Organizing My Books

Today was “sorting the books” day.  Although I did a big purge of my books a few months ago, today I decided to organize what I had decided to keep.  I have a lot.  A lot of reference books… mostly on jewelry, of course.

What’s the point of having a book collection if I don’t reference then frequently?  So I am moving almost all of them over to the studio so I can have them on-hand.  I will also take some time to start (gradually) looking through these books to see what’s in them.  I will most likely find a few more I can purge once I flip through them and determine there are some with unnecessary information or that aren’t interesting.

I’m looking at the multitude of books I own… I finger the shelves of books on tape… why do I have so many?  Why is it hard to let them go even after I’ve read them or listened to them.  I have a guess.  I’m the “Let’s Make a Deal Woman”… the one who has that one obscure thing people might ask for every once in a while.  It’s a pride thing.  An accomplishment.  A “me” moment.

“You were asking about Japanese flower arranging?  I have a book on Ikebana!” 

“You say you’re interested in learning more about philosophy?  I have Philosophy for Dummies!”

“You were telling me you have a Tiffany lamp?  Let me show you my book of Tiffany’s artwork!”

I have to let that go.  I have be okay with being the person who says “I don’t know that” or “I don’t have that” or “I can’t help you with that”.

And what if I get rid of my books on Ikebana and then someday decide I want to see images of Ikebana?  Well, then I go to the library or search the internet or something else.  But I don’t NEED to keep three books on Ikebana that are doing nothing here other than gathering dust.  I want a “use it or lose it” attitude.

So… what if I only want to keep a book because it has pretty pictures and I like leafing through it.  Well then, the book has to move to a location where I will actually DO that from time to time… not hidden away on a closet shelf or in a box.

Does this sound like I’m trying to convince myself of something?  Like I’m giving myself a pep talk before the big purge?  I guess I am. 

So I moved the bulk of my jewelry reference books to my studio.  The next big “thing” is to sell/list my horror book collection.  Kind of a pain in the butt but these are books I paid a lot of money for so I’d rather recoup SOME if I can.  I’d like to sell them in one fell swoop rather than one at a time.  We’ll see.

I pick up a laptop case.  It’s a really nice laptop case.  But I just bought a backpack for my laptop (and for other times… dual purpose, baby!), so I’m thinking I don’t need two laptop cases (quit being the master of the “back-up”, I tell myself).  I open the case and check out all the little cubbies, making sure I haven’t stashed something important.  And as I do this I say to myself, “Oooh, this is so nice.  It’s great quality and it’s really clean.  I wonder if I should try to sell it on one of those local Facebook pages rather than just give it away.”

Eek!  Seriously, I must weigh the money that I’d get ($5-$10 bucks) against the cost of my time to photograph, list, arrange the sale/pick-up, and take the item for meet-up.  100% not worth it.  To some it may seem like I’m throwing money away… a LOT of money when you start adding up $5 here and $5 there.  But even if I throw away 500 potential dollars… I must weigh that against my time and effort.  And I don’t think I come out ahead in the long run.  And in the short run, I’ve still got a house full of stuff that I don’t want.  So… for almost everything, I will merely donate.  The things I will try to sell will only be specialty items, very niche items (jewelry making tools or supplies and rare books).  [For inquiring minds, I live in an isolated rural area so having a garage sale is not feasible.]

Now, all of this is in vain if I do like 99% of dieters and lose all the weight I want to lose then put it all back on again after a plateau of success.  So, just like the dieter, I must not think of this as a purge in order to have a clean house; I must think of it as a new way of life… something I incorporate into every day living.  Eating healthy, rather than dieting.  And surrounding myself with items that bring me joy rather than items I keep in case I’ll need them someday or because they’re worth some money. 

You doing the same thing at your house?  I’d love to hear about it.  Share your story, comments, questions, or inspiration by commenting on this blog post.

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