(c) 2009 Ms. Huis Herself at musenmutter.blogspot.com
You know, one of the hardest thing about decluttering is not so much getting rid of the items themselves.
It's getting rid of the idea of them, or their potential, or what they meant to you.
I say this as I work on (gradually, a crate at a time, a few crates a day) taking all the books off the bookshelves in our office, in preparation of repainting the room. Since they were shelved all willy-nilly, I've been pulling them in groups so that when we REshelve them (reshelf? reshelve? bwah?) it'll be easier.
(Can I just mention now, for the record, that we've got a REALLY LARGE number of house design books, garden design books, and gardening books... 90% of which I've never (yet) read?)
(Also, "Practical Beekeeping." Pusher, you start with your chickens and we'll follow with bees!)
As I go through, I'm seeing college textbooks from my theatre minor, or Mr. Kluges's German major, or random cool college classes. I'll probably never ever look at "Stages of Drama" again, but the thought of getting rid of it makes me nostalgic for the dusty smell of the Black Box curtains and the bustle of the scene shop.
No, actually, that's not true.
It's makes me lonely for the person I was then.
(Not that I don't enjoy my life now, and the person I've become, you know, mostly and in general... it's just different. Two forks diverged and all that, you know?)
I guess that's really it. By getting rid of the books, it almost feels like I'm discarding that life experience (though that's obviously impossible). Or that I'm finally forever closing the door on following any dreams I may have had tied up with it all. Not that I've GOT any dreams of the theatrical life, but it was such an interesting, cool part of my life for a while.
(Also, writing introspective posts is just NOT enhanced by periodic interruptions from the wee ones or annoying scrape-scrape-saw of my husband, who is apparently cutting some sort of metal pipe in the basement exactly 4 feet to my right and just below the floor. *sigh*)
Not to imply it's only college and/or theatre books I'm torn over. There are books I read when I was younger, or that were useful at a different time, or that I've always MEANT to read, but just haven't yet. They sit on the bookshelves, mute, but with potential or guilt or dreams or memories permeating the pages.
I'm thinking (hoping) that thinking it through out loud, so to speak, will help me look at them a little more dispassionately. To consider each one on its own merits. Because we've got a heck of a lot of books, and I'd love to reclaim some space on the shelf for books in more active use.
But why does it sometimes feel like thinning down my books is casting them off adrift as orphans?