my kindle app and arguably there is lots of clutter on there but it felt really good to get rid of my physical books.

      • Clare says:

        @Megan THIS. My partner and I are both academics, we have so so so many books between us, despite taking dozens to respective offices. My mission for this year is to rid us of any book that we wouldn’t read for fun (necessary academic books can go to work). I don’t need to horde 80 million books to prove I’m smart/cultured/clever/whatever.

    • Slowsnow says:

      Errr Yeah. You will take my millions books away from me when I die. I am living in another city for 3 motnhs for research and noticed yesterday that I had to buy books that I don’t necessarily read right away or in a single read that I keep in a pile by the bed. I love looking at them. Will this be a problem when I go back? Yes, I will have to pay for extra luggage. But I don’t care. They will join their brothers and sisters when I arrive.

      • Arpeggi says:

        I know that you’re partially joking, but as the person who had to deal with the millions (well, thousands really) of books of a dead relative, I gotta tell you: if you want to hoard lots of books, you better already have a solution about where they’ll go once you die, ideally, with money set aside for movers and all that. Because your loved ones will curse you for the rest of their life otherwise. It’s. Not. Cool.

      • Shelley says:

        I couldn’t disagree more. When I have cleared books from past relatives, I felt like I had inherited a treasure trove. I kept so many wonderful books and donated the rest.

    • PunkyMomma says:

      It’s taken years for me to built my reference library. I can appreciate ridding yourself of books that you’ll never read again, i.e, The DaVinci Code, but the idea of culling my library down to thirty books? Nope. I’d rather give up Netflix.

      • Boudica says:

        You use the word “reference”, and I think it’s an important one. Most of my books are non-fiction works – history, botany, natural history, evolutionary biology, biographies, etc. – I refer to when I want to check something, or just read to enjoy. I tend to be a book hoarder though and admit I could – and probably should – toss that copy of The DaVinci Code and similar fiction works I will never read again, but I went through a phase of buying Penguin Classics and no way will I get rid of them because I intend to read them one day and even if I don’t I like having them. And I would definitely give up Netflix before my books.

    • Eleonor says:

      Same here.
      Once in my life I met my booksoulmate (does this exist?) I was at a work dinner of my boyfriend, he invited me because he did not want to be alone with “those people”. Poor thing he didn’t know what he was doing.
      I arrived and there sat this old professor (a physicist) BF had already told me he was a “peculiar person”, very shy. We started talking, and I discovered he wasn’t shy at all, he was as crazy as me for books. We talked about certain editions I had, certain books, we ended the evening at my place: the professor wanted to see my books, I have never been more proud in my life, BF was floored he has never seen his collegue talking so much with a stranger, what an evening LOL .

      • Candela says:

        ooh, I’m so happy for you! Yes, I cherish my booksoulmate as well! that word should exist and I’ll borrow it from now on…

    • AnotherDirtyMartini says:

      A ginormous library is my dream! Thousands of books, comfy seating, a fireplace…French doors that open out to a sweeping veranda that overlooks manicured gardens..I think I need a mansion or a castle.

    • me says:

      I move a lot (unstable unmarried 30 something ugh) and books are the hardest thing to move.

      It is so hard having to get rid of books.

      As a result of no longer being able to collect books because I’m a gypsy…I’ve learned to read books and give them away. I keep my absolute favorites that I read over and over again like a bible but I have a “book club” with my best friend and we mail each other books to each other. I also give books away to people if I read them and they are good.

      It’s really a wonderful feeling to give someone a book you just read. I liken it to cooking a meal for someone.

  3. Marianne Hord says:

    I dont think shes saying to literally throw them in trash. But you can sell them/donate them etc. But if you’re either holding on to them for years without reading, or if they’re clogging up space then yes you should get rid of some of them. Keep the ones you really like/are important to you.

    • Liane says:

      This! I did a clean-out a few years ago and only kept the books that I knew I would read again. All the thrift stores in my city accept book donations and they do a booming business re-selling them.

    • Hikaru says:

      I made so many impulse (inspirational biographies, pop psychology, self help and advice books on all sorts of things, cooking books lol, stupid YA series I am too embarrassed to name) purchases and this mentality that everything in print is precious and golden and must be protected has held me guilt tripped into keeping them for all of my 20s. Not only do I not have the space to keep them, I don’t even enjoy most of them because they were written in “what can fit onto one page but spread it all over a book” format and aren’t even that deep or useful in the end. About 70% of it is essentially the literary equivalent of fast food. They just sit there reminding me of my own stupidity and all the money I wasted on them.

      I also have many books on time management, organizing your life, how to make money, and decluttering of all things. Shiver me timbers.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Ditto on the organizing and decluttering – I just really enjoy reading these books and trying out their ideas. I guess I like systems and methods.

    • Jenns says:

      Exactly this. If you love your books, keep them. But it’s also fine to pass them on to someone else. I personally like passing on my books after I read them. I don’t usually re-read most novels, so there’s no reason for them to sit on a shelf when someone else can enjoy the story.

      I also just learned that about a project that accepts donated books and sends them to prison libraries. It’s another donation option if your friends/libraries/schools won’t accept them.

      • Abby says:

        Tell me about this program??

      • tealily says:

        @Abby, similar programs exist in lots of cities (I know there’s one in mine, I know of a few others). Do a Google search for book donations to prisoners or something similar and I’m sure you can find one near you. They can’t accept everything (prisons often limit what can be donated), but it’s a great place for your books to go! Our organization will also periodically release lists of requests from the folks getting the books looking for something specific.

    • Jo says:

      I agree, I’m not taking her literally, and also that instead of thinking an item has to spark “joy”, it needs to be meaningful in your life. We just moved, and I did a major clear out of so many things, and we donated a lot of books to our local library. The town I live in now has a Little Free Library program where boxes are set up around town for people to take a book, and has donations boxes for books too. Little Free Library is a great program!

    • minx says:

      I’m in my 60s and my husband and I used to have lots and lots and lots of books. Two years ago we went through them and donated books we never re-read, old college textbooks, books that we didn’t have any connection to. Honestly, I don’t miss them. My house feels cleaner and I never think, of what happened to that book? If I wanted one I would buy it again, and I haven’t done that yet. Of course I kept treasured books. I’m at an age where I don’t want to be dusting.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Minx, same age here and we’re going through that process. I work with a city book sale and they won’t resell textbooks more than a certain number of years old (maybe 5?) but they arrange for the older books to be taken by a recycling service.

        Moral: don’t wait on those textbooks, peeps.

        Finding textbooks from 100 years ago is fascinating. They were quality from cover to cover.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Having a major annual city book sale to donate too makes a big difference; I keep one carton in the basement and drop books in there routinely. If you love books, volunteering to prepare for these sales can be a lot of fun – you get to sort other people’s books and probably scoop some up at a deep discount in advance of the sale, too.

    • Slowsnow says:

      I donate books that I know are not great and I will not read more than once. But it still makes for a huge library of far more than the 30 books advised. It makes me sad to have to choose between my beloved books.

  4. Lala11_7 says:

    My books are my friends…that I revisit time and time again…

    My money is NOT to be played with…which I use to purchase my friends….



    • L84Tea says:

      I completely understand. I take my relationships with my books and book characters very seriously. I am one of those people who feels like they become a part of you.

    • Erinn says:

      I just can’t bring myself to watch this show. I look at the photos … I see miserable people who are overwhelmed with their lives thinking that just getting rid of things will solve all of their personal problems and it’s SAD. And then you see Marie Kondo (or any other host for shows like this) that look meticulously put together to the point where they seem like a character and not a real person. I just can’t do that. It’s not realistic to live life in perfect precise order at all times.

      And the people who are overwhelmed in a marriage and with kids and still trying to have a perfect household and perfect life might feel better from getting their home under control. BUT it’s not a solution to their problems. It’s not going to fix their lives. It’ll take something off of their plate, but from what I’ve seen this show is being sold as this ‘fix your life’ kind of program and I think it’s irresponsible.

