Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sometimes Love Means Letting Go (Sydney Salter)

I've had a lifelong love affair with books. I love, love, love, LOVE books. I won't even leave my house without a book (what if there's a freak traffic jam on the way back from taking my daughter to school?!?!). Thus, I have many shelves of many books.

My away-at-college daughter recently said, "it's hard to convey to people the library-slash-pet* vibe of our house."  *three dogs, two cats, two tortoises, two bunnies, a bearded dragon and a rat.

Letting go of books has always been difficult to me. I tend to shelve them like trophies--even those, like the literary criticism I hated reading in college, that feel more like participation ribbons than actual accomplishments. 

Not only had I run out of shelf space, I'd run out of wall space. So what did I do? I bought another book! The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Phase two is getting rid of books you don't love.



I spent hours removing every book from my shelves and stacking them in my living room. Over the next three days, I examined each volume. Do I love you? Kondo also reminds us that many books have served their purpose in the act of being read. Others you might think you want to read, but never do. Those books tell you something about yourself too. And you don't need to keep them anymore. 



I donated more than a thousand books to charity on Monday. Thank you to the other great love in my life--my husband--for carting off all those brimming boxes.

My shelves now house books that I truly love, or books that I'm eager to read. You can see that I still have, ahem, quite a bit of love on my shelves. It was also a little embarrassing to have the mailman show up on Saturday with the latest selection from my Powell's Book Club. 


The empty shelf space is ready to hold the books that will inform and delight the future me. And that's a lot more exciting than a dusty old how-to-feed-your-toddler paperback! 

3 comments:

  1. More than a thousand books! Holy moly. I'm in the process of decluttering, too. (I love your bookshelves. Mine are bowing in the middle. Grrrr...)

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  2. Wow, what a huge task! But I have Marie Kondo's book on my TBR pile as well and I am really looking forward to go through my books and everything else to figure out what I truly love and need going forward. I can't wait to see how my progress stacks up (no pun intended) to yours!

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  3. Kind of like ripping out part of your soul, isn't it?

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