JERI DANSKY professionalorganizer

May 2010 Newsletter

Tip of the Month: Letting Go of (Some of) the Books

Psychologist Eda LaShan said middle age begins the moment you realize you won't live long enough to read all the books you want to read.

-- Barbara Winter, on Vibrant Nation web site


Leseschuld ["reading guilt" or "reading debt"] Traumatic emotional state of realizing you can't keep up with all you feel obligated to read. Let go of your leseschuld. Unsubscribe, delete, throw in the recycling, donate those stacks bringing you down.

--Discardia, on Twitter


For those of us who love books, deciding to let some of them go may seem impossibly difficult at first. And certainly, if you have plenty of room to keep them all, you may want to do so.


But some of us booklovers have found that letting selected books go works out just fine. I know I have limited reading time - as well as limited bookshelf space - and I refuse to feel guilty about making some choices. Here are some I've made recently.


1. No matter how much I like my book group, I will not spend time reading a book that I can't get into, after giving it a fair try of 60 pages. And I won't hold onto my copy, thinking maybe I'll try again later. (I wound up passing it along to another group member who really liked the book, had read a library copy, and appreciated having a copy to own.)


2. I have no need for three books on mythology.


All of these were reference-type books - listing the various gods from a certain pantheons (Celtic, Nordic, etc.) and providing brief explanations about them. The books were dry reading. The type was smaller than I'd prefer. And I can find equally good information online if I want it.


I had bought these reference books the first time I read Neil Gaiman's American Gods. I'm re-reading that book now - as part of One Book, One Twitter - and so I pulled them off my bookshelves. And then I gave them away on Freecycle to a woman whose son is really into mythology right now.


3. Many of the lovely photo books of places I've visited can be cleared off my shelves.


I went to Vietnam in 1992; it was an amazing trip. I have three coffee-table books filled with photos of this beautiful country. But when I pulled them down and looked at them, I found they did nothing for me. I have my own images of Vietnam - in my memories, and in my photos. (And if I want to see more, the web is a treasure trove.) My unforgettable images involve the women I did tai chi with every morning in Hanoi; that's not something I'll find in any of my books.


Now, this doesn't mean I want to give up all of those coffee-table books; some are indeed special. For example, I love my book about the old Tiger Balm Gardens in Hong Kong and Singapore; I saw the gardens in Singapore on my first trip to Asia. This book provides some detailed information and some stunning photos - neither of these are readily available elsewhere. But I want to be selective, and only keep those books that really speak to me.


I'd love to hear any stories from fellow booklovers who decided to part with some of their libraries. What did you dispose of, and why?



Organizing Statistic of the Month


As of October 2009, Ikea had sold over 42 million Billy bookcases in the product's 30-year life.


Sources: Trendhunter and Ikea Fans.



Organizing Product of the Month


to do list on green paper; includes call cat psychic


This shelving is called Slim, and here's how the designer's web site describes it: "Designed with a love for books, Slim is a coffee table version of an elegant bookrack, intended to keep treasured books within reach. Slim displays books with their covers facing front. This keeps favorite books in sight while paying tribute to artful cover design." [via decor8]



Highlights From My Blog in April


There were 16 entries in my organizing and de-cluttering blog in April. Some of the most popular entries were:


You can sign up for free e-mail updates from my blog; each time I make an update, you'll get a message. Look in the upper right-hand corner of the blog for subscription information.



My Little Twitter Tidbits


I'm using Twitter mostly for those tidbits of organizing-related stuff I find - little things that will never make their way into a newsletter or a blog post. I also use Twitter to announce new blog posts. Follow me, @JeriDansky, if you'd like.


For those who don't use Twitter, here are some of the things I've written lately, slightly edited for a non-Twitter environment:

  • Reading: Where do you keep the stroller? (Lots of parents struggle with this one.)
  • Organizing the coupons."Where are you when you wish you had that coupon on you? NOT at home!"
  • Reading Anne Lamott on finding the time for creativity, intimacy, wonder: (via Roxanne Howe-Murphy)
  • Very cool, colorful, eco-friendly storage from a Brazilian designer. But don't think they're available where I live.



Newsletter Subscriptions


If you would like to get this newsletter e-mailed to you each month and have not yet subscribed, you can do so here.