      • Victoria says:

        Erin ITA, the couple seem miserable they have a housekeeper or something and still something is up… it’s like you need marriage counseling not a lady telling you to clean up

      • lucy2 says:

        I finished the rest of the episodes the other day – I don’t recall anyone seeming miserable, just mostly a little overwhelmed by stuff, not realizing just how much they had, and unsure of how to start – which keeps a lot of people from starting at all.
        There did seem to be an imbalance of household chores in a couple of the marriages, and the one woman was dealing with the loss of her husband and trying to move forward, but I didn’t get the impression that any of them were miserable or unwell, like on Hoarders.

      • Slowsnow says:

        I got the same vible @Erinn – not that they were completely miserable but something was super off, especially with the women weirdly.
        Also agree with your vision of Marie Kondo – she is cartoonish sometimes in an endearing way but for me that does not make good television. She seems not to understand people sometimes and their sorrows.
        Also, I fast forwarded a lot to get to the final moments and ended up giving up on it because it is actually… a super boring show that does not spark joy! 🤷🏻‍♀️

      • Esmom says:

        I haven’t watched the show yet but I have to say that 25 years ago when I was in a stressful job I somehow realized that if my house was neat and organized then I could handle the chaos at work much better than on the days when I came home to a messy house. Then when I had a child with special needs and quit work, the same principle applied. The messier my house was, the more my stress seemed to escalate. So I actually believe that reducing clutter significantly might actually help “fix” people’s lives. Or at least a portion of their lives, so they can devote adequate energy to the bigger issues.

      • LNG says:

        Esmom – yes, 100%! When I am particularly stressed out either at work or at home the first thing I do is clean up. I feel to much better when things are tidy. I can’t even describe the impact it has on my mental health.

        Also, for all of you saying you could never get rid of your books – she’s not talking to you! The books obviously give you joy and aren’t a source of stress or anxiety.

      • tealily says:

        “The messier my house was, the more my stress seemed to escalate.” Yes!!! This is where I’m at. I feel so much calmer when my space isn’t cluttered.

  5. Amelie says:

    Books do take up a lot of space and can clutter but as a voracious reader I refuse to throw away books. There are quite a few books in my library I wouldn’t mind parting ways with as in donating to a library or giving away to other people. And Goodwill does take books, I’ve seen books in their stores before. But to throw them out (into the recycling bin I guess? You can recycle books?) is ludicrous. Unless they are self help or something like Princeton Review prepping you for the 2005 SAT or old school textbooks maybe. But throwing out books is so wasteful considering they come from trees.

    • Victoria says:

      Exactly! If you have old regents books or the test prep books it’s ok to donate or pass on. I loathe clutter and my last relationship it was a point of tension because who keeps clothes from high school that you don’t wear and god forbid I go to the mothers house and ask why is there a nursing exam prep book and none of the sons are in nursing school??? I donated books to the veterans or lupus associations who picked it up. If it’s beloved and you read keep it, if it collects dust just get rid of it

    • Arpeggi says:

      You can totally throw books to recycling. At some point you sort of have to because many essays and text books become irrelevant. Most charities won’t accept encyclopedia, dictionaries or text books for that reason and they’ll recycle the ones they’ll receive anyway because they’d never find a home and will only take up space. Also, books will dry up or become moldy and be damaged by the sun and other every day stuff, after a couple of decades in an apartment, I can guarantee you that some books are not in a good enough condition to be donated anymore and recycling the fibers is about the only good thing left to do to them

    • Allie says:

      @Amelie: I watched all 8 episodes and I never heard Marie tell people to throw away or recycle books. The people who got rid of books donated them.

  6. Babadook says:

    I like Marie Kondo a lot, but her show doesn’t do it for me. I’ve really been enjoying Consumed on Netflix. It’s a Canadian show from the start of the decade. It’s very, very overblown and very 2011 – nothing like Marie Kondos thoughtful, meticulous joy finding. Trash TV at its finest.

    • Mel M says:

      Really? Oh I binged it. I love love love organization, talking about it, thinking about it, seeing it. Watching other people purge and get organized sparked lots of joy in me lol. It’s just so satisfying to me.

      • Victoria says:

        Mel can we be friends??? I love organizing. The container store is my fav store haha

      • Mel M says:

        @victoria- YES! The container store can take all my money!! I used to be so organized and then I had kids. I’m still decently organized but there isn’t the time anymore and we’ve moved three times in the last six years so thengs have become quiet the jumble in the basement and that’s the place that drives me the most nuts. I have boxes of stuff I need to just get to. I get this from my dad so luckily when he comes to visit he will organize something lol.

      • Victoria says:

        @ Mel – I have stuff in my garage that I keep in tubs for work, I teach in kids homes so the constant switching toys and cleaning has made me anxious since I’m limited on my own space. I get it. I want to follow the Swedes

      • Mel M says:

        @victoria- not to pry and you don’t have to answer but are you a therapist or special needs teacher by chance? My oldest daughter has epilepsy and she’s had therapy since she was three months, she almost seven now. Anyway, a lot of her therapists over the years say they have a separate bag of toys and stuff for her because she’s pretty medically fragile and she is significantly delayed so it’s not like she will only have therapy for a year or two. I just think I can’t imagine having a huge bag for each child at my house, yikes! We also now live in the same neighborhood as her old DT and she has told me that she has a room in the basement full of toys and she is always going to garage sales and second hand stores to find new things but that she needs to clean the room out at the same time lol.

      • Victoria says:

        Yes ma’am I work in EI. I hope your daughter is doing better! Yeah I don’t have kids and recently saw my work stuff going for bid on eBay for $$$ (fisher price cause and effect pop up toys) so there’s another option for ya – turn that trash into cash – ugh I’m so corny

  7. Millennial says:

    Marie has discussed useful objects (like the can opener) many times, so it sounds like they just aren’t familiar with her ideas. She says if it’s something you use often, then it likely is sparking joy. Can opener —> food. Most people like to eat :)

    As for books, I’m a librarian, so you’d think I’d be a book hoarder but I’m the complete opposite. I can have literally any book I want if I’m willing to wait on a hold or an inter library loan (and that’s true of anyone with access to a public library – even ebook collections are robust these days) so I don’t bother keeping many in my home. The ones in my home are super special – illustrated editions or books I want to refer to often.

    • Liane says:

      Fellow librarian here! Many people assume I’d be a book hoarder too, but nope. Must be all the weeding I had to do at one of my jobs. I only keep books I know I’ll read again. And I use my public library regularly. I like the tweet embedded above in the article: “let me tell you about an item that I have that sparks joy like none other: my #library card.”

      • Esmom says:

        Yes, that tweet is perfect. Libraries are such special spaces and definitely one of my top happy places.

    • Micky says:

      Just popping in to say I’m a librarian too and I don’t particularly love books. I got into the profession because I love information in general. I got rid of loads of my own books when I moved, but kept a few that had sentimental value.

      • Justme says:

        I’m a librarian too. I did get into librarianship because I love books (when I started the Internet was just ARPANET!) I have built-in bookshelves on my house and they are all full all the time. When we run out of space, we weed and donate old books that we don’t want anymore. But we keep classic novels, art books and history – and believe it or not, we read books which bought many years ago and never quite go around to. I work in an Academic library, so there is a good choice of the sort of book I want to read (although a lot of the budget these days goes to databases, not books), but public libraries tend to have nothing but contemporary fiction and best sellers – which I find boring, so although I have a card, I rarely use it.

      • K says:

        I’d love to hear your thoughts, librarians. I would LOVE to be a librarian, but I have my degree in social work. All the job listings I see require a degree in library science. If I had the money, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Thoughts or tips? Should I apply or will it be wasting time?

      • Millennial says:

        K – definitely do it if that’s what you want to do. If you want to be an academic librarian, I personally recommend going to to an in-person program where you can get also get professional job experience working at the university library. Most entry level positions expect at least some previous experience.

      • Justme says:

        @K- if you are looking for a program and want to get into Academic Librarianship also be sure that the program is ALA (American Library Association) accredited. Not every program is and some employers will eliminate candidates who are not from an ALA accredited program.

        And I agree with @Millennial – getting some library experience at a college or university library is a real plus.

      • K says:

        Thank you!

    • whimsigal says:

      Thank you for putting this out there. Obviously, most people won’t find joy in a can opener and that’s not what she’s suggesting people think about when going through the things in the kitchen. Her advice was more along the lines of, how will this help you in the future. Some of us hold onto things just because and they end up dragging us down because we can’t let them go, for whatever reason. I like her show and I adore her. She’s very kind and compassionate when helping others.

