This past weekend I gathered up nearly all of my paperback books–four cloth bags and a cardboard storage box in all–and dumped them into a book donation bin.
The majority of books I had already read–in some cases decades ago–while others were bought on a whim and then forgotten, unread and still in pristine condition. Most of the books were in near-perfect condition, actually, only the ones I loaned to friends were worn. My 43-year old copy of The Exorcist was definitely showing its age, though, with the cover taped on and the pages yellowing and getting a bit foul [devil/possession joke here].
On the other hand, some other books nearly as old almost looked brand new, because I was a very careful reader. Why, I cannot say. Looking at my bedroom, you would never have said I was a neat kid. And yet my books were treated like treasures. I suppose in a way they were. I read all the time when I was younger and the last few years I’ve rekindled [Kindle joke here] my love for both novels and non-fiction.
So why did I toss nearly all of my books away, keeping only a precious few, like signed copies or reference guides that are still relevant? Because I am determined to strip away the clutter in my life, and the books hold no sentimental value for me, though some had pretty snazzy covers. Most of these books I’d read long ago and were stuffed away in boxes and bags. It’s been many years since I had a bookshelf, and given the, shall we say, uneven quality of the books I indulge in, I feel no great need to hang onto them or display them for all to see.
And so off they went, to find homes elsewhere. I don’t know if someone will want to read my 1980 paperback copy of Salem’s Lot (I finally read the eBook version in October 2011), but it’s in darn good shape if they do.
In the meantime, I have less clutter, both in the condo and in my mental space. It feels good. The de-clutterfest will continue this coming weekend.