Decluttering: The Penultimate Step

A couple of days ago my husband and I visited a friend’s used bookstore.  Our fellow-boomer will retire in a few months; he’s marked down his inventory; it was no surprise we brought home books.


My own book collection reflects where my soul, my mind — rational intellect and emotional feelings, is at and where I think it wants to go.

A long time ago I would expand my bookshelves whenever my collection outgrew available space.  A less long time ago, having decided to implement more realistic constraints, I schooled myself to give away parts of my collection whenever I ran out of shelving.

I offered books to kids, to friends, to friends’ kids, to students, to the public library — when they would take them, to Goodwill; offered them for trade-in options at used book stores, to Amazon for credit; and more than once I just left a box by my office door:  Free Kittens (may God help them find good homes.)

During my longest cross country move, I ruthlessly and needfully culled two thirds of my books.  Even so, I moved sixteen boxes full of them.

I came to understand Decluttering as the last stage of grieving: acceptance of the loss of friends and the passing of relatives, or acceptance that an old dream had lost its fire, that old passions had given way to new infatuation.  I’ve learned to let go peacefully and with gratitude tools that supported me in the pursuit of goals, some I’ve now attained, or some I’ve set aside.

And there is no decluttering that so clearly demonstrates my acceptance of loss and change as the releasing of parts of my library!

But sometimes, when you let something go, it comes back to you.

Yesterday I brought home new copies of two books I’d let go years and years before.


Author: American Declutterer

I've had three careers, moved among thirteen states, and cleared four houses after loved ones moved on. Sometimes you just have to look at all the stuff and laugh. Then get back to discarding.

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