  8. Mel M says:

    Well obviously if you love them and they mean a lot to you you keep them. I love to read and spent most of my free time reading before I had kids. I went to the library a lot though. I just got rid of a bunch of books a few months ago that we had in our basement in boxes, a lot of them I hadn’t read or hadn’t in years and there was no way I was going to find the time to reread a book in the the near future since I am drowning in toddlers at the moment. If I’m going to find the time to read right now it’s going to be new. Or if I reread it’s going to be one that does bring me joy and kept. It felt good getting rid of books that I liked but knew I wasn’t going to reread and were just taking up space. I donated them too not just tossed them in the garbage so someone else can now enjoy them.

  9. L84Tea says:

    No way, my books stay. The only time I get rid of books is when they are terrible and I know for an absolute fact I would never read it again. And even then I still hang on to them for too long. Shelves full of books makes me happy.

  10. Lizzie says:

    i recently moved and we donated so many books. i thought it would be hard but it was ok! my husband and i looked at each one and decided anything we would re-read or want to share – we would keep. anything else was donated. we ended up keeping about 40 books and donating close to 100. it actually felt really good to know we kept our favorites and some classics but let go of some of the crappers we had laying around. we vowed to not buy any new and read all unread books within a year of moving and i only have one left. my deadline is march! our rural library and adult care facility were very thankful. we also took a hard look at board games…which you can almost always say “well we’ll play it someday”….actually no, we wouldn’t but its nice to know that someone else gets to enjoy them!

  11. Gail says:

    You know who also wants you to get rid of books? Moving companies! I was horrified when I had someone come over for an estimate once and that was like the first thing out of their mouth. (I mean, I get it — they’re heavy, they take up room, etc.), but I SAID GOOD DAY, SIR.

  12. Rachael Prest says:

    I used to feel very attached to my books. I had thousands. Then I moved onto a boat and put them in storage. A year later, I couldn’t even remember what was in there, and pretty much took the whole lot, unopened, to a second-hand book shop. Never regretted it. Now it’s one in, one out.

    Yarn, on the other hand…

    • Shijel says:

      It’s surprising how moving some things you think you love into ‘storage’ puts things in perspective, isn’t it? I had to move out of my home two years ago, could only take 1/4 of the stuff I had and cherished with me. Moved the rest of it to storage.

      I don’t miss any of the stuff that’s in my storage right now. Not one piece of it. And yet there was a time I couldn’t imagine getting rid of them. They’re just clutter to me now, probably some interesting things there. But I’m really just considering allowing my relatives to go and rifle through that stuff, see if they want to take anything with. Maybe some books they enjoyed that I didn’t enjoy enough to take with me to my new place, but liked enough to consider them worthy of storing.

      • Anon says:

        That is exactly her point in her books. You should be able to see and get to your prized possessions. Then you use and enjoy what you have. Recognising that most of us don’t have infinite space she is trying to encourage prioritising in the way you do when you put stuff into storage. I kept most of my books, but I threw away basically everything I put in storage for a couple years, for the same reason. If you don’t see or use or for 5 years do you really need it?

    • mildlynerdy says:

      I’ve moved almost every year the last ten years, and I had this same experience. Now I think moving metric tons of books just to have a ‘personal library’ is an entitlement of a previous generation. So much wasted effort, time, gas, etc.

  13. Adrien says:

    No, no, no. Marie Kondo, how dare you suggest that I get rid of my Mills and Boon and Danielle Steel collection..

    • Adrien says:

      I don’t look down on chick lit. When my grandma died, she left tons of them in her room. She bought them at thrift shops and second hand bookstores. My mom wanted to throw them away but I kept them for sentimental reasons, they kept my grandma entertained when grandpa died. Friends make fun of me when they see them but whatever. I miss my grandma and they don’t have to spark joy.

    • Pamy says:

      Adrien, I love Mills and Boon. The older ones specifically. Where do you find them in US

  14. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I recently lost all of my books due to a flood in our building’s storage space. I had about 600 books. Books that I had collected throughout my 38 years of life. Classics, limited editions, books from my teen years. Some of them can’t be replaced. Lots had specific memories attached to them. Honestly if I didn’t have more serious things going on in my life right now, I would have turned into a puddle of despair over it. I frankly have always found Kondo’s method rather dumb. There are tons of things we use on a daily basis that don’t bring us “joy” but we would be unable to live without. Yes books take up space and I will probably spend the next few years replacing what I can with digital copies. But throwing books away? I think not.

    • Mel M says:

      She talks about those things we need though and if you have a lot of stuff but it doesn’t bother you or bring you grief then there’s no need to declutter right? Unless you are to the level of hoarders which is I think a completely different mental issue then just having a lot of stuff. Her method in my opinion, and really why declutter organozation method, is for people who are bothered by it and want to change.

    • Abby says:

      Ah! I’m so sorry! I lost a couple of boxes of my books when we were in transition between two houses and they went to storage. The unit leaked and they got all moldy. They weren’t first editions, but they were my favorite books of a lifetime. Books I kept when I weeded out books to make some extra cash. They had made it through several moves. And then they were ruined. I cried.

  15. Case says:

    Getting rid of my favorite books or unread books would be a huge no for me (I have a difficult time walking into a bookstore and not buying a book, even if I have several others lined up to read before it). But getting rid of some books — books I started but didn’t like enough to finish, or didn’t find that interesting? I happily donate those. I love reading and I love my books, but it can get out of hand when you’re dealing with a small home and can’t part with any books. It’s not a huge deal to declutter and donate sometimes.

    • Thirsty Hirsty says:

      @Case – ah, you hit the nail on the head for me….books I started but didn’t like enough to finish….MAKE ME FEEL GUILTY!! I have some of those…more than I want to, or should. I keep thinking I’m being rude; I keep thinking I’ll finish them ‘one day’. So, they do not spark joy, they spark guilt, and can go…in fact, will go this weekend, I promise. On the other hand, I have books I often re=read (Andrew Greeley’s ‘The Senator and The Priest’ and Rita Mae Brown’s books for example); it’s like visiting with an old friend. My dog books (which I write notes in about the dogs I know and have loved) will be with me till the day I die.
      I went to Netflix, and watched her show, and immediately folded my undergarments via her method, and my undershirts (every colour of the rainbow) and discovered MUCH more drawer space than I thought I had, and duplicates of a couple of colours I don’t wear that often (hot pink, anyone?), so she’s helped me more in this way than ANY other organizer. I’ll let you know if I’m still folding via her method in a month or 10. She’s sweet. I will watch more of her show, because I am desperate for a paperwork method that’s more than…drop the junk mail into the recycle bin immediately (done and done) but there is paperwork on my desk that I’m frozen about. I have drawers and files full of paperwork and need to learn how to cull. I keep thinking….but I may need that one day!!

  16. OriginalLala says:

    I don’t know man…I’m a academic and so is my hubby, we have so many books and articles in our home office and in our work offices.. I dont think I could whittle them down to 30!

  17. Cee says:

    I don’t understand why this upsets people so much. I’m a bookworm and own a lot of books. Every two months I declutter my library and donate books I liked but didn’t love, and those I haven’t reread in years. I still keep my very special collection of “books I adored and would never part from” and those I want to pass down to my future children/nieces/nephews. If I didn’t do this, I would be drowning in books. Reason why I’ve begun purchasing more ebooks.

    • Annabel says:

      Same! I love books. I own thousands. I routinely get rid of ones that don’t spark joy, because life’s too short to keep books that only spark yawns.

    • greenmonster says:

      I don’t get it either. She is not telling people to throw them all away. I decluttered years ago and don’t regret it. I kept the books I really enjoyed and/or will read again. Everything else was sold or thrown away (Patricia Cornwell’s book about Jack the Ripper was utter trash and belonged in the bin).

    • Nicole76705 says:

      Agreed. I live in a tiny house and I can collect a massive amount of books. Every 6 months or so, I’ll go through my one bookcase and purge. The top two shelves are for my forever books, ie Harry Potter, Little House on the Prairie, Number the Stars….these books definitely spark joy for me from different periods in my life. I can see what she’s saying. If I could afford a bigger house, I would love a massive library.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree – I don’t think people are understanding her method, at no point did she say “get rid of all books” or even “most books”. Just gather ALL of them in one place to see the total group, and keep the ones you want and need. Those you don’t want or need can be donated. That’s it.

