Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Book Purge

I horde books. There's something very pleasing about a full bookcase...or five. Seeing all the books lined up, alphabetized by author and shelved by genre, gives me peace or comfort or something I'm not in the mood to analyze. I started collecting books in my early teens, using some birthday money to buy my first bookcase. I don't collect anything else, not DVDs or shoes or music or men. I horde only books.

I have standards, though. I won't just toss anything on my shelves. I have to have read the book or be planning to read it (different shelves). If read, I have to have really liked the book. If I can't decide if I really liked the book, it goes. If I don't think I'll read the author's next novel, the book goes.

I was recently inspired to take a closer look at my shelves, to see if what I had was really what I wanted on them. I was surprised to find that there were many books that I'd moved with me many times but no longer loved. Authors who had been favorites of mine when I was younger, but whom I no longer read. Coffee table books that I'd gotten for free—and since I don't own a coffee table and am not a fan of large picture books stacked on flat surfaces, they've been shelved among the other nonfiction. Books that I read and loved a decade ago, that I've not thought about in nearly as long.

I pulled all these from my shelves. The result: about seven or eight paper grocery bags worth of unwanted books (I don't have that many spare bags, so mostly they're stacked on the floor in the giveaway section of my library/dining room). All these books will go to the used book store and then on to good homes where they'll be loved and treasured again. It makes me happy. Plus, looking at all those holes in my shelves that can be filled with new books always brings a smile to my face.


TikiBird said...

Hooray, Rebecca! Congrats on your cleaning. Thing of the great as-yet-undiscovered books you're making space for!

Here's my own inspirational decluttering story of the day: I've had this black top in the closet for about, oh, 10 years (I cannot freaking believe the top and I are so old!). I hung onto it throughout all of my closet purging for the last decade, despite it having been way too small to look good on me, because it once looked good on me, and I had never found another one to replace it. But last week, I finally donated it.

Well, today, I found almost the exact same style top, only it actually fits me now and is more flattering! Good thing I made space for my new shirt!

Perhaps you will find new authors, and new series, to fill your new space. :)

Kathy said...

You could also try paperback swap. Someone gets a book they want and you get a book you want. It's a win,win!

Rebecca Chastain said...

Congratulations, TikiBird! What a great reward for decluttering. Plus, isn't that what the declutter guru says happens, that you have the room for all the things you want to have? Hum, maybe I should move my trim down to my closet. Regina Thomashauer writes in her first Mama Gena book that she went through her closet and got rid of everything she didn't like on her, didn't fit, was old, etc. and she had only one outfit left. Then all the clothes started coming in, free ones from designers and from friends. I'm not quite that brave, but your story's an inspiration.

Kathy, what a great idea! If I didn't already have a great used book store about half the size of an average Wal-Mart that I trade with, I might be tempted. Plus, this way I can get rid of bags and bags of books at once! I'd like my library/dining room floor space back. :)