I Heart Books

Over the past several weeks, I've been organizing my belongings and purging those that were unwanted or unneeded. So far, I've taken two packed trunkloads to Salvation Army, over-filled our giant, black trashcan with recyclables, and pitched a couple grocery bags of trash.

For a while now, when I woke up, it felt like everything I owned was going to fall on top of me. Even when everything was organized, it felt like chaos. Many of the items I finally got rid of had followed me through several moves and never made it out of their boxes except when I was moving them into different boxes or frantically searching for something I'd lost.

After a chaotic weekend at Wild Goose, I knew the purge I'd been fantasizing about for months had to happen right away. If I didn't get it done, I would continue feeling exhausted and... blurry. I had to rid myself of the physical clutter to make room for other things - physical, emotional, and spiritual - I want in my life.

After I finished up last night, I settled into a chair to eat my dinner and watch some TV. That's when I admitted to myself that I wasn't actually done. I was about 85% done but there was still the matter of my books.

Aren't they pretty? The cookbooks have their own shelf in the kitchen. Yes, that's a Care Bear. My mom made it.
Compared to some of my friends', my current book collection is amateurish. Even so, the 250-300 I own make for at least fourteen heavy boxes that need to be packed and carried with every move. Just imagine how many more it would be if I hadn't purged my collection several times over the years.

I tell myself that there are very few books on my shelves that couldn't be easily obtained from the library. I don't write in the margins of most books, so I wouldn't be losing a repository of jotted thoughts. But I worry about forgetting their titles or not having them when my hypothetical children want to read them or not having enough books around to look like a reader, so I hang on.

This is the last challenge of the purge. The rules of thinning will be as follows:
  1. Allotted space = one bookcase with room to spare for inevitable future acquisitions.
  2. Used journals and yearbooks do not count.
  3. Purging must be complete (with all purged books out of the house) by September 8.
Do you have an irrational fear of getting rid of books? Do you have any strategies that help you not go overboard with your book collection or do you just give in to the urge to hoard them? 
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