“My name is Fawn, and I’m a biblioholic*”. As some of you know, I have down-sized my living arrangements twice in the past three years — from a 4-bedroom, 3-car garage house with my spouse to a 2-bedroom, 2-car garage apartment by myself to one bedroom in my daughter’s home. The key to successfully making these moves has been renting a storage space, and then another (bigger) storage space. Three-fourths of the boxes in my storage units are either books (read “very heavy”) or china (read “very fragile”). Three-fourths of the furniture in my storage units is bookcases (full to overflowing). There are books stacked under my bed, under my computer table, and on my bedroom floor. There are books stacked in my Jeep. The bookcases in the house are full, too. You get the picture!
For the past couple of weeks I have been working to consolidate both storage units (on two different properties) into one 10 X 25′ unit. I keep encountering boxes marked “Fawn’s books from hallway”, “Fawn’s books from bedroom”, “children’s books — keep”, “good cookbooks from kitchen” (there are four boxes of those), “good books — mostly quilting”, and so on. I have an entire library of books on women’s suffrage and women’s health, from the days of the Tulare County Women’s Wellness Organization & Resource Center. More recently, books on women in the Bible and spirituality have begun collecting me. And as my mother once observed, I could “go along way towards eliminating clutter in my life by getting rid of all my books about de-cluttering my life.”
As addictions go, ending my dependence upon alcohol many years ago was much easier than letting go of my books — probably because I knew I had to stop before it killed me. My books probably won’t kill me…unless a stack of boxes falls on me…but I’m finding that they have become a burden, instead of a joy. These days when I see a new, intriguing book, my first thought is often “I’d like to have this”, but the thought that immediately follows is “I don’t have room for it”. And as I continue to simplify and refine my life as a retiree and stay-at-home (grand)mom, I am beginning to realize that I don’t want or need to be bogged down by the mental and physical weight of thousands of books, no matter how wonderful they may be.
So I’ve set myself a new task or two, and am asking my readers to witness my promise. As soon as I complete my storage consolidation (in the next couple of days, hopefully), I am going to tackle those books one box at a time, ruthlessly purging all but the most precious and passing them on to the local chapter of the American Association of University Women. They can then sell them to fund scholarships for deserving women, and my books can have happy lives with new families. If I can cut my collection in half, my load (and my spirits) will be lifted enormously!
Watch this space for progress reports!
*biblioholic: one possessed by the habitual longing to purchase, read, store, admire, and consume books in excess. (Check out Tom Raabe’s Biblioholism, The Literary Addiction, Fulcrum Publishing, 1991.)