Difficult decluttering

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How do you declutter when you like the stuff you own?

The problem with minimalism, I find, is that you discover you’ve got lots of stuff you don’t want to get rid of. 

I started pretty well last week with my 10 per cent plan, chucking out over 10 per cent of the books on our mezzanine. 

But I hit the buffers on Saturday when I started on the books in my downstairs bookcase. This is smaller, but the issue I discovered is that they are all reference books, on the subjects of interiors, architecture, fashion and textiles. They are not read-once and then chuck items – they really are things I refer to again and again.

I have a psychological thing going about books. Being in a house without them makes me very nervous. The idea of being stuck in a loo without reading matter panics me. I definitely judge other people on their book collections, as much as by the art on their walls. It will all go to shit in the age of the Kindle – how will we know who anyone IS any more?

Anyway, having combed through all 200 of the tomes in the downstairs bookcase, I found none that I wanted to actually get rid of. The challenge instead, then, is to sort, sort, sort until there’s some semblance of order and recategorise so I can actually find everything. After all, the objective is to strike the correct balance – to enjoy one’s things rather than feel burdened by them. In consequence, a new area has been purloined for book storage – the chest of drawers on the landing, which now holds how-to books on everything from mirror work to mosaic. 

Nevertheless, I will continue with my 10 per cent plan and yesterday got some more fruit boxes for packing up rubbish paperbacks that still litter our mezzanine. I owe the mezzanine 20 books from the downstairs case. Emmaus here we come… 


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