Decluttering

Shhh! Don’t bother me. I’m reading.

It’s my latest challenge to declutter my house and rid myself of things.

I know! How good is this? I am actually tidying up and ridding myself of stuff by reading, by sitting here and reading.

I rarely hold onto books anymore. I know with all the new books being published and referrals to, or discovery of, old jems, there’s just too many books to read to spend time reading ones I’ve already read. So if a book isn’t one I would re-read, I donate, give away or exchange it. I only keep “keepers”. Oh and I keep reference books. And there’s my box sets of Little House and Famous Five. And all of Mr S’s books; he never parts with books.

My problem is: I buy more books than I read. And I borrow books. And friends lend me books, saying they think I’ll like it. And I’m in a book club. And I like keeping books.

I have several books on the go at once.

So, I have piles of books everywhere.

The two sides of the book shelf behind “Mum’s spot”. Where I sit and read and watch tele and muck around on the ‘net. Of course, I have more books than this. All around the house.

Now before you comment, “Hey Lucinda, books aren’t clutter,” or, “Hi, you might want go start with all the other paper clutter around your house before you start reading,” know that I really enjoy reading and decluttering by reading strikes me as an enjoyable task.

A few years ago Dar inspired me to Read Down the House. I picked twelve books that had hung around my house for too long and aimed to read them. I didn’t get through them all. Pout! One is still on my shelf. A worthy book. A book I searched for for years. A book I craved. And now I’ve owned a copy for years. And haven’t read it! (And when I tried, found it a little boring.)

So to this year’s reading challenge:

Read from my house.

1. If I get to page 100 and am not enjoying it, out with the book.

Do you know how hard it is for me me give in and not read a book once I start? Let alone one that I have bought and have had sitting on a shelf for months and years!? A little frizzon of anxiety, like I am breaking a core rule of being, hits my stomach. I can’t let a book defeat me. I have to win by finishing it.

But as a fellow bookclubber says, “I just need to learn to let it go. Life is too short to read things you are not enjoying.”

I will persevere!

2. If I find I am just not in the mood, I can put the book down but I must try again within the month. Or Out With The Book.

I thought about adding a rule to not buy more books until I have freed space on my shelves but that is just silly. Who can NOT buy books? I realised that wouldn’t work anyway when I read a recommendation by Jennifer. The book wasn’t at my local library so I had to buy it. The online seller upsold me another book by recommending one by the same author. I just had to accept the offer. What if the book wasn’t available in the future? Or I forgot it’s title or author?

I was going to also add a rule that I can’t take books from friends who want me to borrow the book. But that’s just mean and anti-social.

I’m not going to set a number or a theme or a topic. I’m not stop borrowing from the library. I am just going to try to dive into some of the book I have at home.

Anyway, shhh, I have to finish this chapter.

19 thoughts on “Decluttering

  1. This is definitely my style of de-cluttering! However, I felt that same anxiety you wrote of when thinking I might have to have rules about books on my shelves. No! I have to be in the right mood for certain books. And there is no clarity in what this might be…I can waste lots of time searching for the “right” book to borrow online and still not find it. Because I’m not really sure what I want…

  2. Those are really good (but hard) rules and I don’t stick to them either. I have books I’ve carted through 5 or 6 house moves and not read. Because I feel like they are compulsory/important, but the style is dull. A perfect decluttering project!

  3. Now I want to know which book you bought! I feel like I spend my life clearing clutter and it just multiplies when I turn my back. My kids say my stacks of books are clutter but I disagree.

  4. Like you, I also usually have several books on the go simultaneously, one of which is always an audio-book downloaded from the library on my tablet. As a bedtime ritual most nights, I put in one earphone, set the sleep timer on my tablet for an hour, then close the lid for darkness. Even if I fall asleep before the hour is up, I can always rewind to pick up the story from where I last remember. Actually downloaded some for my trip which turned out to be prescient as the entertainment system for my seat on the plane over the Pond didn’t work. Was gifted 7,500 miles for that little incident by the FA, so not only was I still entertained, but I am on my way to another (almost) free ticket for my next trip.

    I simply don’t consider books clutter, probably because I love to read–and as you might remember from my comment on your previous post, just acquired 10 more of them on my trip. Have to admit, we are also very alike in terms of buying books–sometimes waiting a long time for them and then not necessarily reading them in quick-time (or even a years time). Just like knowing I have a stash. Books are like the best cushions–something to lean on for comfort.

    • If i play an audio book when I am still, I fall asleep almost instantly. Can only listen and stay awake if I am driving, walking or doing something.

      Not bad to get all those miles as compensation! Better than just being moved to another seat. Was the plane full?

      • No, plane wasn’t full, but I liked where I was sitting (window, extra leg room) and didn’t really care about the IFE anyway, so the added miles were just a bonus. Even on the flight back over the Pond, I only watched one movie and then listened to my audiobook for rest of the flight.

        Frankly, when I travel, I usually just listen to music on my old IPod and read (if not a overnight flight–don’t like to disturb others with a light). The main thing I like about IFE on flights is the map showing info about the plane’s location, etc.. What can I say, I’m a airplane geek.

  5. Thoroughly approve 😊 I gave up on 2 books in my owned-books pile this year. Really, life IS too short. Like you, I don’t own a ton of books any more because I don’t expect to do much re-reading.

    • I often wonder why people persist reading a book they to which they give one or two stars. Though I have done the same. Sometimes I persevere because the book is so shite it is good or it is easy and quick to read. Now I think I will not finish them.

  6. Lol I love your strategy!! I have a horrible alternative issue: all my library “want” books seem unavailable and the three or so unread books at home do not really interest me. I will admit I have “read down” two of those in what seems the eternal wait for library books.

    I don’t even wait til 100 pages on dud library picks. If I’m avoiding bedtime reading of a book then it’s a strong sign!!

  7. Pingback: Reading Down the House (and the Library, too!) | An Exacting Life

  8. Love this! The best kind of decluttering. I haven’t purchased books for myself in years (gave it up as a challenge back in 2013ish?) but I still have books I haven’t read in my house, mostly gifts from other people. I feel the crunch of the deadline for all my library books and the books I own just don’t have that same sense of priority.

    • I can’t resist buying – when something catches my eye, when I hear about a book I want to read but the library doesn’t have it or the wait list is too long. I can, and do, ask the library to buy books but I know some of the ones I want are too niche or old for them to buy, especially ones I order second hand from the UK.

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