Sunday, April 2, 2017

Clearing Out My Collection Again

Hi all and welcome back to another episode of "What's Penny Going To Write About Now?" I know. Very original.
About three years ago (Aww man it's been three years?!) I wrote a post entitled Donating Books and Making Room for More where I talked about finally sitting down and getting rid of some of the books that I'd endlessly hoarded. That post and de-clutter was rather easy because I had never discarded books before, so most of what I was getting rid of were books I really didn't enjoy.

For the past month or so, I've basically made it my special mission to evaluate all of my possessions and donate, giveaway, or throw away whatever I haven't used in ages...and I didn't need a book to tell me that. I may have just thrown a bit of shade at that Marie Kondo book and I bet whatever I'm going to say afterwards will directly communicate with it's premises. Dear self, refer to above Easy A gif.

As stupid as it sounds, I realized that for most of my life, I've been operating under what I'd like to call consumer guilt. I've spent my hard earned or gifted money on an item, so I have an obligation to keep it or make the most of it's use. Instead, those items end up sitting in drawers and talking up space, which is very limited at the moment. I mean a good chunk of my book collection is still in storage if that tells you how little I can afford clutter. As terrible as it sounds, when I go through a round of de-cluttering, I remove the price tag from the equation. It doesn't matter how much I've spent. If I don't like it. I'm not going to keep it.

I've also entered a different mindset when I go shopping now, which is something I should point out is due to my steady source of income. Whenever I buy clothing, I like to think of the dollars as number of wears. Before I would put anything above $30 back on the rack no question. Now I start to think of clothes as an investment. I can justify that $40 jacket if I know I will hypothetically get 40 uses out of it. Now I can look at a $10 shirt and realize yes it may be a bargain, but will I get 10 uses out of it? Hell will it even survive 10 washes! Conscious shopping is the point I'm driving at here.

Now back to the title of the post: books. Particularly, I looked at all of the books I've yet to read. My TBR pile, which is actually composed of four decorative cardboard boxes of varying sizes as well as the two actual piles on the shelf above my bed. I pulled them all out and considered whether or not I actually have the desire to read them all. Do I still have a huge TBR pile? Yes. Is it quite as substantial? Nope.  

I've also started to view my book collections as just that: a collection. It's something to be heavily curated. Do I own books that I actually love? Are they books that I want people to ask me about? Are they books that I'd ever want to read again? If the answers are "No," then they've got to go. Hey, that rhymed. For example, just this past month, I read two books both written by favorite authors and I paid full hardback price for them. After I finished reading them, the stories turned out to be rather mediocre. They really didn't grab my attention and I knew right then and there that I would probably never read them again. Sure, I could add them to the growing author collection I already have. Instead, they went right in the donate pile. Screw consumer guilt. Granted, I can't really afford to buy hardback books that will just be donated in the end, so I really need to make the time find a library again.

So anyway, here I am a few days before turning 24 saying to myself: "Do you need this? Can you get rid of it? What can I de-clutter next? Honestly, it's so invigorating too. You feel like you've accomplished something substantial. I totally recommend it. Although I do think I'm starting to develop an addiction to candles and someone may have to stage an intervention before everything I own smells deeply of apples and cinnamon. Another issue for another time. Bye!