Things people say when they come to my house:
- You have a lot of books
- Will I knock this pile over if I’m not careful?
Things people do when they come over:
- Look at me like this:
(Yes, I need to have more bookish people in my life, but that is a different post).
(Also, Mike Bloomberg –I am a girl who goes to the library. Look out.)
Once after a contractor looked especially horrified, I stored books under the bed to appear to own an amount of books in the ‘normal’ range. There wasn’t enough space under the bed to actually accomplish this, so I learned to accept that too many books was just my MO.
Things people ask me after the see all the books:
- So have you read all these books?
The answer, sadly, is no. Not even close, bud.
Perversely, if I really want to read a book, I buy it. That way I always have it and can read it at my leisure. As opposed to books I take out of the library which have a time limit, therefore I prioritize them. Those are the books that I actually read! Crazy right? So the books just continue to pile up. Occasionally, I do a cull and donate to the library. Marie Kondo really inspired me to declutter, but probably 95% of the books bring joy! I like having them near me and there is nothing wrong with that!
And then I moved.
The realtor came and said: you must de-clutter to make this place look larger. She had seriously concerned/who has hired me face. The only possible solution was to put some things and many of the books in storage. When you are faced with paying to store your books and hauling them to and from a storage facility, you really start to get real with yourself about whether you actually need ALL of these books. I did a major, major, major cull. I went through all the stages of grief of losing my friends. I talked myself through it. I can always buy them again if I want them. I can always get them from the library if I want to read them. Yes, I can always get them from the library! I probably won’t even notice they are gone (note: one week after moving, I spent over an hour looking for a book that I really wanted to read, and guess what… I had donated it. But I won’t that stop me).
I still have a sizeable collection (see stats below), but I feel it’s down to the ones that I most want to read, as opposed to the ones that just seemed like a good idea at the time. I decided that I would start a project to read the books I already had (I also decided that last year, but that didn’t work out).
And then by kismet I discovered the #UnreadShelfProject2020 YES! These are my people! This is what I needed. Some structure, others going through the same issues, other readers. Like any self help program, the first step is admitting the problem. We were asked to add up our owned book totals. This wasn’t difficult for me because I have a crazy huge book spreadsheet. So ta dah, here were my stats when I started in January:
337 Print books
Keep in mind, this was AFTER my major culls. This means I moved or stored 337 books. Ay yi yi!
But these are the books I really want to read and laid out my hard earned money to buy, so that is why I’m doing to the #UnreadShelfProject2020. Any questions?