Maintaining a clutter free home can be so challenging. Quietly, things begin to creep in and take residence. The goody bag from a birthday party. A pile of preschool art projects. That air filter you bought in the wrong size and have been meaning to return.
Before you know it, your kitchen counter, or front closet, or coffee table is covered in junk. (Or is that just me?)
Just over a year ago, I read the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I pushed through the book’s KonMari decluttering process and was so happy with the peaceful environment it created for our family.
I’d like to say that after I completed the process, our home was cured of clutter forever. But it’s kind of like losing weight. Once you’ve met your fitness goal, you may not have to push quite as hard, but you can’t do nothing and expect to maintain.
Over the past year, there are a few tricks that I have discovered to keep our clutter under control. Most of them relate to our three main problem areas: Books, Clothing, and Kid Stuff. But there are also a few General Tips that I’ve picked up along the way. I’ll begin by talking about book clutter today.
Cultivating a reading life has been so important to me since I became a mom. It has been one of the few hobbies I’ve been able to maintain because I can fit it into the cracks and crevices of my day. I can read for 10 minutes here or there and then put down the book and come back to it. There aren’t many other things that I can do in short bursts like that. Reading has helped me to stay grounded amidst the chaos of raising triplet toddlers.
I adore books. Reading books, looking at books, owning books. As a result, they have the potential to be an enormous source of clutter for me. I used to collect books. All books. Now I’ve become very deliberate about the physical books that I bring into my home. Here are the bookish things I do to keep books from taking over my home.
The Public Library
You remember that place? It used to be that going to the library meant browsing the stacks and maybe coming home with a book you were interested in, maybe not. It’s not that way anymore. You can reserve books, audiobooks, ebooks, and movies on your library’s website, then drop by and pick them up when they’re ready. It takes almost no time at all. You can get pretty much anything you want if you are willing to be patient.
And if you want to make using the library even easier, try Library Extension. This Google Chrome extension is so cool, I can’t even get over it. Whenever I am browsing books on Amazon or looking at titles on Goodreads, a little window pops up that tells me if the book or ebook is available at my library. Then, with the simple click of a button, I can reserve the book. I don’t know how many book purchases this has helped me to avoid, but I’m sure it’s significant. For instructions on how to download the extension, visit the Library Extension website.
In the image below, I was looking at a book that I heard about on the What Should I Read Next Podcast and you can see the Library Extension box that popped up just below the book description on GoodReads.
Ebooks are a great way to decrease book clutter in the home. I use a Kindle Paperwhite because it is so much easier on my eyes. Reading on a regular screen for too long gives me a bit of a headache. I even have a secret weapon for getting AMAZING Kindle books for next to nothing. On her blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy, Anne Bogel puts out a newsletter with a list of Great Kindle Deals every single day. She curates the list herself and her taste is impeccable. She even throws a few audiobooks in there for fun. If you like Kindle books even a little, you should subscribe to this newsletter.
Digitize Your Bookshelf
I used to be a bit of a book hoarder. After I read a book, I kept it up on the shelf for years as if it were a trophy. I kept books I hated, slogged through, and would never read again. In January of 2016, I discovered Goodreads as a way to log my books. Turns out I get just as much joy seeing a digital list of the books I’ve read with none of the clutter. Also, I can share my love of reading with a community of readers.
I now only purchase books AFTER I’ve read them. I know that seems a little weird, but hear me out. If I’ve finished a book and I loved it enough to either read it again or loan it to a friend, I add it to my library. Since I’m only buying a handful of books a year this way, I always buy the hardcover copies. For classics, I’ve been having a little fun seeking out gorgeous clothbound editions. I dream of having a personal library filled with books someday. But when I do, I want it to be filled with beautiful, high quality books I’ve read and loved.
Display Your Books
“Imagine what it would be like to have a bookshelf filled only with books that you really love. Isn’t that image spellbinding? For someone who loves books, what greater happiness could there be?”
As a long-time book-lover, this quote from Marie Kondo resonated so strongly.
I keep books in two places. I have an antique oak secretary that currently houses my library and an invisible bookshelf beside my nightstand where I keep the books I’m currently reading. Knowing that my books are on display makes me less likely to grab that $2.00 banged-up clearance special at the used bookstore. If I really want that book, I can usually request it from the library and receive it in a couple of days.
Let It Go
Books come into our lives for various reasons. Maybe your book club was reading a new release you couldn’t get from the library or you gave in to the siren call of a sale. If you don’t love it, give yourself permission to let it go when you are finished with it. Even if you didn’t read the whole thing. Even if you never opened it at all.
I hope that you’ve found this helpful. If you have any bookish tips you’d like to share with me, just comment down below. I’d love to hear them.
If you enjoyed this post, you might like these as well:
Living Peacefully with Toddlers: Cultivating a Peaceful Environment: Using techniques learned in the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne to create a calm home environment.
Living Peacefully with Toddlers: Post-KonMari Home Tour: A tour of our home from top to bottom.
Cultivating a Reading Life When You’re a Mom: How to squeeze in a little extra reading time.
Hello there! I’m Krysta. If you’re new to The Thoughtful Mom, welcome! And thank you for stopping by.
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