Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Recovering Space

I don’t really consider myself a neat-freak at all. I do like things to be organized, but I can obviously go for years without bothering to make it happen. Like the book project, which was long overdue.

When I was speaking to my daughter this morning, she paid me the supreme compliment when she said, “I have come to realize that not everyone’s basement is a collection of labeled boxes like ours is.” My family have always given me a hard time for keeping things from my childhood, resulting in a box for Grade 7, Grade 11, various and sundry dolls with their clothes, etc.

Of course I am bothered right now by the fact that I can’t find the box of high school and college yearbooks that I know exists somewhere. I went to put my 1967 yearbook away and simply can’t find the box.

I just spent 20 minutes sorting through 200+ give-away books looking for Schumacher’s “Small Is Beautiful,” which I remembered throwing in the pile. It eventually emerged to go back on the shelf. How could I ever think of giving away such a classic?

I decided to part with the globe which has teetered on the edge of the bookshelf for 20 years. Lots of the countries have changed and I haven’t had the need to consult it for many, many years. Is that a mistake? Should I keep the old globe (and its accompanying instruction booklet)?

The good news is there is now unused space on the bookshelves for books yet to come into our possession. I managed to find a boatload of good books I haven’t yet read. I have a feeling of satisfaction much greater than that of cleaning out the refrigerator. For the moment at least, all the books are accounted for, properly grouped, and in order. I have a stack of returns for friends who have probably long forgotten about the loaners. Should be good for the next 20 years. But maybe in between I will dust the top shelves...

Meanwhile, I must bag up the give-aways and look for people who are just dying to read things like “A Natural Method of Dog Training,” “A Second Course in Calculus,” and “Still Life with Woodpecker.”


Blogger Pauline said...

Last time I counted there were over 1200 books on my shelves. Some are stacked in twos and threes on top of the ones lined neatly on the shelves. I've purged twice now - I admire your efforts!

9:43 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I think you might have inspired me to tackle my shelves. Extra space. Discovering the books I have not yet read. Good stuff.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- It takes a lot of courage to let a book go, but there comes a limit unless you have unlimited shelf space!

Kristin -- The discovery of unread books was well worth the effort!

10:24 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Think global, act local. Let go of the globe.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reya -- The globe is halfway out the door, along with our set of World Book Encyclopedias, to little M, the daughter of the person who cleans our house. I'm sure she will make much better use of them than we ever would.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Lemmonex said...

I love old globes. My great grandfather had one and I have such fond memories of him patiently teaching me the countries...some of which no longer exist.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Lemmonex -- A globe just begs to be spun by little fingers, none of which are around our house any longer. It will be fun for little M to see where her mom and dad came from, where her grandparents still live.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I agree -- the globe should go! I think there's nothing more liberating than cleaning out old possessions and reorganizing things to keep them fresh. I worked on my bookshelves recently, too, and I wondered why I was saving a lot of old novels. Even the ones I loved -- how likely am I to ever read them again?

10:39 AM  
Blogger Mo said...

I know the feeling! After my recent garage sale, I experienced such relief at carting around less stuff, and I'm determined not to merely go about replacing it with more junk that I'll eventually want to get rid of someday. The more I think about what I actually need and realize how small that list truly is, the happier I get :)

12:48 PM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

maybe the homeless shelter where you read to kiddos would appreciate some books... and globes.

6:39 PM  

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