      I love books. I collect antique books with pretty covers, I have a lot of art and architecture books, stuff I’ve read and wanted to keep, and stuff to be read. I moved a few years ago and moved a LOT of books, but I was also able to really weed out a whole bunch I didn’t need. A few I sold online, a few I sold at consignment, and the rest were donated.

      • Thirsty Hirsty says:

        You know what I need to do this with? My DVD collection….it’s ridiculous!

      • lucy2 says:

        I did that with my DVDs a few times too – there are some I won’t let go of yet, but I got it down to 1 shelf in my TV cabinet, rather than the 2 1/2 it used to be. Same thing – sold a few, donated the rest.

      • Cee says:

        Yes on doing this with DVD collections! I moved a few months ago and decluttered clothes, books and DVDs. I only kept my favourite DVDs.
        Now, in the other hand, I can’t bring myself to declutter my vinyl collection.

      • Parigo says:

        Yes, my records are what books are to some people. Even something I haven’t listened to in years I would never part with because my collection sparks joy. If you feel that strongly about your books then they pass the joy test.

        I almost feel like Kondo hating is in vogue and it’s so stupid. She has a lot of great ideas especially for Americans who have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF. You can take it or leave it.

        Some stuff I read is almost racist, like she’s so “little” “child like” “baby voiced” “weird”

        Personally, she sparks joy in me 😘

  18. Shijel says:

    Right, something strange’s happening here with the defensive comments.

    I don’t know. I love reading too, but I stripped my ‘library’ down to the bones, and now all of the books I’ve left are the ones I truly, utterly loved, and want to have on myself as a part of displaying to my visitors who I am. Here you can actually observe what books really mean for people: do people hoard books because they love their content so much, or do they hoard them because they like them, but also want to be seen as someone who reads a lot and is ‘bookish’ and ‘cultured’? I know I held onto many books I’ve now donated not because I particularly enjoyed them, but because I enjoyed the idea of having books in my home, and coming across as someone who reads. Though, lol, I suppose these days I can always leave my sweet e-reader on my tabletop if I want to communicate my love of reading. It’s a mid-range model, not cheap, not so expensive you’d think I bought it just to show off. It speaks: I read.

    Marie Kondo’s all about that ‘spark joy’ bit. Clearly all of your books spark joy to you. And so you keep them! Why some people are behaving like the mere suggestion of taking a look at your personal library and considering downsizing a bit, if at all, is her telling you to torch it all is beyond me.

    And when you get rid of books, donate them. There’s always places that’ll take well-kept books.

    • L84Tea says:

      I personally like to keep my books because I am an avid re-reader. When I like a book, chances are I am going to go back and read it again at some point.

    • Chris says:

      I completely agree, I am surprised at how many people are acting like she asked them to throw their pets in the garbage can. If you dont agree with her then that is fine, keep your books. Is it because of the internet that no one can just react with a ::shrug:: “nah” anymore? Just say “good for you, not for me.” People love their books and collecting them, I am one of those people. I have a huge bookshelf of books and they aren’t going anywhere. I usually only lose books when I let people “borrow” them. I am not going to angrily tweet about this small nice lady when shes just making a decluttering suggestion.

      I liked the show, I worry about the couple in the first episode because I felt uncomfortable watching them fight. I just can’t personally get down with the idea of thanking inanimate objects before I throw them away, but I guess the point is to be grateful which is nice. Tried her folding method and I like it, easier to see the stuff in your drawer. Otherwise, I dont need to have an organized junk drawer, it’s a junk drawer. So good for her, not for me.

    • Himmiefan says:

      Yeah, I donated a ton of books and kept just the very special ones (2 bookcases worth). I’m all about e-books now, either buying them or getting downloading them from the library.

      When I cleaned out my parents’ apartment, I hauled bag after bag of hard bound books to the library, and let me tell you, hard bound books get pretty heavy pretty quickly. I actually irritated my sciatic nerve from all the hauling (I was not a happy camper). So yes, the sight of tons of books stresses me out! Someone’s got to move them someday!

  19. Laur says:

    I don’t think they get her point. A book will bring you joy if it challenges you or perturbs you, the joy is different but if you liked it and it made you think, keep it. And she isn’t saying chuck everything in the bin, I think we can all safely say you either sell, donate or recycle your unwanted goods without needing it explicitly explained. I get rid of books I know I won’t read again even if I enjoyed it at the time. After all if I change my mind and want to read it again there’s always the library.

    • Case says:

      Agreed. If a book made you feel ANYTHING deep — sad, disturbed, challenged — it will still “spark joy” when you think about it, because it impacted you on an emotional level. So you’d keep it. Marie Kondo’s method wouldn’t mean that you can only keep light, fluffy stories with happy endings lol.

      • Chris says:

        Yeah I think her “Spark Joy” is a catch-all for bringing something positive into your life. I don’t think she literally means “Only keep the things that make you ecstatically happy.” By that measure, I’d throw away my vacuum.

  20. bears says:

    I have shelves and shelves of books – most of which I have read. Some of them are keepers as I will definitely read them again – but the ones that I didn’t enjoy and probably won’t read again? I’m certainly not going to keep them cluttering up my shelves because of the “image” they project to my guests. What image are they even projecting? That I’m pretentious and want people to think I’m smart? Ugh. Same for hanging on to books that people have given me, that I said I’d read, but let’s be honest – if I really wanted to read them, I would have done it at some point in the last 2, 3, 10 years. Decluttering your house starts with being honest with yourself and curbing your hoarding tendencies.

  21. Valerie says:

    I don’t know. I have a lot of books that I don’t read and will never read cluttering up my library. The shelves are packed and stacked to hell. Some of them aren’t even mine, just old books my parents kept. There are some books I’d never get rid of but if they aren’t being read, they should be given to someone who will appreciate them. Donate or sell them!

  22. Abby says:

    I will not get rid of books. When I was younger I bought a lot more books, and I’d get rid of books I didn’t care for. But now 95% of the books I read I have gotten from the library. The books I buy are staying!!

    I agree that books belong in a different category.

    Also, I’ve not read her book or watched her show but almost every person on my social media feed has, it seems! EVERYONE is watching this show right now.

  23. Becks1 says:

    I love books and having books around (some studies indicate that simply having books in the house can help kids read more throughout life and do better in school), but I do kind of see her point. I have boxes and boxes of books in my basement; books that have moved with me several times. Some I have read, some I haven’t (but I will one day! Maybe? lol.)* Some of those can be given away with very little fanfare on my part. But in general, the books that I have on bookshelves and such DO spark joy for me or whatever, so they will stay.

    That said, I do understand her overall point about decluttering and tidying up. My SIL is a constant declutterer, she has no qualms about donating or throwing things away (I get stupidly attached to stuff like that shirt I wore 5 years ago but haven’t worn since) and her house is insanely clean and calm. It’s not because she’s an obsessive CLEANER, she just doesn’t have “stuff” lying around. everything in the house is what she wants at that time and what they are currently using. And it makes a huge difference.

    *Among the books I haven’t read but maybe will some day – the Magical Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo lol.

  24. Anon says:

    I think the show is an over-simplification of what she says in the book. I have 3000 books in a room that I turned into a library this year, with proper built in wall shelves (Ikea!), and every time I go in there my heart lifts. I am sure that counts as sparking joy. They are also all in one place and ordered so I can see what I have.

    That’s basically what her system is about. If you can see what you have and can easily get to it, you appreciate it more and you don’t keep buying the same thing over and over. That often involves being a bite more thoughtful about what you keep. Storage isn’t the only answer because who has the energy to go rooting under the bed in boxes every time they need a scarf?

    The books sure as hell didn’t spark joy when they were all in boxes for a couple of years – I bought the same book more than once and having to climb over them to get to anything else was a PITA. When I emptied the boxes onto the shelves I was overjoyed to see most of them again. But having read her book did also make me think quite carefully about whether I was really going to read airport novels and such again, and I sent a few hundred books to the charity shop. Including hers! I am sure she would approve.

