I love the New Year. I love that it’s cold outside and we spend our evenings cozy in front of the fireplace reading or watching movies or playing board games. I love the possibility of new beginnings, new adventures and opportunities. But mostly, I love the feeling of wanting to start fresh and an entire 12 months with a blank slate in front of me.
We’re in the fourth week of the year and I’ve already re-organized my both linen closet and pantry. I’m eyeing my closet and dresser drawers, both of which are currently bursting at the seams. Last year, we went through a major purge of ‘stuff’ and I thought I was done. But this year it feels like a challenge to do it again. I’ve decided that 2019 is the year of less. Less possessions and less purchases. Why do I feel the need to shop for things that I don’t need or that just make me happy at that moment? How many platters does one family really need?
A few days ago I was on twitter and saw that everyone was talking about Marie Kondo and how many books she feels you should own. I’ll be honest, at first I laughed and thought, not me! There’s no way I could live without my books. I have nearly every book I’ve read over the past 22 years. Stacks of books filling book shelves, two rows deep. My books make me happy, they’re comforting and I love to look at them. But then, a few days later, I began thinking of it more and more.
Over the summer I finally brought all my childhood books to my niece. I’d been holding onto them for 30’ish years, boxes of books about babysitter and blonde twins. Books about vampires and witch craft and ghosts. My niece, an avid reader, welcomed them with open arms. It was hard to part with such a big piece of my childhood, but one day it just occurred to me that they were going to waster and what was the point of a book if not to be read. The books had been sitting in boxes through several moves, enough was enough.
Thinking about my childhood books, I gave myself a challenge. I went to my book shelves and, book by book, I went through and thought about each of them. Did I enjoy the book? Would I read the book again? Did the book give me joy? And as it turns out, a lot of them didn’t.
After one run through of all the titles I ended up with a pile of books that I couldn’t imagine ever reading again. Books that yes I may have enjoyed 5 or even 15 years ago, but why was my attachment to them so strong that I had to keep them knowing I would never read them again.
So this is my starting pile. My Aunt volunteers at a woman’s shelter and these will be on their way to the shelter’s library. I’m giving it two weeks and I’ll give my books another run through and see how many more I can add. Books were definitely meant to be read and it’s time for me to let them go.