How Un-Hauling My Books Changed My Life || A BESpring19 Discussion

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

  1. Sort books into two piles: ones I will read again, and ones I definitely won’t read ever again.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Ask my friends if they want any of the books I won’t read again.*
  5. Sleep on it. (Always a good idea when doing anything drastic.)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

  1. Is this a book I can read through the library for free?
  2. 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?
  3. 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

How do you manage your book collection? What is your favorite way to un-haul books? Do you plan your book purchases ahead of time or impulse buy? I would love to hear your thoughts! As always, thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Each week, bloggers come together to build a list on pre-selected topics. If you’d like to join in, check out That Artsy Reader Girl’s post for more info!

Back in February, I said I was going on a book buying ban. That definitely didn’t happen. A bunch of books that have been on my digital TBR for months (and years!) popped up on Book Outlet, plus there was Barnes & Noble Book Haul… I went on a bit of a shopping spree.

That being said, I’ve got a lot of physical books in my life right now and I feel so blessed to get to read them soon. Below are the top 10 books I’ve purchased in 2019 that I want to read this spring.

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The Book: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I purchased this back in December and I don’t know why I’ve been waiting so long. I’m a sucker for YA contemporary, and while I haven’t read any of Mafi’s work yet, I’ve heard nothing but good things, especially about this story that follows a Muslim teen directly post-9/11.

The Book: Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
Why I’m Excited to Read It:This book dropped onto my radar from our local interest table at work and I’ve been dying to read it ever since. It’s set in Tulsa, both in present day and during the race riots in the 1920s. This is such an important book, because no one in Oklahoma wants to talk about our racist past and we need to educate the younger generations so they don’t repeat our mistakes.

The Book: 96 Words for Love by Rachel Roy & Ava Dash
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I was initially hesistant about this one—mostly because I avoid anything that has James Patterson’s name on it—but when I found out that it’s based on Indian myth and that pretty much every character is diverse, I had to have this one. It’s supposed to be a bit fluffy, and we know I’m always in the mood for that.

The Book: Again, But Better by Christine Riccio
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I got approved for the ARC on NetGalley! Which is the first time that’s happened with this reiteration of my book blog. I’m not really into Booktube, but I think it’s really cool that one of the original Booktubers wrote a story about a 20-something. I always have a hankering for books about this age group, especially set in college (because it gives me nostalgia). I’m excited to see how this one turns out.

The Book: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Why I’m Excited to Read It: This ARC has been burning a metaphorical hole in my shelf all year. The story centers around a Jamaican British woman who feels caught between two cultures and just trying to get her emotional life in order.

The Book: You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I loved the first book by this author, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about her sophomore novel. The lovely Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books has raved about this story that’s a m/m romance with a heavy element of academic pressure—something we don’t see enough of in YA.

The Book: You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
Why I’m Excited to Read It: This has been on my radar since its release in 2017 and I finally bought myself a copy as encouragement to prioritize it. It follows three generations of Indian immigrants in America as they struggle to hold onto their culture and deal with racism. Apparently it also has strong feminist vibes, so I’m definitely excited for that.

The Book: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Why I’m Excited to Read It: Speaking of feminist vibes…this book follows a teen whose mom came of age during the Riot Grrrl 90s, and I’m excited to see this take on new feminism vs. old. I think that’s always an interesting discussion: how can we get better, but also how can we learn from our mothers and grandmothers.

The Book: Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Why I’m Excited to Read It: I loved American Street so much and I’m a huuuuge Austen lover, so this book is obviously on my radar. This book is an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice that’s set in contemporary Brooklyn, featuring an Afro-Latina main character and discussions of gentrification.

The Book: All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Why I’m Excited to Read It: This is another one that sat on my digital TBR long before I finally got my hands on a copy this year. This won’t be an easy read—it’s about rape culture, and how society tends to blame the victims rather than the perpetrators—but it’s one that I think is important, regardless of your age, gender, etc.

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There are so many more books on my TBR for this spring, but these are a few of the books that have recently (or not so recently) come into my life. I’m excited to dive in! Did you participate in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday? What are some books on your spring TBR? Let me know in the comments!

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