So, this is my life.

And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

de-cluttering that guy's life

today i donated a big box of books to a local charity that re-sells used books. those of you who know me well, or who have read this blog for a while, won't be surprised to hear that this was difficult for me. i love my books. i re-read some of them over and over again. some of my books are among my most prized possessions.

so today when i handed over a box of almost 30 of them, it felt like i was losing something dear to me. it felt like losing a child -- except, since i made a thoughtful decision about each book that i gave up, i guess it was more like having an abortion, or putting a child i don't really like up for adoption.

i feel really good about my book abortion. i made some difficult but well-reasoned choices. a compulsive book hoarder, i had to finally be honest with myself about which books i would re-read at some point in the future. some books, though enjoyable reads, are simply not worthy of a re-read, no matter how bored i might be in the future. every Nicholas Sparks novel i am embarrassed to have owned fits into this category, and they're now in a better place.

on the other hand, i had to keep several books on my shelf even though i didn't enjoy them the first time around: books like Kerouac's "On The Road" and Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man."

i didn't feel any connection to these books when i read them, despite wanting to get them and enjoy them. i decided to keep the books, among several others, with the hope that they'll speak to me differently the next time i pick them up.

after my book drop-off, i continued my Humanitarian of the Year tour by donating a huge IKEA bag full of gently worn clothing to The Salvation Army. but i don't want to tell you about that right now because i fear that your praise and admiration will fill my blog with too many comments. of course i appreciate the feedback, but i don't want to crash. once again, i'm so selfless...

but seriously now. all of my amazing acts of philanthropy are just another step in my quest to be more mindful, which i mentioned last week. for me, an important part of being present and mindful is letting go of clutter and unnecessary STUFF. it's amazing how STUFF, be it an item of clothing or a book, can carry with it vivid memories and lingering emotions.

i have a few more closets to clean out as the month continues.

1 comment:

Lifebeginsat30ty said...

Oh gosh, I know exactly how you feel! I have a bad habit of buying lots of books. When I stay in one place too long, they pile up in boxes and on shelves. Well, last year I did an international move. It's amazing how much stuff becomes unimportant when you have to pay shipping costs! My goal is to dwindle down to what I can fit in a suitcase (oh, and push off on my parents and loved ones so I don't have to get a storage unit ;))

I'm sure someone will appreciate the donations!