  25. Penguen says:

    Yeah, not happening. My books are like old friends.

  26. Livethelifeaquatic says:

    Did anyone else watch episode one with the friend family? I got strong alcoholic vibes. Especially when the mom literally fell over.

    • Laughysaphy says:

      Yes… Something more is going on with that family than just clutter. The mom seemed slightly, desperate? Maybe? For help beyond what an organizer could provide. The episode made me sad.

      • lucy2 says:

        That was the one household that felt…uncomfortable to me. I got the impression that the mom was overwhelmed by having 2 young kids and didn’t seem happy, but trying to put on a good image. The husband didn’t really either, it seemed like he was working a lot and couldn’t figure out why she couldn’t get stuff done at home (and was hiring someone to do laundry).
        They seemed happier at the end, hopefully it’s going better for them.

    • megs283 says:

      wow, that’s a big accusation. I did not get “alcoholic vibes.” I just saw a family who is overworked and overwhelmed, which is sadly normal these days.

  27. Faithmobile says:

    First, She never says to throw books in the trash or to get rid of books that you want. Second, I’m so tired of people criticizing her method without reading the book. Kondo wants you to love and appreciate your possessions. Does that pile of books give you anxiety? Do they need a shelf? If you love your books great, now treat them that way.

    I have been practicing the Konmari method for three years and my house only ever needs ten minutes to tidy up(and I’m a book lover). It may not work for everyone but for those it does, it’s magical!

  28. Murphy says:

    If the thought of getting rid of the books results in this kind of reaction it means the books do give you some sort of joy and thus you shouldn’t get rid of them, calm the eff down.

    • molly says:

      The “get rid of books” clearly doesn’t apply to most book lovers here. It applies to people like me. I’m not, nor have I ever been, a big reader. I WANT to be a book person, so every year or so I go on a kick and buy a few. But it’s a new hobby I don’t keep. A fluffy celeb memoir I won’t read again. A novel I didn’t finish.

      Do I need to purge these forgotten books boxed away all over the place? Absolutely. Do the rest of you with sunny, organized shelves of beloved stories gathered over the decades need to purge? Absolutely not.

  29. Lady Keller says:

    I wish my husband would get rid of some of his books. He never rereads them. To me a lot of them are just taking up valuable space. My kids have tons of books but they can read the same book 50 times.

  30. lee says:

    In her own book she actually suggests that you rip the pages out of the books you like so that you can keep the best parts, but not the whole book. This is just straight up ridiculous. I mean, if you dig her advice, that great, but I thought it was a big “meh”.

  31. Arpeggi says:

    When my grandad died last spring, I had to fly to Paris to empty the apt he and my grandma had shared for the past 45 years. As their primary caregiver (dad died a long time ago and he was an only child, my grandad’s kids from a previous union are useless), knowing I’d have to do this some day used to give me anxiety attacks because they were massive hoarders, especially for books. There wasn’t a wall that wasn’t covered by a bookshelf, not a sofa’s arm that didn’t have a pile of books on it.

    I donated more than 200 art books (those big expensive books you buy at the museum bookstore? they’d get them for “free” with their Louvre subscription…). Had to find a charity that’d come pick up the rest and packed more than 2,000 books for that. I still had to send to recycling another 2,000 or so cuz they were in bad shape and/or too dated (no one cares about a white man’s perspective of Indochine from the 1960s). I’m not even talking about the old newspapers and magazines they kept in the basement, some of them were older than when they moved into that place! I had 2 weeks to deal with all that on my own (my 79yo great-aunt helped as much as a 79yo person can). It wasn’t fun, it didn’t bring me joy and I’m still angry at my grandparents for having me dealing with their crap…

    I know that the idea of a house full of books sounds romantic and all that but IRL, it’s not. You’re not doing anyone a favour if you don’t go through your collection once in a while and get rid of some of it. And plan for what’s going to happen to all your books once you’re gone because your lovely book collection will become someone else’s nightmare otherwise.

    • Dara says:

      I feel you. I can see a very-near future when my elderly parents will no longer be able to live on their own in their house. A house they’ve lived in for half a century, every nook and cranny filled with anything and everything you can name, all of which will have to be examined, sorted, and dealt with at some point. My mom knows she should be clearing the unimportant things out, and I’ve been trying to encourage and help her, but she just can’t bring herself to do it. I found her going through a kitchen drawer one afternoon and I thought maybe she’d finally gotten there – but nope. 99% of the contents went back into that drawer, with a few token things she’d never used designated for Goodwill, and even those few things took serious negotiation before I could convince her to let go. The drawer was no less cluttered after an entire afternoon of agonizing over what could be discarded and what was too precious to lose. She is as emotionally attached to the countless plastic measuring cups and containers she’s accumulated over her lifetime as she is to the few actual valuables in the house. I dread the day when there is no option to simply put everything back and try again later.

      • Whatnow says:


        As I commented down at the bottom of this thread I have cleaned out too many people’s houses helping out friends that I couldn’t bear it if I did that to anybody

  32. couchie says:

    I actually did get rid of 95% of my books a couple years ago. After two degrees and plenty of reading on the side for enjoyment, there were hundreds of books collecting dust. And I am not one to re-read books. For me it was just cluttering up my field of vision, and I don’t miss them at all. I kept a few for my guestroom, and donated/sold the rest. Now I do all my reading on ebooks from the library. Now I just have my kids books.

  33. Miss Jupitero says:

    I’m a poet and my shelves are groaning with small press books. I have an entire shelf devoted just to books my friends wrote. And now I am turning into a collector of small press editions and early twentieth century literary publishers.

    My apartment is more or less propped up by books. I could never do this. The whole thing sparks joy in me and keeps me sane in this scary world we live in.

  34. BendyWindy says:

    Meh. When we met, my husband had a bookshelf full of inherited books that were little read. Getting rid of them was fine. I’m not into books as status symbols or “look at how educated and well cultured I am.” If you’re reading the books or keeping them as reference or because although they don’t spark joy, they do spark SOMETHING, keep them.

    If surrounding yourself with books makes you feel joy, keep them. If not, nix them. This isn’t hard, people. I have a copy of Elie Wiesel’s Night. It doesn’t bring me joy, but I will never part with it because it changed my life and made me FEEL. Focus on that more than the word joy and I think you’ll be fine.

  35. Hi says:

    I donated all my books about 10 years ago, once I got tired of boxing them up and moving them from house to house 1 too many times. I was a little sad, but realized I could just buy any books that I regretted giving away.

    In ten years, I’ve re-bought 1 or 2 books. I don’t miss the clutter at all. I use the library and free book boxes around town. I have a small bookshelf for my faves.

  36. Joy says:

    She’s not saying throw them all away. But when you can’t use a space because of the hundreds of books you have laying around, something needs to give. People are so extreme. They hear one tiny bit of something and go off the rails. Keep your books but organize them.

    • Mel M says:

      Right? People are taking this way to personally. My gosh.

    • Carey says:

      I suspect that a lot of these extreme book collectors are hoarders who dress it up in lofty ideals. Kind of like animal collectors who hide in the cloak of animal rescue. And before anyone yells at me I’m a writer and I own four cats. I’m not a minimalist in the least but imo if you’re going into a rage over the idea of releasing a single book, something is not right.

  37. Anitas says:

    I think a lot of people kicking up fuss over this are purposely misinterpreting her point to advertise how amazingly intellectual they are with their huge book collections they’re incredibly attached to. I saw a few unintentionally hilarious tweets, I mean come on.
    I’m a voracious reader, but god knows I have books lying around I’ll never read again, nor do they have any particular emotional value to me, and I could use a good clearout.

  38. megs283 says:

    Not sure why people are acting like this is Gospel and you HAVE to do something that someone suggests…? Take parts of her advice or leave it. NBD.

  39. M.A.F. says:

    The only books I get rid of are the books that I have read and ended up not caring for them. Those end up at the library. I’ve done a few purges over the years, which I find necessary ( I do this with my clothes as well).

