22 April 2013

Parting is such sweet sorrow

I cut off a limb on the weekend. Well, not literally, but it was almost as painful. Actually, the contemplation was almost as painful, but the reality was quite releasing.

We cleaned out our bookshelves. I love books. I love reading good books filled with real characters, whether they're fictional or not; believable plots, whether they could happen in reality or not; and delicious words. I'm not much of a writer, but I love reading. I also love books that inspire, that inform, that broaden your horizons.

My husband likes the concept of books. He rarely reads non-fiction and he talks about reading more than he actually does it.

My girl has inherited my love of a well-told story.

This is our front entrance bookcase:

What you can't see here is the bottom row of books; the shelf of gardening books to the right; the two cases in the dining room or the case at the end of the hall. What you can probably see is that we had more books than shelves.

When we moved from Perth, ten years ago, we carted most of these books across the country. Boxes and boxes and boxes of them. And since then the vast majority of them have only been touched when the shelves have been moved.

Since we're considering moving again, I figured it was a good time to cull. And cull we did. Our process was very simple. All three of us were involved in a conveyor line process. There were no recriminations or discussion about what people wanted to keep. If an individual wanted to keep something, it got kept.

I cleaned out a shelf and took a book. If I wanted it, it went back on the empty shelf. If I didn't want it, it went down the line to hubby. If he wanted it, back it went; if not, it went to the Girl. If she didn't want it, it went on the pile to give away.

We have tried this once before; a shelf at a time. See that empty shelf at the back, towards the bottom? That's as far as we got. Give hubby enough time and he can talk himself into keeping anything. This turned out to be one of those rare cases where 15 minutes at time wasn't the best method. In an hour and a half we had gone through all the books in the entrance and the case in the hallway. (The dining room books are all my craft book and that is whole other issue!)

The end result:
Look at all those empty shelves.

This case was perhaps the worst for books pushed in just so they would fit.
Now look at all that space!
In fact, we may be able to consolidate all of these out to the entrance shelves.
See the tallest stack? There's another stack behind that one.
Now comes the fun part - getting the piles out of the house and resorting the remainder.

As I said at the beginning, I expected it be a painful process. But because I knew I could keep anything I wanted I found it quite freeing and releasing. And I'm not even tempted to 'just check' the piles.


Jeri Dansky said...

Hurray! Sounds like your family has come up with exactly the right process for all of you.

JustGail said...

I just wandered over from Jeri's blog. This is a new way of thinning the books, to me. I'm glad it worked out well for you!

SueBK said...

Thanks for dropping by :-) I'm still trying to convince hubby that he doesn't need to second guess the throw-aways. There's a distinct danger zone between taking the books off the shelf and getting them out of the front door!