While I am far from a real minimalist, I never had any real problems with clutter, cleanliness and neatness.
I used be a lot less so when I had to share a room with my sister, and later when my parents stored their belongings in my room. During those times, I had zero motivation to keep my room clutter free and neat, because the room didn’t feel wholly mine. What was the point of trying to declutter and make things look nice when half the stuff ain’t even mine, and I have no authority to do anything about it? When I finally got my own room, I morphed into Miss Neat so fast my parents thought I was possessed.
It helps also that I don’t have a sentimental streak (or I keep it really suppressed if it is there at all). This means I am able to toss most stuff without going into paroxysms of anguish. After a few mega sessions of decluttering, I am finally in the place where there are few things in my room that I don’t need or want. This helps my spending a lot, because I have a developed a built in aversion to more stuff coming in after so much work done in decluttering.
Well, except for one thing.
These are my books. At last count, I own a total of…..wait for it…..1,711 of these babies. Take note that this is the final number of rounds and rounds of culling. Once, I had close to 2,000. My mother lives in fear that the bookshelf will collapse on me one day.
What to say? I love to re-read. If it was just a love of reading, I would get all my books from the library. But I like to re-read favorite books very often, may like three to four times in a year. I also read very fast. On non-working days, I can go through two books in one day.
I have also gone through the craving for a certain book that I have read and don’t own. It got to the stage where I couldn’t do anything except think about the book I don’t have, so I decided that a core collection was necessary and started collecting.
A collection like this wreaks havoc when it comes to cleaning. Every half a year, I take out all thousand over books and clean each one individually to keep them dust free. It takes hours, and is the most boring job in the world, but it is a labour of love, so I keep at it.
Now that I have gotten a tablet PC with its e-book reader function, I am ready to advance into the world of electronic books to keep from running out of space. But nothing quite gives me the same comfort as my not-so-little personal library. I keep imagining a prolonged power outage or some natural calamity that will result in me being stuck at home for hours on end, and I am grateful that I have amassed my reading pile, my clutter close to my heart.