  40. Giddy says:

    A few years ago I told my three grown sons that I was going to purge the house and that included their old rooms. If they really treasured old textbooks or high school papers, come get them. I gave them a deadline that was a year away to give them plenty of time. I issued reminders and reassured them that I would not throw out their baseball card collections, but please take them home. After I really pushed them they all found time to come to the house and take care of this. They surprised themselves with how little they kept, and they enjoy the house more now. Not once has anyone said they miss that shelf-clogging set of Encyclopedia Brittanica. However, I kept and love all the children’s books that we read to them. Those form the core of the books that I adore.

    • Trashaddict says:

      I envy you Giddy. Out of 5 people in our family, 2 of us are hoarders. +/- me, depending on the day. It’s not newspapers up to the ceiling, but an adult keeping clothes from 8th grade is pretty extreme (finally got rid of those). I have to toss things when people aren’t home.
      But my parents grew up in the Depression and tossing often feels wrong. I try to take stuff to Good Will. I’d like to donate toys but so many places will only accept new ones.
      As far as books: 1) only want to save the ones I know I will read again (or hope I will one day read to wished-for grandchildren) 2) I’ve discovered if you’re slogging through a book, don’t waste time on it, life is too short and there are better books out there 3) sometimes, books are a nice antidote to the internet 4) I like to turn pages!
      If anyone has ideas about what to do with school textbooks that are a few years old, I’d love to hear ideas.
      I’d like to start a trend: swap/giveaway parties. Invite people over, let them look around and see what they want. If you’re willing to part with it, so be it. Also “lending libraries” for things like tools and crafts would be great.

  41. Esmom says:

    I used to buy and keep a ton of books but after Hurricane Katrina — which didn’t affect me but really got me thinking about what I would do if I lost everything — I felt bogged down by way too much stuff. I donated a ton of books and only kept enough to fit in the two bookcases I have. My process was to keep only the ones that meant a lot to me or that I thought I might read again or that my husband or kids might want to read. I’ve done great at keeping that number steady, mostly because I get almost all my books from the library. And when I buy new ones, I purge an equal number of old ones (which is actually what the library does since they don’t have unlimited space either).

    Reading is my favorite pastime but I’m just not as attached to the books themselves anymore. Somehow I feel better knowing someone else might be enjoying them instead of just gathering dust on my shelf.

  42. MrsPanda says:

    I’m no expert but I’ve watched a few episodes of Marie on Netflix and I found her so calming and positive. It seems the Konmari method appeals to many people who feel their home is too cluttered and they have become a bit overwhelmed. They want some order and help with the ”process” of decluttering and freeing up some space – some structure to even know where to start. She breaks it down into 5 steps (clothes, books, paperwork, miscellaneous and finally, sentimental items). In the episodes I watched, people felt much lighter and happier after they’d done this process. Not everyone wants or needs to de-clutter. If you don’t feel overwhelmed by your belongings and you have adequate storage then this process wouldn’t appeal to you. The Book police won’t come for you…. don’t worry!

  43. Shelley says:

    I think she is a sweet lady and I read her book. I can’t stand the show though. And my books aren’t going anywhere. I love her method of thanking things before you get rid of them. It helps my secret (not so secret) hoarder self let go.

  44. Harryg says:

    I’m sorry – I find Kondo so creepy. That soft whisper voice… those doll-like outfits…
    She seems like a robot.
    I think it’s good to get rid of unnecessary stuff though, and the show is not as extreme as I thought.

  45. Sleanne says:

    I moved overseas in 2005 and back in 2014. I had to scale my life down to two suitcases per person. Twice. When faced with this task the first time, I spent ages thinking through things and being grateful for what I had to get rid of. The second time, I was quick and ruthless. Now I may have things that bring me joy but I know how little these objects mean compared to my family. I could scale back without thought again (not that I would chose to – staying put tyvm).

  46. Hollz says:

    I haven’t watched this show, but I know a LOT of people who are decluttering right now. I am sort of decluttering (because I have time off work right now, not because of the show) and it’s sort of giving me anxiety. Like I have all this jewelry that I never wear that I would love to get rid of but they were gifts from friends and they would be insulted if I did.

    (My books aren’t even under consideration for purging. Last time I did, I ended up buying them again.)

  47. Tiny Martian says:

    To me, there is nothing more inviting than walking into a room that has shelves filled with books. On the flip side, minimalism invites more interaction with electronic devices.

    I’d rather minimize my use of technology and surround myself with books and art supplies, but that’s just me!

  48. KidV says:

    My books were over-taking my house so I gave away and donated about 98%. I kept first editions and antiques, but that was it. I even got rid of book cases, empty shelves tend to collect “things” and I was tired “things”. It was amazing how much lighter my house felt after doing that. It was like I could breathe again, and I started sleeping better. I now lean towards minimalist, but not completely.

  49. Cate says:

    We have a bookshelf and when I moved in with my fiance we had to merge our collections . His Sci fi met my horror. Our classics melded. His comics with my poetry. We had to get rid of some old friends luckily we had duplicates and just kept the better copy. It was hard but we said we are not buying another bookshelf it all has to fit. It was fun and a little hard but not sad. Some good books were donated and we are happy.

    • Alexis says:

      When my husband and I first moved in together we gave away the duplicates. It was surprisingly emotional to figure out which one was kept.

  50. Jaded says:

    I’m pretty obsessive about being neat and organized. When Mr. Jaded and I started cohabiting 4 years ago I had to go through every cupboard and closet to organize him – he had literally tubs and boxes full of crap like 20 year old bank statements, his house sale documents from 2000, hundreds of paint chips, he saved ALL the envelopes that stuff came in, he had photos mixed in with income tax paperwork and literally hundreds of receipts from grocery stores, Staples, gas stations from a decade ago, it was CRAZY. I bought him a bunch of accordion files and we went through everything, probably took 150 lbs of junk to the recycling bin in the basement of our condo building. Another 100 lbs or so to the shredder. He’s now down to 6 accordion files from about 8 big rubbermaid tubs. Don’t even get me started on what his kitchen cupboards were like – pretty much everything went out in the garbage as his ex-wife took all the good stuff. We did do a book purge as there were loads of self-help and chick-lit books that belonged to the ex who apparently liked to READ self-help books but not APPLY anything she read to her litany of issues. But what remains is a permanent library of about 200 books which you would have to pry out of our cold, dead hands before we’d give them up.

  51. Alexis says:

    Hit dogs will holler. We book people wince at this because we know she’s right, IMO. Even if one is a voracious and passionate reader, the idea of getting rid of excess books isn’t inherently bad. Not every book I own has a special meaning or useful value to me. Many, many of my books do, though; I could never get down to 30 books. I have always been a huge reader and I am a writer by profession. But the idea of thinking critically about whether or not you need each book? Not offensive to me. It’s probably a good idea. The process would, in a way, be a celebration of the books that I love and want to keep, and a reminder (while saying goodbye) of the ones that just needed to be in my possession for a season. I haven’t done this because I don’t have time, though.

    • YesImHere says:

      A lot of books are great to keep around for reference, or because they’re expensive or unique, or were gifts. But I’m sure we all know that person who hoards paperbacks that they have no intention of reading more than once. I really feel like Marie is trying to encourage a more authentic life that is present in the now, and not in the past or colored by self-imposed ideas of what makes a person look cool or important or sophisticated to others (visitors to their home, for example). She wants people to live for joy and for the creation of healthy relationships. You really nailed it when you wrote that “hit dogs will holler”. I think the same people that hoard books because it makes them look/sound cool or intellectual are the same ones yelling about it on Twitter. I mean, otherwise why would anybody randomly feel the need to let the whole world know that Marie Kondo offended them regarding this one issue?

  52. Venus says:

    I read her book and Kon Marie’d the books I had just on the second story of our house, over 500 of them. She said she only kept 30 books but that’s because she is not a book person — but she doesn’t say that everyone else should do the same. You know what? I got rid of HALF my books, because going through them one by one, I realized that many of them actually sparked negative emotions — I was keeping them out of some kind of obligation. The books I did keep really DO spark joy. Not because they’re easy reads, or whatever that stupid Guardian column interpreted “joy” to mean, but because I loved reading them and actively want to keep them. They range from light reads to serious nonfiction to a whole range of poetry. I am so happy to have free space on my bookshelves, and I learned a lot about what kinds of books I want to have in my life.

