Day 105: Chip

IMG_2310OK, I have made one previous minor attempt to chip away at my books. Today is another small step in that direction.

I suppose it should be no surprise, given my profession, that I would have the hardest time shedding books. But the reality is: I have plenty of books on my shelves that I will never reread, and that I can’t imagine any of the kids ever picking up to read. Nor would I say that most of the books–tattered paperbacks–have any collectible value. With a move pending, I have a bit more motivation to let go of some of these titles, but it’s still a difficult task.

The root problem: books are fetish items for me–no, not that kind of fetish, but their material presence, stacked on shelves or piled on the floor, serves as a talisman of a sort–charms that strengthen and maintain that illusion I have of myself (and isn’t that whatΒ  ego is?) as a well-read, educated, and cultured individual.

But it’s just more stuff, really.

IMG_2311So I continue to chip away at the books, using the same guideline as I did before: if I can’t fit them on the shelf, then they need to be donated to someone who has space and use for them. I tried to use that same standard of enduring value for holding onto the titles that I kept (or more accurately: if there was clearly no enduring value for a book, that was one I could toss).

In the end, I packed up two heavy-duty, two handled paper shopping bags with books and sent them down to the basement to await their eventual donation.

And yes, I did cheat–I couldn’t quite fit all the books that I wanted to keep onto these two sets of shelves, so a small handful–fewer than ten–joined the overflowing stacks of books on another set of shelves just to the left… and conveniently off camera.

Small steps….

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11 Responses to Day 105: Chip

  1. But that is a huge step πŸ™‚ I think it is amazing progress. Every time a few more and a few more. Terrific job!

  2. The shelves look much better. I’m avoiding down sizing by having my husband build me more book shelves πŸ™‚ Honestly I will downsize some and have more room to organize and showcase the ones I have.

    • Mark says:

      Back when I was trying to purge “archived” items in my inbox, I tried to focus on “decimating”–literally eliminating 1 in 10. That’s probably a good place to start. I wonder if I could do the opposite though: grab ten books and choose only one to keep. I don’t think I’m that brave….

  3. Anne Lene says:

    It’s what I do! You just have to chip away at it, one book at the time and before you know it, suddenly you’ll have space in your bookshelf – well at least that’s what I keep telling myself, that I will at some stage, have some free space in my bookshelf πŸ˜‰ good luck to you..

    • Mark says:

      It’s the only way I can do it. I think I’ve found a good home for some of my 19th century English literature, so that should make the parting a little easier too.

      • Anne Lene says:

        Isn’t it great when you find good homes for them? I always find it easier to part with things (and books) when I know they go to a place where they will be used or appreciated πŸ™‚

  4. Small steps! I am fighting the urge of buying more… I am reading a book right now that I’m not loving but still I didn’t want to leave it behind when I go home. Thankfully some pages came loose so now I’m going to leave it behind anyway which feels pretty good πŸ™‚

  5. Tamara says:

    This will help: start packing them up. As you imagine packing them, carrying them, and moving them across a few states – or paying someone to do it for you – you may find it easier to let them go…

    • Mark says:

      Great point! It helps that we will have almost no book shelves in the house we are going to be staying in for the next year. That means whatever I pack up will probably stay in a box for some time. And if it can live in a box for a year without me missing it… maybe I don’t need to keep it after all?

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