Chortle if you will but I've been 'decluttering' (auto correct throws up 'de littering') using the Marie Kondo method. Yes, the book reads like the confessions of an OCD sufferer - is it, in fact, properly shelved under Self Therapy? However, there are some nuggets of truth in amongst the pages & it acts as a timely boot in the backside to knuckle down & decide what, really & truly, do I need?
For all the hype, the KonMari method is not so startlingly original. If Shintoism inculcates an awareness of the spirit within trees & rocks it is not such a far stretch to suggest that your socks might have a life of their own. (There's a section where MK reminds her reader that socks need to breathe & relax at the end of a day walking around. Loopy? Or 'in tune'? You decide.) Thus, don't roll them into balls but fold gently into three. QED.
Ultimately, the purpose is to declutter your mind space & that's not stupid at all. To what extent are our daily thoughts & actions weighed down with all sorts of baggage (psychological & physical) accumulated over the years?
Anyway, in concrete terms this has meant a major clear out of the wardrobe - shirts, trousers, socks, etc.. The KonMari operating principle: does it spark joy? That little formula solves many dilemmas.
Having tackled clothes I then went upstairs & faced the real enemy - the archive of CDs, books, papers ... you name it. Too much for one day, I have decided to take it in instalments. Thus, yesterday morning, pens & other art materials. It was astonishing how much could either be chucked or organised into more economical space. (&, of course, in the process ideas arise through the rediscovery of an interesting Japanese paper or pages of jottings that had gone astray).
In the afternoon I looked at the books & the usual worries returned: might I need this for teaching? Who gave it to me? Isn't this valuable? What if I decided to read X one day ...? Tricky. However, the 'joy spark' mantra helped & into the pile went many volumes that had just sat there doing nothing. Those 'on the off chance' finds that I had never got around to. Even - & this is tough to admit - my Jack Trevor Story collection (dog-eared paperbacks, hard-to-find pulp stories, one or two hard backs). Had I read any after the first flush of enthusiasm? No. Was I ever going to find a dealer or collector who would pay hundreds for a rare edition? No. & if I were really honest didn't I value the JTS of the journalistic pieces more than his novels? Yes. & so the problem solved itself: ditch the fiction & keep Letters to an Intimate Stranger & the biography (Romantic Egoist) I found that day in Bath. Metonymy rules.
So this morning it was off to Pele Mele down in Waterloo & the Nijinsky bookshop in Brussels. I know in advance that the amount I'll be offered is a pittance compared to what even one or two items might fetch with the right person. However, that's the price one pays for focus. & perhaps in the grander scheme of things someone will stumble upon the very book which they need at that moment (much as I have time & time again).
Still to be addressed: some six years' worth of LRBs & - gulp - twenty years of The Wire. Seriously, if anyone wants The Wires then let me know.