How did last week’s project go? Are you all freshly reduced, reused, recycled, repurposed, refreshed, and ready to go? Good! Great work!
This week we are going to go through life area 8, books and school supplies. Bagua 8, according to Feng Shui For Us, is about “Wisdom, Self Knowledge and Calm”. I can see how that relates to books and school! Saturdays or Sundays seem like a good routine to get into in our decluttering journey. They also link in with this particular bagua of “calm”, as the weekends are our time to relax, decompress, and get household things taken care of that we didn’t get to during the busy work and school week! With Easter break coming up, that could be an obvious opportunity to get some decluttering done! That being said, Make a Date! Commit to one particular day during the break, and get to it!
As far as books go, I am not so emotionally attached. I used to have a pretty extensive Stephen King collection, but when it came right down to it, I knew I had read them each once, maybe twice, and put them on a shelf to collect dust. I also knew I could use the money more than I could use the dust collectors, and it seemed only right to pass them on to someone who would actually read and enjoy them. Most of them went to a hip cat I met who was buying them for his Mom, and they were both huge King fans. It did my heart good to see they were off to a deserving new home!
To choose which books to let go of, ask yourself these questions:
- Will I ever read this book again?
- Will I ever use this book to look for references?
- Is this book an heirloom?
If you answered "no" to ALL three questions, then this book does not belong in your space any more. If you answered "yes" to any of them, then keep it. This is tricky, because you have to know that you will be using a book for reference… I have a collection of antiques and collectibles price guides, which obviously I will use. Also, on occasion I will sit down and review these books in their entirety, because I may have come across things since the last time I leafed through that weren’t in my radar before. I am forever learning. Admittedly, I have some randoms, like “French for Cats”. My Mom gave me this book, so every time I go through books, I hold on to it. Even so, I am sure that at some point I will let it go. It just doesn’t serve me any purpose, and I am sure Mom would agree.
However, I know someone who literally has thousands of books and only says that he will look through the books for reference, but the reality is, he absolutely never will. There is no way that he would be able to do so, and he probably honestly doesn’t even remember that he has most of them. In this instance, you have to be true to yourself. If you haven’t looked at it, thought about it, or handled it in a year, it should probably go. This may even require a second (or third?) culling to determine realistically which books truly deserve to remain in your bagua.
Make A Plan! Here again, it seems a great idea to enlist the help of friends and/or family for this venture. I am quite sure the kids have books they no longer use… my Consultant Mom just got rid of 20 years worth of “Family Fun” magazines! This is yet another instance where there is a cross-clearing of life areas. Yes, cookbooks are books, too! So we now are combining baguas 8, 1, and maybe 3 or 7 depending on where you stash your cookbooks!
I would personally like to offer up a small bit of advice: As you are digging through all of your literary accumulations, make a conscious effort to flip through each book to make sure you didn’t tuck anything in the pages, only to have forgotten about it. Bookmarks are fine, but I have encountered people who have stashed anything from cash to a Social Security card that was actually in a book we had in a sale (true story!), and a helpful neighbor came across it before anyone else did. Whoops!
If you want to make the effort, now it’s time to Make A (Sale) Date! Do you want to commit to having a strictly books yard sale? I had a client who decluttered her home in preparation for a move, and she gave me over 20 boxes full of books! I am talking over a thousand books! Even if she sat down and read every book, it would have taken her years to get through them all! After she moved, I had a “books only” yard sale. I engaged the help of a very kind friend to help me separate and categorise all of them, had separate tables or sections of tables for each category, and people were so thrilled to see all this wonderful literature up for grabs for a fraction of the price of even a used book store! It was a huge success!
Conversely, more recently I helped with an all book and magazine sale in another state. Be aware of your clientele, faithful readers! In two days, 3 hours each day, we only netted about $25 per day. This was a combination of three households selling cookbooks, books, older books from an estate, and magazines. It was a great set up, and everything was neat and beautifully organized… but the customers just weren’t there. Here in Tiny Town, we have a plethora of academics and students who appreciate the value of a good book… while the few people who did come to this particular sale bought quite a bit and were very grateful for it, the volume just wasn’t there.
Make a Deadline! to get what is left out of your house (Fact: Keeping everything stored in the garage is still “in the house”…)! At the end of the sale, one of the contributors of the most recent sale donated the remainder of her collection to the Friends of the Library, and they were ecstatic to have them! Locally, here in Tiny Town, we have (I have heard) the single largest book sale on the East Coast, if not in the country! Can you imagine? What an opportunity! And don’t forget to grab your tax deductible donation slip!
Let’s see, what’s left? I know! Let’s Celebrate! While you were going through your cookbooks, did you find one that you know you love but forgot you had! Pick a recipe and treat everyone! I, myself, have some great music in the stereo, and (since I treated myself to a shiny new cordless drill this week) plan on looking around on the interweb for a fun new do-it-yourself project to get into! While I am dreaming up new ways to spruce up old chairs, I will be thinking about next week’s life area… which is:
Bagua 2: Gifts, Ornaments, and Knick Knacks!