Out with the old, in with the digital

I’m writing to you from my internet break. One of my Intentions for the year was to get back into FlyLady and to try to get my home and my home-keeping under control. Hard to do when you’re spending hours a day “networking.”

I’m my own worst enemy, including when it comes to housekeeping. Yes, I have a hyperactive child, I have three pets who shed and go in and out at will through a pet door, tracking in all kinds of muck and the occasionally critter that’s still got enough life left in it to make things interesting. One of those is a big puppy that likes to chew pretty much everything to little bits and leave the little bits all over the carpet. My hyperactive child is not only an only child, but an only grandchild, and she’s just got way more stuff than any one kid should have.

But a lot of it is just that I don’t have good habits. Things that come naturally to some people just don’t to me. Like wiping things before they get to look just plain nasty, and basic picking up after myself–let alone everyone else around here.

I think there’s something to that whole thing of a place for everything and everything in its place. Because even when I’ve picked up and put everything where it’s supposed to be, it still looks pretty crappy. There’s just more stuff than the space really needs.

So today I’m letting go of a lot of my paper books. I’m the kind of person who keeps all the books. I don’t choose keepers–they’re all keepers, because I read them and someday I might start thinking What was that book…? It happens. And then I go spend some time perusing my shelves, which often leads to forgetting why I started. But I rarely re-read.

New rule for fiction: anything that can be replaced with ebooks needs to go. Even if I’m not GOING to do that right now. (I have replaced nearly all of my –In Death series and a lot of other books with e, but that was before Agency when it was feasible and even fun to do so. Should also point out that I got most of my paperbacks secondhand, but when I re-bought stuff in e I had to buy “new” and peoples actually got paid and there were royalties and we all felt good. So great job, Big 5, for killing that.) I’m telling myself that if I really want to read it again, I can cough up the cash for non-space-sucking, non-dust-collecting, digital version, and if I don’t want to do that, I must not want it badly enough. If I don’t want it that badly, I’ve got no business warehousing the paperback anymore. The end.

There’s still room for favorites. After all, I’m about to make room for the eight copies of Hush Money I happen to have in my house right now. Now there’s a good book. And I’ve got a few faves that I’m just not ready to let go of yet.

From my collection of over 400 Harlequins, I’ve pulled a shelf of fave authors. One shelf. I’ve got 11 others to box up. There’s like no market for these books, so I’m going to check with a friend who does some volunteer work and see if I can donate them somewhere they’ll get read.

Of course, this is just in my personal library. When I brought up the idea of going through some of the family’s library of classics, non-fic, and sci-fi/fantasy, I was met with some resistance. So I dropped it. I don’t know how much I’m ready to cull the Susan Bischoff Library of All Things Textile-Related either. This is a good enough start, and it would be great if these books could find a better home and make some other readers happy.

Letting go is hard, though. I’m boxing up my historical romances with the nekkid men on the covers, and feeling  like I’m boxing up part of my childhood. Yeah, that made me wonder too.

Anyone else been clearing out the old as part of the transition to digital?


Filed under writing

9 responses to “Out with the old, in with the digital

  1. Part of my problem is I have no one to give my stuff to. Throwing out a book seems wrong. I suppose there are charities or a library I could donate to. Did I forget to mention a slight case of lazy?

  2. I’ve definitely embraced the buying of the digital over paper. As you know, my house is TINY and I have books on every friggin horizontal surface. I have my shelves of keepers…reference stuff, some poetry, and the books I reread often enough that I can’t part with them. And then I have shelves of books I bought because I wanted to read them and I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I am a used bookstore hound and used to buy LOTS of new stuff there because it was a cheaper way to try new authors. I don’t want to get rid of those yet until I’ve read them, and we all know that my reading time is limited so…

    I think for me, it’s going to have to be getting rid of and paring down OTHER stuff as we prepare to move this summer. And I’ve done a lot of that over time. Being brutally honest about what I want, need, use. I’ve sold some stuff, given away more, and tossed even more than that. I really want to declutter my life…

  3. Oh, yes, I’ve had to clear off some shelves…and having my Kindle helped me do that. I still want to maintain an ambience of books on shelves, though; I just don’t have to keep EVERY single book I’ve ever bought! LOL

    Just before Christmas, I gave away a carload of books to the library. Tax donation, too!

  4. Catana

    I can’t afford all the new books I want, much less replace books I already have, but anything in the public domain got tossed pretty early. They’re always available online somewhere.

  5. First of all, the FlyLady is the bomb. Love that system and it is often the only thing that keeps me sane.

    With SOOOO many new books out there that I want to read I’m actually finding it easier to let go of the old ones. I’ve got my keepers, ones I know I’ll re-read because sometimes it’s nice to curl up with an old friend 🙂 But I’m also becoming more picky about what I read.

    When That Man and I first connected up I had over 50 boxes of books, and that’s not even counting the ones I had OUT, and it was the most joyous moment when I was finally in a house big enough to unpack those boxes. Seriously, I opened wine and celebrated. Then I realized I likely wouldn’t touch any of them again. I’ve been weeding out the keepers and letting go of the rest ever since, going on 15 years now, LOL

  6. @Andrew- I have an acquaintance who I know volunteers at the women’s prison. So I asked her if they’d be interested in having a bunch of dated romance novels and she was excited about getting them. So I can get rid of the guilt-free. Yay!

    @Kait- Maybe Efficiency 101 will have a post on how to keep track of scheduled blog posts and how to avoid doubling.

    @Laurel- Donating them to the library is a great idea. I know a bunch of my overstock of books came from their annual sale.

    @Catana- My “classics” section is next on my hit list. They’re in a different room so they didn’t go when I was clearing out my office, but you’re right, they’re good candidates when making room.

    @Raelyn- FlyLady!!! Seriously, everything I ever learned about keeping house I learned from FlyLady. My mom’s a BO person (that’s “born-organized” for those of you who don’t know the FlyLady lingo) and a great housekeeper, but since she always had a handle on everything and I was always in my own little world, I really didn’t learn any of that stuff and never learned good habits. I really need to get back into the routines because things are so awesome when I’m really flying.

    • Susan, I’m a complete SHE and came by it honestly…my mom is too, LOL I agree things are a lot better when I’m really flying. I need to get a better handle on the routines before summer hits. For some reason Spring always kicks my butt out of flying at peak efficiency.

  7. I love Fly Lady…if I would just listen to her. My lack of house cleaning is mostly laziness.

    I sold some Sci-Fi/Fantasy books and some Romance books on Ebay one time, but it was just because they weren’t my favorites. I didn’t have an ereader yet. But I probably won’t get rid of what’s on my shelf right now. I just won’t buy more. I LOVE ebooks!

  8. Dolls Ahoy / Andrea

    Whenever I see the chance, I recommend the Unclutterer blog to people


    It’s really helped me eliminate a lot of books, DVDs, and other things, as well as help me to question everything I think about purchasing (yes, even, gasp, dolls…)

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