One Week and Counting…

22 Dec

I can see you doing the math in your head. One week? Until what?? Christmas is in less than a week. New Year’s is more than a week away. That countdown is one week until I move. I’m not really moving that far away, just one floor up, from my room to my roommate’s Master bedroom, but I still have to pack all of my books. And while I’m about halfway down, I think I might have finally reached my breaking point.

This morning, I packed 14 boxes worth of books. And in the process of doing so, I realized how many I have that I really and truly will never, ever read. In the last several years – actually since the beginning of this blog – my reading tastes have changed, fairly dramatically. Not too many traditional chick lit novels for me anymore; my guilty pleasures are now purely YA. I just don’t have the patience for chick lit anymore, they’re no where close to being anything I can relate to anymore, but I own so very many of them, and most of them in hardcover.

But that’s just one category! I had a realization this morning that I really do not need to own so many books, that I likely will never re-read most of the ones I have read, and that space in an urban apartment is at a premium. There are only so many ways to squeeze one more bookshelf into a room. I think one of my projects as I unpack will be to not only sort my books and actually develop some kind of system where now there is none, but also to set aside two piles: one to donate to my local library book sale (which I’ve posted about before), and one to sale to my local used book store for store credit.

As we approach the end of the year, I’m listening more and more to those Christmas wishes I listed and thinking about what they really mean. It’s not the physical book that matters so much anymore; it’s the act of reading, the experience of enjoying it, and then the ability to share that in any way I can. And downsizing is a big part of that.

So as I’m packing up this week, I’m mentally keeping track of books I’m okay with moving onto another home, and pulling aside a handful of books I want to read before 2011 is done.

Somewhere in the middle of all this packing is Christmas, and then right after the move (I mean the day OF the move), I’m flying to Boston for New Year’s. Which means I’ve got a lot of reading time between now and midnight on Dec. 31st. Keep an eye out for my Best of 2011 sometime after Jan. 1st.

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6 Responses to “One Week and Counting…”

  1. kimthedork December 23, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    Moving books is a huge pain. When I moved earlier this year, I packed something like 20 boxes of books (after I got rid of a bunch as I was packing). I did another pretty good purge of my read books shelves about a month ago, and it felt really liberating. I still haven’t done a good job trimming down the unread books, but most of the ones I have now are ones I think I want to read. Good luck!

  2. Clinton December 23, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    In my early twenties, I moved 5 times in 3 years. Two of those moves were international (requiring move to storage). By the time I settled in Vancouver, I realized that the amount of money I had spent on books (then given away) and spent moving books could have fed a small village for a year in certain countries, I decided to stop buying books. My wife and I go to the library – if they don’t have what we want, we request it, and they almost always add it to the circulation (the wait is usually six weeks or so).

    We have one bookshelf in our house (for adult books). We each get two shelves. Mine holds my true favorites (after painful paring). THE SHIPPING NEWS, GILEAD, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, EAST OF EDEN, DEATH COMES TO THE ARCHBISHOP, THE PROFESSOR’S HOUSE, THIS HOUSE OF SKY, ESSAYS OF EB WHITE, WOBEGON BOY, and a few Lonely Planet books are all that remain. I have space for ~15 more. MATTERHORN may make it this year, but it is kinda big. In the meantime, I have pictures taking up the rest of the space showing amazing vacations we’ve taken… maybe, partly, cause we quit buying books.

  3. Kerry M December 26, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    Part of me has always been tempted to do what Clinton (above) has done. But then another part of me screams in resistance, thinking, “But how will I survive!?” Yes, I could survive, I could use the library more (although I already use it quite a bit), and I could pare down on the books. It would certainly save back-aches and moving expenses when the time comes to pack these all up again. But I can’t imagine my living room (and bedroom and every other room, for that matter), without books. They are as much decoration and a part of my home as the paint on the walls. The key, I think, is making sure that the ones you keep are the ones worth keeping – that you will lend, read, re-read, or long to read upon seeing on the shelf.

    Good lucking paring down, and good luck with the move!!

  4. Melody Wilson December 28, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    I had a similar experience recently. I have bookshelves overflowing with books I haven’t read, and the worst part is, I’m sure they are really good. So I came up with a challenge: read 25 books from my shelves in one year. That’s it. Then I can decide whether they were worth buying in the first place, or if I should just mark them as read and get them out the door!

  5. Meg December 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    I have a ton of books stored at my parents’ house since they don’t really fit in my tiny city apartment. Sigh…

  6. Bree January 2, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    Congrats on coming to your realization. I did the same thing this past summer and removed about 6 boxes of books from my apartment. Its very liberating.

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