Clearing the Clutter, One Book at a Time

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After the Purge

Oh, no, I didn’t just call books clutter, did I? But if you could see my office and bedroom you’d agree. I have way too many books. Some I’ve read, some have bookmarks or tiny slips of paper in them about a fourth of the way through and some are in the dreaded “to be read” pile. There are stacks, bookcases overflowing and even baskets full. And I’m not counting extra copies of my own books that I need to give away. I’m an addict. I console myself that at least it’s not heroin. Or chocolate. But we won’t talk about my food cravings, okay?
January is my month for making promises to myself. So I decided it was time to attack the book situation. I was ruthless. Well, as ruthless as I can be when there are stories involved. It took a while. Because I’d stop and read the back cover copy before I could toss a book in a bag to go to Half Price Books. I’d decided to try to make a little cash from my discards. Reading the back cover sometimes led to hitting the first chapter. If I was still interested, the book made it to the book shelf in my bedroom. This will become my library where I can go when I decide I deserve some reading time. Sounds good, right?
Not that this will keep me out of the bookstore. I just love browsing for the latest releases. I’m one of those dinosaurs who still reads real books. I own a Kindle but won’t even plug it in to charge. It doesn’t satisfy me the way holding a book does. So I have all this clutter. Those books with the markers in them? Obviously I lost interest partway through. I didn’t bother reading the back of them. They went straight into the bags after I rescued my bookmarks.
Many of these books came to me free from the summer Romance Writers conference in New York City. Something happens to me when I attend one of those conferences. I vow not to bring so many freebies home but then there they are, mine for the taking. They’re so pretty and new. I shove them into my suitcase. Hey, maybe I’ll learn to love books set in Outer Mongolia during an apocalypse. And who’s to say that sweet Amish vampire won’t grow on me? Anyway, I come home weighted down. Many of them went into the bags too. I will never read them. Why not give strangers a chance to discover what are probably great books?
Now if you think I have empty shelves after a ruthless purge, think again. I’ve included a picture to prove there’s still a problem here. One neat shelf in the bedroom, yes. But then there’s the stuffed and overflowing one in the office. And two baskets plus cabinets a few other places. No apologies. I started writing romance because I loved to read it. That love never went away. And keeping up with what’s popular is necessary if I want to stay current in the marketplace. At least that’s what I tell the IRS when I deduct the thousand dollars I spend on books each year. Yeah, expensive habit. But addicts have to pay the price. Is there rehab for this? No, don’t tell me. I don’t want to be cured of this habit.
Have you got any bad habits you want to get rid of this year? Bite your nails? Watch too much TV? Confess here. I won’t judge. One lucky poster will win a gift card from Amazon just for sharing by January 25th. So be sure your email addy is there after your post. Good luck and share on.

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41 Responses to “Clearing the Clutter, One Book at a Time”

  1. Nanci Cascio Says:

    I confess…. I am addicted to reading!! I can guarantee my Mother was the only one in New York state that told her child NOT to read anymore books. I was given chores to do (I.E. clean my room) and I started with all good intentions…until I found a book that had to be put away. It didn’t matter if I just finished it yesterday or last year, I had to read it…again!! So there I was sitting on the floor reading for hours & my Mom would come in yelling about how I didn’t do a blessed thing for 3 hours, except read a book. But don’t think that it stopped there! It has continued through my Adult Life, including Reading Time with my Daughter when she was younger. My Fiance knows that if I am quiet for too long (especially in the bathroom) I am reading. I have lost jobs for reading on company time, been late to appointments because of my inability to put a book down and almost got into a car accident!! I stoppped THAT real quick!! I have a Physical Disability (Lupus) and I am not able to work so I have PLENTY of time to read, yet I feel I NEVER have enough time in a day for my reading!!! Silly things like dinner, cleaning, etc. get in my way…but I’m adapting! There’s these things called Audio Books; I may try one while washing dishes!!!!

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    • Nanci, I totally get this. I love getting lost in a good book. But I rarely reread a book. Don’t know why but once I’m done, I don’t want to go there again. That’s why I can get rid of the books I’ve finished. I bet you hang on to the ones you love. I have a friend who is like you. She’s on to the Kindle now. It’s helped her clutter tremendously.

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  2. I did some book purging last fall (and I still have three boxes headed for Half Price Books), but it doesn’t seem to have freed up much shelf space–and I have floor to ceiling bookcases in five rooms in my house.

    I have four paper books on preorder from Amazon, and I just bought a shiny new Amazon Voyage, pretty much the Emperor of Ereaders. 350 titles on my old Kindle and in the cloud, waiting for their chance.

