Jul 15, 2007

Purging the Clutter

I own too much stuff. I am buried in stuff. This weekend I am getting rid of some of my extras. Yesterday I owned 6 couches; now I have 5. I gave away the oldest to a man who is just at the stage of acquiring his household goods. This afternoon I will be giving away my largest bookcase. I still have seven others, not counting shelves and nooks here and there. This is not much, I know, but I once owned around 3,000 books, so this process of purging has been long, slow and painful.

This afternoon's selection means I must part with some beloved friends: Books that have traveled with me since college and through countless moves. It isn't easy. All the art and travel books stay; all fine literature stays; and all my Jane Austen and history books of the era remain. Gone are the "Dutch" books I inherited from a Dutch uncle, gone are the best sellers from previous years. (Does anyone read Michael Crichton any more?), and gone are the ancient books I purchased at book sales. I will take them to an antique book seller.

Parting with books is never easy for me. I am a hoarder and collector. Right now, 15-20 books sit next to my bed waiting to be read. I don't have the time to read them all, but once in a while I'll touch them lovingly promising them some attention later.

My reading habits have changed so much, from newspapers and books in print to collecting almost all of my current information online. Still, there is nothing like curling up on the sofa with my pooch, with soft music playing in the background and reading a good book.

As I pack up my friends I will thank them for the hours of pleasure they gave me. I hope their new owners will feel the same way.


ArtfulSub said...


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Big Fella said...

There was a time when I might be reading three or four books at one time, and when I could put away a book a day (obviously not getting anything else done that day). Readng has always been important to me.

As business and family responsibilities grew, the time spent reading seemed to disappear, and my methods changed. For the past few years while I would acquire a book or two once in a while, I have mainly spent my time reading daily, weekly and montlhy periodicals, and yes, the Internet.

I have much more interest in "current events" in my more mature years, so the periodicals and Internet have served a purpose in keeping me up to date with what is occuring day to day, but they do not serve as well to teach me about the past.

The other thing that I have noticed, is that it is so much more conducive to good reading retention, and reading enjoyment, and a general sense of relaxation and well-being sitting in a comforable chair with my feet up, or stretched out horizontally and reading something that has been printed on paper. Reading off of a computer monitor is not enjoyable, and becomes back breaking after hours and hours.

I think I am going to consciously go back to buying more books, and if I can get my health in order, out to the library on a regular basis. Reading is so important, and I know that because I have always been a prolific reader, it has helped my career immensely, achieving financial and professional success, being recognized for my abilities and contributions at the company I work for, and all without benefit of a college diploma, but none of it possible without having been a voracious reader all my life.

Lori said...

Congrats on cleaning things out! I've been going through the same process (ugh, I just have too much stuff) and haven't yet tackled my books, but I think I will be donating a number to the library. Such a good and freeing feeling to start getting rid of things -- and it makes me not want to buy anything else (except books, of course!).

eric3000 said...

Getting rid of stuff is hard but it feels so good!

Anonymous said...

What are you doing with your books? I don't think you said.

Ms. Place said...

Good question, bec. I am taking the antique books to an antique seller; and donating about 200 to a local nonprofit so they can sell them in their annual book sale. I'll take the rejects to the library, where they sell for 50 cents.