    • Ellie says:

      @Venus – Her approach is based on a non-Western religion and I think the Guardian has shown how it feels about anything non-Western. The author didn’t even attempt to understand her tidying approach.

      • YesImHere says:

        Marie Kondo graduated from a Christian college. Her spiritual beliefs have likely been formed by many influences, not just those traditionally of Japan.

  53. Ellie says:

    How does having shelves of unread books in a home do anybody any good? It’s like staring at a person and calling it a conversation! Much of this is gluttony and a lack of impulse control. If you have 30 unread books, don’t acquire more until you read (and potentially get rid of) the other ones. If this were clothing with tags attached, the maladaptive nature would be so much more obvious.

    • YesImHere says:

      Thank you. I was about to post something similar. I was struck by the claim that books “tell visitors something about yourself”. Hmm, isn’t that what friendship and conversation is for. I believe a lot of people with tons of books they pretend they can’t live without just like the appearance of intellectualism it gives them. And how about the tweet about “my library card sparks joy” — yeah, Marie’s clearly not referring to LIBRARY BOOKS.

    • Veronica S. says:

      *raises hand guiltily* I have a lot of books on my shelves that I haven’t read yet, but that’s generally because I’m the sort to pick them up when they’re being donated by libraries or on super sale at thrift stores (all of Austen’s best works for $5.00? GIMME). I do eventually get to them, but they do take up space, and I finally had to force myself to sit down and donate the older ones that I’d already completed and wasn’t interested in rereading.

      Albeit, I’ll also admit some of it is aesthetic – a full shelf of books is visually pleasing to me and inspires happiness.

    • Hollz says:

      I’ve probably got close to 100 unread books on my shelves (out of probably 400 books total) because the second hand book store around the corner from me closed down and was practically giving books away at the end (And that REALLY stretched the credit I had for previously donating books.)

      I fully intend to read them though, and I think that’s an important difference – having a bunch of unread books because you think it makes you look intelligent or well-read is very different then being a bookworm who will never have an empty “to read pile.”

  54. HeyThere! says:

    I have lots of books. If the books go, I go!

  55. Veronica S. says:

    I don’t believe in tossing books in the garbage unless they’re damaged beyond repair, but I think it’s entirely sensible to donate them to schools or libraries if you’re not reading them. I’ve given plenty of my textbooks away rather than sell them back to the college where they’ll jack up the prices again reselling them used. I own lots of books from years of reading, but as I move more toward digitizing my library, I do become increasingly aware of the limitations of space where materialism is concerned. (Which is where I think the real underlying push of her methodology is – teach Americans to stop associating material good with a sense of security and completeness.) The unfortunate reality is that my life is just easier to organize if thirty books are on my Kindle instead of on my shelf.

  56. SignoraSpaghetti says:

    I used to be a book hoarder but after moving across the country twice, I had to take a hard look at why I was keeping them. Did I ever re-read them? Rarely (ok, never). They sat on shelves in my living room untouched and were there more because deep down it told people who came to my house the kind of person I wanted them to think I was. It wasn’t for me, it was for the message I wanted to send to people.

    I agree with the tweet that art/books should do more than spark joy, that they should “challenge and perturb” us. But they can do that from our Kindles or libraries, they don’t have to take up physical space in our homes every single day to be thought-provoking and challenging.

  57. Sof says:

    I watched the whole series and have to say that the concept of inanimate objects sparking joy makes me uncomfortable. I understand she is trying to make her clients realize how much unnecessary stuff they have, but attaching emotions to things can end badly. Not to mention the woman in episode 6 who was borderline hoarder and probably needed other kind of help.

  58. Themummy says:

    I went through a huge phase with Marie Kondo all last summer and it changed my life. I am not even kidding. It completely changed my life. Especially the folding. And I have absolutely stuck with it. I read her book with a great deal of skepticism but then I jumped right in and went for it. Some of the things were too silly for me. I am not going to think my clothing, for example. And as I have a double masters in English, I am was not about to get rid of all of my books. However I did get rid of a lot of books that I know I’ll never read again and that we’re not in great shape. I still have thousands of books, but everything is much more orderly now.

    People are taking what she says way too literally. There are definitely being too rigid and pedantic in their thinking. It felt like absolute liberation figuring out what I wanted my living space to look and feel like. I feel like having my outer space arranged just so has helped me have a less cluttered in her brain space as well. It really did change my life. I don’t go crazy with it. I went through about three months of going through the konmari process, which was a huge job, and I am not a major stickler for all of it, but I do my best to keep up with it and it really has just made everything so much simpler. And the truth of it is, I do not miss a single thing that I threw out. Except for a couple of kitchen items I thought I didn’t use very often, but it turned out I really needed them once they were gone, so I bought new ones that were really high-quality.

    I think the best thing about it was finally having all of my cabinets and drawers not over full with stuff. And I know where everything is. Actually, I think the very best thing was finally dealing with my clothing situation. I really pared that down. That was another area that I did not stick strictly to her recommendations, but I did donate over half of my wardrobe. And you know what? I have just as many things to wear, just as many options, and everything is organized and I know where it is.

    It’s like with anything else — you take from it what works for you and you leave out what doesn’t.

    • Themummy says:

      And one final comment. I have never been a person who has a truly cluttered space. Sometimes my junk drawer got to be a bit much. Sometimes my laundry hamper would overflow. Sometimes my dresser drawers would get kind of disorganized. But my house is always been clean and reasonably organized—and on first glance quite free of clutter. When I started going through and getting rid of things, I didn’t really think that I had a lot of things to throw away, so I expected it to be a small job. I ended up throwing away 30 full black lawn garbage bags full of stuff – appliances, make up, jewelry I never wear, clothing that couldn’t be repaired, and amazing amount of pairs of shoes, DVDs, etc. No one who ever walked in my house would’ve imagined for a second that I had 30 trash bags worth of stuff that I can get rid of and still have everything I need I didn’t really think that I had a lot of things to throw away, so I expected it to be a small job. I ended up throwing away 30 full black lawn garbage bags full of stuff – appliances, make up, jewelry I never wear, clothing that couldn’t be repaired or that were just worn out, and amazing amount of pairs of shoes, DVDs, notebooks, papers, office supplies I kept but didn’t really use or need, excess dishes and such, handbags, etc. and all of these items were things that were tucked away somewhere or stored somewhere, but they took up space—internal and external to me. No one who ever walked in my house would’ve imagined for a second that I had 30 trash bags worth of stuff that I can get rid of and still have everything I need. to live my life. I was absolutely astonished. And after that entire process I just felt lighter than air.

      • Mego says:

        That’s interesting! I started cleaning out my shed at least once a year and I am always amazed at the stuff that accumulates. Same for cupboards and closets. Ideally these cleanups should happen more frequently.

  59. Mego says:

    I agree with her. What is the point of holding on to books that just collect dust? I live in a very small space and they are the bain of my cleaning existence. Countless books are given to my child who has no time or inclination to read them. Books from University 25 years ago, books for professional development that were useless and unreadable. I do all my reading online now – my vision isn’t great and I find print hard to manage. Something else that I am finding is that not many places accept donations of your used books! You know it’s bad when libraries don’t want them.

    I think half the battle of being clean and tidy is keeping on top of your stuff and clearing out the stuff that isn’t used.

    • sunshine poolside says:

      My library accepts all books donated. The ones they don’t want to keep end up on the sales shelf ( 1 book for 1 Dollar // 3 books for 2 Dollars).
      Fun entertaining stuff and old books and self-help books end up on that shelf.
      Lots of poor kids get their books there. And apparently the self-help literature sells well, too.
      And the library is glad about that little extra money.
      (I bet that quite a lot of books from that shelf get stolen as well as it is in the entrance area where there are no cameras nor any staff. But honestly wtf.)

      Sensible way of dealing with old books. Shredding an old book in good condition seems like a cultural crime to me. Mouldy stuff into the garbage bin.

      Perhaps it is an idea for your library as well?

  60. tealily says:

    You know, I have an insane number of books. I have packed and unpacked SO MANY boxes of books over the last ten years when moving that the idea of doing it again the next time we move (hoping to buy a place this year) makes me want to throw up. I will probably weed the books before we move this time. Some books I’ll keep forever and ever, but some are dead weight and I’ll never read them. I’ll donate those to our public library book sale and they can go to someone who will actually read them.

