I have a thing for books. All kinds of books. I have how-to, self-help, fiction. I have classics and pulp fiction paper backs. I have beautiful books, cookbooks, ancient books. Children’s books, art books, coloring books. All kinds.
Several years ago, I thinned my books and donated them. I regretted getting rid of some of them. I bought them again, mostly used, on Amazon or at the local library’s annual book sale. I think I got rid of them for the wrong reason. I felt I “should” get rid of excess things thanks to my overindulgence in self-help books about getting rid of things. Since that time, I have been reluctant to thin again.
I have a selection of books I call my hands off collection. No one can borrow them. If you are my friend and want to read them, you have to come stay with me while you do. You can get comfortable on the porch or on one of the beds in the back bedroom. I’ll even cook for you.
I don’t know what has clicked with me recently, but I found myself thinning my books. Not the hands-off collection, but other books. Especially the “self-help” ones. That has expanded to even more topics. Some craft books and home decorating books have made it to the out pile. I have enough in the pile to make it worth going to the second-hand bookstore that buys used books. What they don’t want, I will gladly give to the Salvation Army store.
I think when I found I could buy Orchids on Your Budget on-line new or like new, I felt some release. I actually bought three copies. Now, that may seem silly. I’m purging books because I bought three copies of a book I already have in the hands-off collection giving me a total of four copies. That title is one of two books I have that will go in my purse if I have to evacuate. The other is Headhunting in the Solomon Islands (not what it sounds like). I can’t explain my love for them. They are both non-fiction from the 30’s. The first is about living cheerfully and well on a budget. The second is about two women who go to the South Pacific to capture sketches of the natives before they either became extinct or “modernized”. Who knows what would happen if I find more copies of the second one? I might really unload some junk. (I haven’t look, yet.)
In the interest of being transparent, I have a long list of books I want to acquire with an idea to read them and a pile of books recently acquired from used book sales, with an idea to read them. I am not quitting the book business. I am trying to quit the keeping business. Keeping for the wrong reasons. I have new courage to face other areas of the house now that I have done the unbelievable and purged so many books with more in the target zone. Still, I tried to face the scarf collection this morning without success. Too much too soon.
I will not give up on my process. I will try to expand on this line of thought and work in the coming weeks. The reasons for all the keeping and the reasons for trying to stop keeping. I do want to say now, though, I don’t have all that much. I don’t have a lot of things in the attic. I don’t have a garage or storage building or rented space. I have only two or three medium size tubs of Christmas decorations. I could pile all the items I have stored on shelves or closets in the middle of the living room floor and still be able to walk around it. But, too much of it is stuff I don’t really use over the course of the year. Too much is stuff I acquired for the wrong reason. Now that I have done what I consider unbelievable, I will be challenged to do even more unbelievable things to prove myself to my own self. That is the only proving I am interested in these days anyway……Unbelievable.