Chasing simplicity. Thoughts on being alive.

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How to cull your books

The hardest things about discarding books is I feel as though I’m letting go of parts of myself. It is as if I am throwing away the heartaches and joys  of the past, and as if I’m releasing all the hopes and dreams of the future.

The trouble is, books are not just books.

Books, the ones that have been read, are keepers of memories- memories woven into words and paper  and ticket stubs used as a bookmark. Those books are my former self reading and thinking and feeling and inhabiting  for the first time the amazing worlds that the writers create neatly between the covers.

The ones that are yet to be read often feel like a promise. They are us hoping and dreaming. They are the things we are yet to become. Often, they represent every aspect of our fantasy selves- I'm referring to my stacks of unread French novels, poetry, yoga, photography and cookbooks, the ones that occupy SO MUCH SPACE.

And that’s why it’s hard.

And here’s what I’ve found that has helped

  • Focus on the end results. Knowing that letting go of physical clutter opens up this space. It is vast and empty and spacious. It is calming like a freshly raked Japanese pebble garden. It is a zen space that truly restores.
  • It is quite easy to get rid of things that don’t spark joy.
  • It takes some practice, but you can also get rid of the books that do spark joy. Take photos of them,  keep the photos safe on your computer. If you do need to read them again get a kindle version, or borrow from the library.
  • Say “see you later” instead of “goodbye” to the books that you let go. If it is truly memorable, they are already in your heart.

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