Last month, in a quest of fitness and tidying combined, I challenged myself with One Book a Mile. The idea came from realising I needed to downsize my bookshelves, and so for every mile I walked in February, I said goodbye to a book from my life.
So, can we have a drum roll, please! The results are in! The One Book a Mile final figures are…
250,000 steps (approx – turns out step-counting with a mobile app is only so useful)
This actually proved harder than I thought it would. I am a long-time collector of books, and many, many titles “sparked joy” for me (#KonMari… I told you I was addicted!). I kept books that were old favourites, books I couldn’t wait to read one day, and books that were so beautiful I couldn’t bear to let go. My keep pile was big, far bigger than I anticipated.
Yet, some books were so easy. Some books were yellowed with age, spines broken, others I realised I would never read and was just keeping for show. It was a reminder that my reading habits have changed with age, and also a chance to acknowledge that I had been fooling myself about some of those habits, too. Honestly, I will never read Anna Karenina – I simply just don’t care for it. Also, as my friend pointed out – for many of these books, it isn’t goodbye forever. My friends and family have books I can borrow, and there is a library in every town near to where I live. If I ever change my mind, then it isn’t too difficult to source a title.
So yes, this challenge surprised me by being the hardest part of my decluttering journey to date, but at the same time it gave me the most joy. Every title I have left now I love (or I am giving the chance to love), and I can’t wait to find new homes for them on my newly cleared shelves.