Why I don’t feel bad about getting rid of books

photo-13I’m having a purge.  This is part of my great decluttering project, which began just over two years ago (with professional help) when we moved back into a renovated house.  It is a lovely house now, but for some reason we’d got rid of any rooms in which we could just dump stuff, and we’d forgotten to think properly about bookshelves.

For the last two years my books have been piled.  Everywhere.  Precious first editions nuzzled up next to disposable airport thrillers.  ‘Sort out the books’ has been lurking on a variety of lists.

The impetus to get it done has nothing to do with New Year.  My daughter’s Guide troop are raising money for their camp holiday this summer, and someone suggested selling books.  ‘Bingo,’ I thought and the Great Book and Bake sale is planned for next week.

The books in the picture are the ones that are going.  I’ve decided classics can go – I’ve read the ones I’ve got a number of times, and I can get free e-copies if I need to read them again.  I’ve let my crime collection go.  I love crime, but I’m more interested in seeing what new books are coming out than re-reading Eric Stanley Gardner.  I have reference books I’ve not referred to for twenty years, they can go.  Cookery books that have failed to provide a single good recipe, gone.  Children’s books that weren’t beloved, gone.

Any that don’t sell next week are going to our local charity shop, Emmaus.  They are gone, gone gone.

Don’t worry though, I still have at least twice that number still in tidy piles, waiting like good citizens for me to care enough to find shelves.  The nice thing about getting rid of Stuff, whatever form that Stuff takes, is that the items left can show themselves rather than be swallowed up by the piles.  I have found at least 40 books that I haven’t read that look very interesting.  Both children have snaffled books that they wouldn’t look twice at if I’d recommended them, and I’ve discovered we have a truly impressive collection of very good cookbooks.

I’m running a small competition – can you guess how many books are in the picture?  I’m busy sorting them into categories, and laying them out nicely, and I’m going to count them.  So far the guesses range from 1 (a cynical friend who thinks the picture is actually a book cover) to over 1,000.  I will be sending a small prize to whoever gets closer – and it won’t be a book (unless you want one!).  Guessing ends midnight on Friday 11th January.

PS I guest blog on the Writers’ & Artists’ site, which is where you’ll find my suggested Christmas creative writing prompts, my summary of the year, and my 10 New Year’s Resolutions for writers.

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January 7, 2013

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