I was thinking about the pledge I made to myself yesterday. About actually TAKING things to the charity shop or listing them on Freecycle, instead of living among piles of ‘stuff’.
I walked into my room where I keep all my books this morning and was confronted with masses of them. I’m quite sure they breed overnight.
I got rid of hundreds of books earlier this year, but still they are falling over on the shelves; they tumble off when I go to select one, or I simply cannot find what I am looking for amongst them all.
So my September zero waste pledge will involve the culling of books too.
It’s such a difficult thing to do. And it’s taken me until the past couple of years to really be able to let go of books. I don’t know what it is about them, but I know I am not alone. There are lots of people who find getting rid of books really hard to do and many of us who are addicted to buying more.
Being someone who loves to write, I always think about the author. It kind of feels disrespectful to get rid of something that probably took over a year to write!
I used to use the mantra of William Morris to help me reduce clutter in my home – if it wasn’t beautiful or useful it had to go.
But I could always find the ‘one day’ excuses. And I could always find beautiful OR useful in everything. Even the third stapler, identical photograph taken in the photo booth with old school friends who’s names I can’t remember or dried up tub of mascara.
Now I use a different approach which I find really helpful when it comes to books. I ask myself ‘Does this represent me now, or who I was in the past?’
This is so liberating and I have freed boxes of my faithful friends by asking myself this question. I feel good about setting my books free to be with someone else who will get as much out of them as I have. Yes, they may well have provided a turning point in my life or helped tremendously with something, but if the learning has been done, then it’s time to let go.
We all move on in our lives, we evolve and become interested in different things. This simple question has enabled me to let go of the things that no longer serve me.
So I’ll be using that question again as I thumb through the shelves with my ruthless head on in September.
I know that walking into that room after my culling is over will be a huge reward. I will be able to find what I want and know that all my books have meaning to me in this moment. I’ll be able to sit in my rocking chair with a book in my hand and wrap myself up in every word on the page.
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