An exuberance of books! Written by Pam Holland
I recently worked with a client who had many, many books in his home, and with good reason. Both he and his wife are authors, and he reviews books for BookForum and the Baffler.
He did some very impressive work during our time together, donating many boxes and bags of books. Others were kept for a variety of good reasons, but were stored and labeled in an efficient manner.
After our work in his office, we sat in the dining room, where books lined many of the walls and were overflowing in what seemed to my eye to be an unruly fashion. I longed to “tidy up” the shelves. During the course of our conversation the client shared that he and his wife enjoy the way the books overflow from the shelves. He fondly referred to the bookshelves as containing “an exuberance of books.”
After ten years of assisting folks from various walks of life in decluttering and organizing, I suddenly had an entirely new perspective on clutter, books, joy and the power of words. I am a lover of words and this phrase “an exuberance of books” struck a cord in me. I was able to let go of my compulsion to tidy the books and embrace the idea of exuberance and abundance that my client experienced.
I invite you to look around your home or office and notice which objects make you smile and bring you joy, and which make you sigh and bring you down. Marie Kondo's phrase “does it spark joy?” resonates with many, as is evidenced by the success of her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Though the system outlined in Kondo’s book does not appeal to me, I am pleased that the idea of decluttering has become a part of our everyday conversations.
If you would like a kinder, gentler approach to decluttering and organizing, I suggest our book, Mindful Decluttering: A step-by-step guide to decluttering your space and freeing your spirit! or Stephanie Bennett Vogt’s book Your Spacious Self. Both are available in either print or digital form and make great holiday gifts for yourself or others who yearn for more ease in their lives and homes.