My weakness


I’m not naturally a neat person.  I wish I were.  It just feels better when your surroundings are tidy.  Yet, it’s just a challenge for me to get the energy to clean.  I have my excuses: my mother was a poor role model; when I do have free time to myself I deserve to relax; and, of course, the ol’  I simply don’t wanna.

Over the years I’ve gotten better.  And now after watching a few episodes of the show “Hoarders” on A&E, I’m even more determined to keep things neater.  Damn, even at my very, very worse I was nowhere near the clutter and squalor of the people featured on this show.  Yet, when they are doing the cleaning intervention and I watch the hoarder’s relationship to their stuff, I feel an uncomfortable tinge of recognition.   And while I’m not attached to outright garbage, or spoiled food like some of these mentally ill hoarders, I do have my own weakness.

My weakness is books.

Up until a couple of years ago, it was a huge bone of contention between the boyfriend and I.  Even though we don’t live together, it bothered him to no end that I had boxes of books that did not have a home on a bookshelf.  I think at my worst there were maybe six bankers boxes filled with books that I probably hadn’t looked at in about a decade.  The fact that they were boxed away and stacked in a corner, out of harm’s way, made them a non-issue to me.  Yet, for him, for some reason, whenever we were debating what to do for the weekend, he would always offer “well, we can sort through your books.”  Then we’d have The Argument, which I always won because it was my house and my books and they were staying right where they were.

However, when it came time to move to my cute Craftsman Cottage, I didn’t want to bring a lot of excess clutter with me, so as part of the moving process I finally sorted through the books.  I don’t really know what percentage of books I cleared out.  I would say at least a quarter, maybe a third.   It really wasn’t that hard. Moving was a huge motivation, and the fact that the boyfriend would take care of taking them to the Friends of San Francisco Public Library book donation drop-off was also really helpful.

All the books that are in my house now have a home on a shelf.  And while most of them I may never pick up again, their presence comforts me.  I don’t think a home is a home without some well loved books.  The boyfriend and I no longer have The Argument (though there is a filing cabinet in the basement he bugs me about at least once a month – better than the every freakin’ weekend that we argued about my books).  I feel my book hoarding issues are behind me.

Or are they?

This weekend is the annual Big Book Sale put on by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.  Oh sweet Buddha, you should see this place.  Take a look at the picture on their site. Seriously, people bring in shopping baskets because the deals are so good. And on Sunday?  Every single book is only one dollar.  One dollar!

This sale has been going on for years, and last year was the first time I actually went, and even then I happened upon it by accident.  It was the weekend of the SF Blues Festival, and we opted to bite the bullet and pay for parking at Fort Mason. And there it was, book hoarder’s heaven.   I was good though.  I gave myself a budget of $20, which resulted in about five books, I believe.

Tomorrow is the first day of the sale for the general public.  And it’s open until 8pm which means I can go after work . . . or maybe during lunch.  I may give myself a bigger budget this time.  I found some space on a bookshelf during a recent decluttering spree, and we simply can’t have any empty bookshelf space, can we?


3 responses »

  1. I’m the same way! The Deistette says I have a disease. I think that label is a little extreme but i do recognize that I keep stuff around that I never look at again.

    And I’m the same way about books. I don’t know why! I don’t even really read that much! I just love the feel of a book. I love the way they look on the shelf and what it says about me to have these really cool titles on a bookshelf.

    She and I have been on a mission though in the past several months… we must reduce our footprint!

    We have had three purging sessions in our house in the past eight months or so. The last one was tough. Feels like I’m getting to where I can’t get rid of anymore crap I know I won’t use or look at but still… it’s my crap! I don’t know what I’ll do when she says we have to have another purging session.

    Doesn’t help that I’m in a bidding war on ebay to buy a book that I already have. I’m supposed to be getting rid of stuff not bringing in more. But this copy is a hundred years old and edited by a guy who used to be a Methodist minister who saw the light and became a Unitarian!

    Can you tell Emmie I should SO get this book.

    By the way… I am quite impressed with your NaBloPoMo effort. Well, done my dear. Well done. You doing NaNoWriMo? : )

  2. Before I moved to Portland last year, I got rid of more than half of my books. When I moved, I didn’t bring all of my bookcases so I don’t have all the shelf space I did at the other place. That leaves me with a lot of new books that are in boxes on the middle of the floor and in my office room. I know I have to do something about it but I think in this case I will have to wait until I have the money to get tall shelves instead of the three and a half foot high shelves I have right now. That will take care of the problem but I have to wait til there’s $$$ to do it.

  3. My husband just loves the idea of having a Kindle, but I just can’t imagine reading books on an electronic device! God forbid! Like you say, there is something very comforting about having books in your house. I also like seeing them in other people’s houses because books are a window into the soul. They let you know what that person is like. I also look forward to the day when I have children, and they will browse my shelves, looking for a title that interests them. How can they do any of that on a Kindle?!

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