I have a lot of stuff.
Downsizing from a 2400 square foot house to an 800 sq foot one bedroom made me realize how much crap I’ve accumulated over the years. Lately, I’ve been thinking about selling or donating a chunk of my stuff. I have been feeling bogged down by it all, hampered and made heavy by this accumulation. I’ve been starting to feel like the junk lady from the movie, “Labyrinth”
I am can get okay with selling my beautiful Danish Modern sofa and desk, I can get rid of unused clothes, and sort through my boxes of random collected crap. But I’m having a difficult time with the idea of parting with my books. It’s amazing how much of my identity is wrapped up in this stuff. Especially my books.
I suppose they have been with me the longest, so they are old, comfortable friends by now. Some of these books have traveled with me since I was in single-digit years, some I have read and re-read and re-re-re-read. I have a book that my 4th grade teacher gave me, “Where The Red Fern Grows”. I have read it every year since then (and I still cry at the end. Shhh, don’t tell anyone). I have books that my mom wrote and bound for me, a book my uncle illustrated and wrote for me, books of theater and philosophy and science fiction – all of which have had great impact on how I view and think about the world around me, my relationships with other people, and my core values.
How can I get rid of these treasures?
Some friends have suggested I just get them on a digital reader.
Not only would that be cost prohibitive – I’ve collected this small library over the past 30 plus years – but something is lost in the translation for me when I read a digital copy. I feel this loss moreso with companion books than I do with a new reading. I can’t imagine reading “Where The Red Fern Grows” on a computer. Page lifting and travel has worn the old book. My hand-me-down-first-edition Oz books have that certain ‘old book’ smell. I have half that collection, my cousin has the other half, so not only do I have the wonderful tactile sensation while I hold those old hardbound copies, but I have a connection with my dear cousin, and to our parents who gave us these books.
I am a person who doesn’t sit still for long. I move. I have lived in dozens of towns in my life. There is a thrill to encountering a new city, and discovering it’s secrets. Having a lot of ‘stuff’ doesn’t work well for a person who likes to travel and move. Being encumbered is difficult for someone who gets an antsy feeling in her bones and motorcycles on her mind.
This is a conundrum.
I’m still working on it.
I feel the need to have a disclaimer about the disorder of my books. Usually I organize them according to genre, but I have yet to do that since the latest move. 🙂