Updated on July 23, 2015
I can’t remember when I began to declutter. I have always been a person who enjoys having a view of my walls, my floor, my window ledge. I have given away my clothes since I can remember. If I am done with it, out it goes. The two things that are hard for me, as it is for most people, are books and things of sentimental value.
In the previous post, I stated how much I love books and I love reading. Many years ago, I indulged in my passion for books by building up a pretty sizeable collection of not only books I love, but also children’s books. At that time, I did not have a child and I wasn’t really thinking about children, but I enjoyed owning books that brought me joy when I was younger. I formed a sentimental bond with these dear books.
I have moved a few times in the past five years since Bean has been born and while everything else I took with me was minimal in nature, the boxes of books were not. The poor movers, they almost broke their backs bringing 10 (or more) boxes of books up the stairs. While I felt a little sympathy at their plight, I could not bring myself to part with my books.
At the end of last year, after much contemplation, I decided to upgrade to a smart phone. I don’t really like to be connected 24/7, so it was a difficult decision to make. At the time I did not have a computer in my home, but I did want Bean to practice French using electronic mediums. We could also read on the train without carrying five or six books around. The smart phone seemed like a reasonable compromise.
Since then, I have begun to read more on my phone when I am riding public transportation. Reading on my phone has helped me to look at my book problem and re-evaluate the situation. IT IS SO HARD! I like the look of my books on the shelf. I like the variety of color and height and subject. I like to remember what the book was about and to imagine the new worlds inside of the books I have not read. (Since my book binge all those years ago, I haven’t really bought any books, opting instead to download them or check them out from the library.) I finally decided to tackle this last stronghold in my house, get rid of every book that I haven’t yet read and that I will not be reading in the next year.
Reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, like so many others, I have embraced her thinking which is, if you haven’t read a book that you have kept for a long time, that book is no longer for you. Thank it, let it go and make someone else happy.
I think that is just what I needed to hear. Bean is still too young to read many of the books that I bought with some unknown child in mind. Some of the books she will have no interest in. The books that were for me, if I haven’t read them by now, it is true, I probably won’t read them. I just like the idea behind them. I have started to purge my books.
My conflict with getting rid of my books is should I sell them or should I give them away? I don’t need the money from any of the books, but if I can get a few extra dollars to treat Bean to something special that always makes her day…and I love making her day. In my neighborhood and in the neighborhood where Bean’s school is located, there are little free libraries. Usually they resemble oversized birdhouses with a window and a door. You can leave a book or take a book or both. I have considered leaving books in the boxes. The problem with both options is getting the books where I want them to go.
I know I wrote about the joy of public transportation. I really love it, but the bus is really not the place to go when you have 150 books to take along with you. I would ask a friend or a family member, but then we would all need to care numerous boxes out to the car and then unload it again at the location. I suppose that isn’t so bad, but the very idea makes me want to leave the books on the shelf.
Since I am here to give inspiration on living a minimalist life, I will definitely tackle this problem. When it has been resolved, I will let you know the outcome. If you have had difficulty decluttering books or items of sentimental value, please leave a comment explaining how you overcame the difficult.