Monday, April 16, 2012

Keeping the clutter out...


I am so thrilled. I have managed to rid myself of a whole bookshelf of books. This is the second big cull I have done in six months, but I confess I still own hundreds of books. I L.O.V.E. books! Initially saying goodbye to them was not easy. It is a relief to have discovered that they didn't have the hold over me that I thought they did. I haven't really thought about the ones I have given away. I am quite sure if I went around the house again I could give away another significant amount of books. 

The books I have kept are mostly reference and inspirational books, books filled with beautiful words and images, that excite me and that I return to over and over again. Of course I have kept books for purely sentimental reasons. I have a box of my childhood books, and the children have their own favourites stored away too. 

 I am wondering if it would be a good idea to toss the favourites that are falling apart (like our 'The Hobbit') and to replace them with a hardback, or a first edition, or a leather bound copy instead.  Is it really worth keeping an old, mouldy, yellowing and torn paperback? 

I am fortunate because I work in an environment where I am surrounded by books (a library). I feel so rich, so full. I have also acquired a Kindle. I have so many books on there and it takes up no room at all. It isn't the same as a paper book though (it is cold and doesn't smell bookish and there are no pages!)- and I feel quite sure that my favourites will always be in a print edition. 

The (almost) empty bookshelf. 

Now the hard work begins. If I thought the hard work was in de-cluttering the house I think I might have been wrong. I suspect it is keeping 'stuff' out that is going to be the challenge, and I am not just talking about the things I will personally bring into the home, but gifts given in love... Oh how to deal with them?   


  1. :0) Well done!

    Your sentence "I haven't really thought about the ones I have given away," caught my eye. I am entirely convinced that possessions draw down energy from us - are alive in a borrowed sense, ie parasitic. As soon as we detach from them, their power over us is broken.

    Your suggestion that you might "replace them with a hardback, or a first edition, or a leather bound copy instead" sets my warning light flashing. It depends what you intend. If you would like to live simply, a complication of getting the sort of editions as you describe is that the cords binding them to you wrap round and round and are hard to break free from - you will have spent a lot of money on them, they will be valuable artefacts, they will be important historically (1st editions): they have all the hallmarks of an Heirloom. Nothing has me heading for the hills quicker than the threat of an heirloom. It has an agenda the size of the Empire State Building.
    I prefer Kindle or the cheapest paperback, because all I want is the content of the book.

    On the other hand, some people (eg Michael Lorence) are handling and savouring books as artefacts, and the book's outer integument is all part and parcel of the experience called "book".

    But beware of clutter fluttering its eyelashes in a new and enticing and especially tenacious form! Buying beautiful, rare, leatherbound 1st editions may be like planting beautiful, graceful, elegant Japanese Knotweed!

  2. Ah now isn't that thought provoking!

    1. I guess this is the thing about The Simply Living Challenge - it is working out what 'simply/ simple living looks like for each one of us. Maybe caring for old books may be part of it for me - but it may not be. I am certainly pondering Pen's words. Hmmm...

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I deleted the first comment. I'm having trouble knowing how to word my thoughts. I'm not sure if it is as cut and dry as this but since we had this 'conversation' I have considered whether or not a leather bound or first edition book fits into my values as a simple liver. I adore books like these (I have one that was given to me, a favourite by Emerson) - but if I continue down this Franciscan path then luxuries are out (though we can define for ourselves what that might be). Still thinking about this...

  3. Hi Asta,
    I have always loved the words 'permeable membrane'.
    I think in your case, and for any other courageous soul on this simply living path (including me), its not just about keeping things out, but keeping the energy flowing, and the balance of the two.
    As for your comments about getting another better looking copy, I say only if the other one is well and truelly dead. But if its brain is intact and just has wrinkles, then all the more soul. :)
    Peace out sister

    1. Your comment reminded me to not stress about simple living (books for whatever). It certainly would be counter-productive, wouldn't it?
      So peace and all joy my friend.
      Asta x

    2. I mean - books or whatever (not for whatever).

  4. I only keep the books I need for my trade and books for my soul.
    The rest is gone or will be going to a new home.
    I own a lots of rare books.I keep them.It is my love and investment.

    Regards form wimmera