Despite my being (almost) true to my New Year’s Resolution of not bringing any new books into the house for the first two months of the year and only reading what was already sat waiting my bookshelves were still looking extremely tight. The wider shelves had succumbed to a second layer of books some time ago, and although I was reluctant to do that it was always a nice surprise to pull out a book and find a hidden layer of books behind (even if removing back row books from the shelves was beginning to resemble a game of Jenga), but when it got to starting to stack books horizontally on top of the front rows of books I decided enough was probably enough. That elixir of life better be discovered pretty soon if I’m going to make inroads on reading or re-reading everything I had. So, taking a tip from an episode of “Spartacus- War Of The Damned” (only with books and not flesh and blood members of the Roman Army) it was time for a decimation.
All books had to take part in this – both the unread and the waiting to be re-read. I counted along the shelves in groups of ten and one of those ten had to go. It took all day. It wasn’t too long before I added a little trade-off. If removing one from the set of ten proved too arduous for me (what about those ten book set collections I’d bought from “The Book People” and hadn’t got round to reading ? Taking one out of those would surely disrupt the set!) I was allowed to take two out of another group and build up a little reserve collection to trade in when I just couldn’t choose. Sounds harsh? It was, but the strict structure meant I carried on with it rather than giving up halfway and sneaking all the books to be discarded back onto the shelves. I did remember some “Clear out your Clutter” guru saying that nobody would miss 10% going out of their collections and kept that in mind, even though I wasn’t convinced. Mind you, I think the same person saying “if you haven’t worn something in six months it needs to go”, which would do for most of my wardrobe!
And the end results- six bags to the charity shops and four to a Book Sale. Conveniently I was selling books for the local library I volunteer for last weekend and so my nearly-new, mostly unread books joined the others that had been donated and as I was manning the stall it meant that I could keep an eye on what was going where, ensuring my precious books went off to a good home. Most got sold. And the shelves – well my partner says they are no different, which means that the clear up the clutter guru might have been right in more ways than one, but the horizontal stacking has gone, a few of the shelves just have one row of books on them and, do you know, I think I can detect the odd space. Will I miss them? Time will tell……Quick, where’s that Book People Catalogue?