This is the year

Mid-Week Update: Simplicity

As you know, the part of my life I was hoping to simplify was all the stuff my family had lying around. So far we have completely filled our “supposed to be the baby’s room but he never actually slept there” room with odds and ends that we were holding onto for reasons none of us can quite remember. The rest of the week will be spent sorting it all out and dividing it into boxes depending on where it all needs to go (more on that in a later post).

But there is one area of my life that I just can’t seem to let go of and that is my books. I don’t really have that many any more. I had two big boxes of books ruined in a basement flood a few years ago as I was packing to move, it was so heartbreaking I can barely bring myself to speak of it, but the books I do have I am having a tremendous amount of trouble pairing down.

So far they have all been divided into major sections: pregnancy/birth/infant care books, novels, university text books, non-fiction, and other people’s books (If I borrowed a book from you and forgot to return it, call me, I likely have it here!). The next step was to select un-needed titles from each section to give away.

I started with the pregnancy/birth/infant books, but I can’t really get rid of any of those because I am still working on my doula certification and I never know when I will have to go back and reference.

I moved on to novels, but I only buy novels when I have run out of time on my library borrow and really want to finish them. I have this weird guilt about renewing things; what if it’s on hold by someone who really wants to read it too? This means that I really like all of the novels I own and what if I suddenly get the urge (and miraculously the time) to read them again?

Text books and other non-fiction books were next, but I wrote notes and funny comics in all of the margins so I can’t sell them. Besides, you never know when a friend of yours will say something totally false and you’ll need to invite them back to your house to prove them wrong over tea.

Then there are the books I’ve borrowed and forgotten to return over the last who-knows-how-long. But chances are I haven’t returned them because I no longer speak to their owners and there’s got to be a reason for that right? (Just kidding. Kind of.)

As you can see self motivation will get me nowhere with these books. My heart literally aches to think of letting them go. No lie. Just last night I had a dream in which empty shelf space swallowed me whole. I’ve decided that what I need is a book snob.

A book snob is basically exactly what it sounds like. You know those people who have nothing nice to say about any book ever written or any author ever published because they are entirely too cool and well educated to like anything at all? I need one of those. I need them to come to my house and tell me how poor my taste is until I cry from humiliation at having been caught with such filth in my literary repertoire, then I need them to hand over a box for me to pack up my shame and ship it out.

Or maybe, instead, I can accept that this particular part of the challenge is too much for me right now. I did an insanely good job clearing out my storage room, my kitchen, and my closet. I even gave away half the furniture in my living room because my husband and I have been locked in a battle of wills since we moved in together over whose furniture should go and whose could stay and I finally conceded that mine could go. Along with the de-cluttering, we haven’t gone shopping (aside from groceries) or watched television and those things feel good. But I think that I can stop at my books, because I am just not ready and this is supposed to be fun.

This goes for everyone. As we kick off this green up, remember to keep these challenges fun and do what you can. Set realistic goals for yourself and adapt the challenges where you need to so that you don’t ‘burn out’ a few weeks or months in. We won’t build any enthusiasm or be available to help support others in this little community if we are overburdening ourselves to meet the ‘requirements’ of the challenges and our personal goals. No one is ‘grading’ you but you, and if you are happy with your contribution at the end of the day then that is really truly all that matters. Even the littlest changes can make a big difference.

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Comments on: "Mid-Week Update: Simplicity" (5)

  1. Keep the books that you love or with which you have had a relationship. During a purge I got rid of some of mine, thinking they’ll always be available at a library. Wrong … libraries don’t always keep older editions of text books, or independent books … libraries keep the books most people read, and up-to-date nonfiction. I’ve since regretted what I did, and urge caution. A toaster is just a toaster (and can be replaced easily), but a book is something more …

  2. Libraries are a wonderful place to visit for solitude and browsing and borrowing. ( I work at Central Library) A suggestion for purging your books, would be to comparing the titles to the titles in our catalogue. See http://www.reginalibrary.ca/

    Kim – if we don’t have the title, we can get it for you from another library outside of Sask. or one of the universities in Sask.( Interlibrary Loan is my department) It’s a service that a lot of people don’t take advantage of but please know we would be happy to get material for you! You can make a request online from the comfort of your home!

    Good luck with the purging…oh, another thing… your old books could be donated to the symphony or the hospital. Kim is right that we try to keep our collections up to date. We will take gently used books that are 2 yrs or newer. 🙂

  3. I’ve almost completely lost my desire to thumb through a book. I don’t know if it was just having a nursling and a laptop or what? But I only read digitally. It’s impacting how I’m writing articles and conducting research, most definitely (and I wholeheartedly support libraries). What about an e-reader? What about making lists of what you can find digitally, download the pearls that you can’t get rid of, and then re-purpose? You can save some books and make shelving out of them (I’ve seen a few DIY tutes online), use them as small storage, etc? I’m all for simplicity and repurpose-ing whatever I can as well (you’ve saw my small cluttered space). My hubby got an e-reader for Christmas, and he’s been voraciously reading again. And, yay for me, I don’t have books laying around my bedroom!

  4. I can completely relate, I love my books, all of them and find it really hard to part with them. We did do a book purge two years ago and thankfully those that went have not been missed. It wasn’t easy and as the books around here start to pile up again (yes we are book worms) I know a purge is in our future again soon.

  5. Books are food for the soul and in keeping with groceries being a need not a splurge I think you can give yourself a break when it comes to books. I know I purged and got rid of anatomy text and to this day I regret it when the children want to know something about their body. Enjoy your food for the soul.

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