    To anyone bitching about this… sounds like your books are “sparking joy.” Marie wouldn’t want you to get rid of those anyway!

  61. Idsmith says:

    I feel like people are taking this way too literally. I enjoy Marie’s show to get some inspiration and tips on organizing. I don’t think she suggests that if you tidy up all of your life problems will magically go away. (Unless she does say that in her book however, I haven’t read it). Marie actually seems a little surprised at the people who treat her like a therapist, she’s there to get you to tidy up! A tidy living space can help you enjoy your life a bit more and relax. I also don’t think her folding is all that intricate, it’s folding. I like the vertical stacking though, you can fit so much and see it all. Yes, I’ll need to redo folding my drawers every now and then but that’s life, you need to keep organizing and tidying as you go so it doesn’t become an all consuming mess. I love her advice and use what I can and leave the rest. You wanna keep all your books go ahead. Myself I keep favourites and donate the rest to an annual charity book sale.

  62. Summer says:

    I read her book and thought her approach was too eccentric, but the show has convinced me otherwise. In person, she comes across as very sincere, with an approach to organization that is rooted in gratitude. It feels awkward to talk to my possessions before I donate them, but I think it will lead to conscious consumerism.

    That said, I think there are two types of people in this world: those who love clutter and those who do not. I am the former, so I have a hard time relating to people who are overly sentimental or attached to their items, including books. After watching the show, I’m convinced most of the participants were in the latter category, which makes me think they’ll fall back in bad habits. Many also seemed overwhelmed by their current life situations, which requires more than clean dresser drawers to overcome.

  63. jay says:

    Anybody who has a problem with this is a pedantic nerd that really just wants to lecture everybody about how smart they are.

  64. Dizzy says:

    I love books. But keeping too many books is actually bad for your health if they get mouIdy. I watched a documentary called “Living with Lincoln”. The woman who had a big archive in her house died of respiratory illness caused by mouldy dusty books.

    • jay says:

      But what a way to go lmao.

    • sunshine poolside says:

      Books get mouldy if there is too much humidity in the house. Professional libraries have some humidity and temperature managing … Simple de-humidifiers do the trick as well. Depending on the size of your living quarters there are electrical ones and there are these “salts” which suck water out of the air and liquidify themselves in the process (efficient for small rooms/appartments).

  65. Ginnygingin says:

    To be fair though, she never forces people to get rid of anything. She just gives advice and see how it goes. At various points in the show, the house owners even praise her for being so respectful of their choices. I watched the whole series and throughout she remained calm and helpful. People should really watch the show before reacting to articles written about the show.

  66. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    First of all, Marie looks so sweet and genuinely happy that she sparks joy in me, lol. I agree with her sparking joy method. There are ugly items I’ve kept because I live the person who gave them to me…or because I hold an odd superstition around getting rid of certain items. This is so silly, but here’s are two examples: I must keep every wedding gift we received because it might be bad luck to get rid of the ones that don’t suit us or me. That is distorted thinking “magical” thinking…and logically I know’s similar to things my husband has bought me. Even if he doesn’t always know my taste, I feel like I can’t get rid of anything from him. This one is a stronger feeling than the wedding gift superstition.

    Now, books. I have too too many. I will probably always have too many, but I did a few things. If I had multiple versions of the same book, I kept my favorite. And yes, this is a collector’s “thing”. Some people have to have all the different versions (content is same/cover art is different). I do not do this. I used to also decide if I liked an author, I kept a copy of each of their works (even if I didn’t like a few of the books). I threw that collecting habit of the window and sold the ones I didn’t want on eBay. Another eBay or donation rule re books for me: I read the book but didn’t absolutely LOVE it – well, it got put into the sell box or donate box. And….I started buying most of my books on kindle. Saves so much room, but I still spend a lot of $$ on books! I have Marie’s book on kindle as a matter of fact. Some books don’t work on kindle imo. And I love having books in my home. I’ll always have some, but I hope to whittle it down. We are currently moving all the bedroom books to my mothers’ huge house while we redo the bedroom. Our house is really cottage sized. I’m going to have to go through the books before I bring them home and make some tough decisions.

  67. sunshine poolside says:

    Partly I get her approach. I have many friends who just store their books on their shelves and don’t read them any more and they just collect dust. And especially if it is light entertaining fun read then go get rid of it as I refer to those books you read once and that is it.
    30 books might be an acceptable number for some people but it does seem to low to me. Most people who have an academic degree do definitely need more books. And nope, I don’t get rid of my academic books and it is definitely more than 30. But I do think I should de-clutter my fun-reading book shelf. It is half full. It was fun. For the price of a cinema ticket (= roughly about the price of a paperback fun read) I get more than one evening of fun story. But I don’t read them twice. No keepers there.

    It would be fun to find out by what criteria Kondo makes people sort through their books.

    I recommend donating books to your local library if you don’t want to sell them. Because libraries need money. Because libraries need books and thanks to less-taxes-small-state-starve-the-beast they had their funding cut. Because many libraries re-distribute second-hand books for little money so that many poor people can buy books. Our library has an uncomplicated approach: a bookshelf where they put all the donations they don’t want to keep. You go there and pick one and pay Dollar 1 for one book or Dollars 2 for three books. It is a little contribution to the library and many poor kids chose their books there.

  68. Whatnow says:

    Basically I will go with live and let live. But having helped friends clean out homes of elderly parents I have to say when you reach a certain age just like you plan for retirement and Healthcare xcetera please plan to declutter your house.

    I’ve been around many situations where people waited too long and then were unable to start the process of decluttering and it was left to everybody else.

    They did not complain to their parents or any such thing but it took a lot of time, effort, and money to clear all this out.

    So love your possessions, enjoy them, but don’t leave them around to burden others with when you can no longer handle them.

    I sound mean and selfish but having had to do this more times than I can count trust me when I say you are about the only one that loves them.

  69. Sara says:

    I think this is just a cultural thing. It’s my understanding that people in Japan often have smaller apartments so a 30 book rule might make more sense culturally if you have a smaller house or apartment. In the USA we have big houses, so there isn’t any reason to have a book limit.

    Seriously though, people are just nit-picking her method. Any method of clearing out stuff you don’t need and getting organized is good. I’m the naturally neat one in my family. My mom and sister are board line hoarders and it drives me crazy. They’re houses are packed full of stuff they don’t need and never really clean or organized.

  70. Cs says:

    Per a comment above, of course great art is meant to evoke many things in us besides joy…I think the little thrill and spark Mari talks about when considering each of our belongings is really more like the thrill of ownership. Let’s say the book challenged you, made you weep, provoked you…not joyous but valuable. But how do you feel keeping the thousand page hardback copy or whatever in your home? Do you plan on re-reading it? Do you feel guilt whenever you look at it, not because of the subject matter, but because it’s just a visual reminder that you probably “should” re-read it but never will? That’s how I do my joy-check when de-cluttering. Did the item serve its purpose in my home. Does it give me more joy to keep and return to its pleasures, or give away and move on with good memories, making space to enjoy other things that have more of a sense of immediacy.

  71. alexinchicago says:

    Do you know why I buy paper books instead of filling my Kindle? Two things: The Handmaid’s Tale and Emperor Baby Fists. I recall the scene where the Commander gave Offred the chance to look at a (banned) fashion magazine. Now my Kindle could be wiped the minute I connect to a server should books become banned. While I love the ease of holding my Kindle on public transportation, I am buying hard copies. Yes, it might be paranoia, but even my husband is buying fewer and fewer eBooks. One state of emergency and all communications could be shut down. Shit’s getting real.

  72. Justwastingtime says:

    I read her book a couple of years ago. It makes sense, I was already doing a scaled down version in my annual “purge” which includes getting rid of any clothes that I haven’t worn in the last year.

    I incorporated a lot of her approach in dealing with clutter (which I hate ) including that everything needs a defined place it belongs (worked wonders on my garage)

  73. Nicole Robinson says:

    I LOVE Clutterbug. I’ve made a few small changes based on my “bug type” and these have really changed things for me.

    Also, i own over 300 books and ain’t no way. I would love to maybe pare down to fitting all of my books on the shelves I currently have. But ain’t 30. No. NO.