Hello and welcome back to my blog!
Today I’m joining in on Bookending Spring, an event hosted by Clo @ Book Dragons and Sam @ Fictionally Sam. This seasonal event brings together the book community to talk about all things spring cleaning/organizing—be it your blog, your bookish life, or anything at all. For more info, you can check out Sam’s announcement post.
This prompt for this post comes from the lovely Haley @ The Caffeinated Reader’s prompt on “Learning to Let Go” which explores ways to let go of books you don’t need anymore.
Some of you may know that I have blogged before.
Back in 2017, I went through a period of blissful unemployment which is when I first got involved in the book community. Alas, my very fortunate circumstances were temporary, and my then-fiance-now-husband and I ended up packing up our things to move across the country and back to my homeland of Oklahoma.
Instead of doing the traditional route and renting a truck to move, Seth and I bought a retired wheelchair-accessible school bus and converted it into an RV.* We weren’t sure what was next for us in life, but we knew we wanted to be able to live minimally and, if possible, live out of the bus** itself. Which meant, of course, that I had to get rid of a bunch of my things.
*I did some posts about this which are long gone…but if that’s something you’re interested in seeing re-posted here, I mean, let me know?
** Whom we affectionately named Gus.
Getting rid of clothes I don’t wear is easy for me. Getting rid of books, on the other hand, is heartbreaking.
Still, it had to be done, and in 2017, I did it. I unhauled almost every single book I owned, with the exception of a few that I saved, either to re-read at some point, or for my 8-year-old niece to read when she’s old enough.
How I Un-Haul
- Sort books into two piles: ones I will read again, and ones I definitely won’t read ever again.
- Set aside books from college that I might reference at some point, like my literature anthologies and old sociology books. Those have to stay, regardless.
- Sort books I will read again into ones I’m actually intending to re-read soon versus ones I loved so much that I would hypothetically read again. The hypotheticals can get boxed up.
- Ask my friends if they want any of the books I won’t read again.*
- Sleep on it. (Always a good idea when doing anything drastic.)
- Donate remaining un-haul pile to the local library. See also: selling them to a used bookstore, leaving them on a street corner** or in your old apartment for the next tenant to find.
- Repeat yearly, or as necessary.
*I skipped this step in 2017 because everyone I knew was at least 90 miles away, and I didn’t have money for shipping. This would also be a great time to do giveaways…provided I actually had enough of a following for something like that.
**yes, I’ve done that before, because homeless people need to read too!)
By the time I moved back to Oklahoma, I had less than 20 books that weren’t boxed up. I probably could’ve kept even fewer books, but I wanted A Song of Ice and Fire, The Lord of the Rings, and Anne of Green Gables to watch over our passage, so those came on the bus with us.
Now, I’m a firm believer in the power of un-hauling.
Even though I live in a decent-sized apartment, I refuse to let my book population get out of control. Yes, I always want more books. But I also look through the ones I have every once in a while and realize how many I will probably never read again.
Un-hauling my bookshelves has change the way I currently acquire books.
Before, I loaded up my Kindle and physical shelves with books I wanted to read, even if I probably wasn’t going to get around to reading those books for months or even years. I’m still guilty of the occasional book buying spree* but I try to ask myself questions before I purchase something.
- Is this a book I can read through the library for free?
- Is this a book I have heard only amazing things about from my blogging friends and therefore one I’m likely to be flailing over and possibly read again?
- Have I been considering buying this book for a while now, or is it a new release I’m impulse-buying because it’s in front of my face at work?
*I work in a bookstore, which is like an alcoholic working in a bar, tbh.
I bought so many books in the early part of this year that I put myself on a book-buying ban until my birthday in early May.
Granted, I broke the ban a couple times* but for the most part I’ve been really strict with myself. Even better, I have a running tally in my head of books I can’t stop thinking about reading, and I’ve got enough cash back on one of my credit cards to have a gift card sent out. When my birthday gets here, I will be able to buy myself presents in a way that’s well thought-out instead of impulsive. Which means I will likely (hopefully) not have buyer’s remorse with my birthday presents!
*Book of the Month was running a special and I really wanted to join, okay?
Books Currently on my To-Buy List
- Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswul
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Meditation Is Not What You Think by John Kabat-Zinn
- The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
- Final Draft by Riley Redgate
- The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo