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  • Edie Montreux

Tidying Up


It's not spring, but it's time for spring cleaning in my house. We tore out carpet in what is supposed to be the master bedroom, and now we're clearing shelves and moving furniture.


It's been over a year since I read Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. A lot has changed in that year. It's much easier to part with books when you can't read them. If I really need to revisit Terry Goodkind (Please, Lord, don't ever let me have that lapse in judgment), I'd need to download his books on my Kindle, anyway. I'm keeping my World War II books until I finish Love Your Enemy, and I'll wear my reading glasses for my writing references, but everything else can go. Will I get down to 30? Probably not. I have a whole shelf of antique books and encyclopedias that both won't spark joy for anyone else (they're too old to be accurate) and still spark joy for me because they came from my grandma's house.


Besides the antiques, there's one more collection I'm struggling to let go: The huge pile of journals I've filled over the last twenty years. They're sitting on a deep bookshelf in a makeshift closet, gathering dust. I started the first one on New Year's Eve, 1999. It's tempting to dictate them into Word so I can burn them, but part of me loves the feel of paper between my fingers. Besides, each of those notebooks was chosen for the beautiful (or whimsical) cover. But seriously, who's going to get them when I'm gone? Only my friends would understand. My family would burn them after they read the first few words.


I can part with my old paperbacks now, but it's hard to part with pieces of myself. What's worse, I can't imagine who would benefit from my daily ramblings of the last twenty years. I'm one person struggling to be a better human, and failing most days.


Which of your collections is the hardest to tidy up?


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