    And I’ve been decluttering other stuff, too. Magazines from years ago that I will never look at again (if indeed I read them in the first place). Handouts from long ago conferences and classes. And then there are all those empty gift bags falling out of my closet. And the ancient contents of some of those filing cabinets in the closet.

    I wonder, Gerry, will we ever get all that stuff out of our houses? Or will we just replace the old clutter (and books) with new?

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    • I don’t know, Kay. I hate to think my son will have to shovel this stuff out of here someday. I remember having to heave my mother-in-law’s old butter tubs from under her kitchen sink. I thought then I’d never save another one. I don’t but I sure save handouts like you do and the paper is taking over here. As sure as I purge that though, I’ll need it for a workshop. Some things about writing never change. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dana Lynn Gmuer Says:

    I have many things I should stop doing so much (watch TV) or should do more of (exercise). But the one thing I promised myself I would do in 2016 is unpack my craft room (I moved in September) including my Moms stuff, and seriously organize and purge so that I can start quilting and crafting again (I haven’t since my Mom passed).

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    • Yes, it’ll make you feel closer to your mom too. I have some of my mother’s things stuffed in a drawer I need to go through. I think it’s a good goal to get it out and go through it. They are good memories. Why do we hesitate?

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  4. Gerry, my home library contains over 2000 books. Harcover, paperback and trade. Some are from the 1950’s and 60’s even. Many are autographed and will be part of my will. My TBR is 3 large boxes with the books arranged by publishing date (going back to 2013). My shelves encompass 2 rooms with 4 large floor to ceiling bookcases each, plus wall shelves that that are screwed to the wall.

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  5. Stacy B Harrison Says:

    Yup I have been an addict for years. Every shelf in my house, every counter, even my dressers and nightstands had books on them. I boxed them all up and put them in storage before I sold my house. I used to have hundreds and I’m sure at one time quite a bit more. Before my husband died he took a bunch to the dump! I’m sure of it. Little stinker! But now I have a kindle and I am a Kindle addict!
    I really so miss turning the pages and the smell of a good paperback♡
    My daughter Alicia really loves your books and I do have to say I was quite captivated by Glory. I wish I could be as strong as she is. But it’s not in me… 🙂
    Would like to say that I see the Light in you and from one Light Barer to another “YOU ROCK”
    Love Stacy B Harrison

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    • Oh, thank you, Stacy. I do try to bring light in my work. Glory is stronger than I am, but I try to inspire with her. Some say she was whiny at first but she’s growing through the series. I hope everyone realizes that. Give up paperbacks? You’re stronger than I am.

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  6. I am terrible with money even as much ask try to take care of my money better. But this year I’m going to try to do better and have for the most part.

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  7. Chris Jones Says:

    I love books and in need of shelves lol
    Bad habit my coffee, I drink all day and everyday. …or it could be the ice, I can’t drink anything cold if it doesn’t have ice! Lol

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    • And they keep trying to decide if it’s bad for you or not. These days they seem to be leaning toward saying coffee is good for you, but maybe not a dozen cups a day. Slow down a little?

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  8. Believe it or not I only have a few books in my collection. I love real books compared to kindle but I like to share my books. So typically I run out the day the book is released and when I’m done reading it I donate it to the library.

    This process usually takes a day or two at most. One of My bad habits (there are many) is that I love to read the book cover to cover, in one sitting. Even if it means staying up all night telling myself I’ll go to bed after this chapter ( which I do all the time), my family laughs at me for it. Aside from my goal of be healthier and feeling good in my skin this year is not to do that and savor my books a little longer. 🙂 I just get so carried away with the story I need to have that immediate satisfaction of knowing everything.

    I absolutely adore your books and have the complete collection, including the one you signed and mailed to me.

    Thank you for hours and hours of entertainment.

    Like

    • You don’t know what it does to an author when she hears “I read it in one day!” On the one hand, it’s a compliment–you couldn’t put it down. But when you know how long it took to write the thing… Well, I think the compliment wins. Thanks!

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      • Even though I read them in a day I talk about them for quite some time and am even more excited for the next book. It is most definitely a compliment and I truly appreciate your dedication and hard work you put into each book. This just makes them even better. That’s why you are one of my favorites.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Amanda Adkins Says:

    My goal is to work in writing more but first I have to quit watching too much TV when I do have free time. I also read and average a book a day, that’s what I really do when I should be cleaning, organizing, etc. I am out of room for books but I continue to buy more and more and that’s not counting ebooks. In the past I have donated the purged books to the library but the ones I have now I can’t seem to let go of.

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  10. Linda Cobb Says:

    Books and Beads are my weaknesses. I hate giving away my books and like you have piles of them in just about every room in the house – three stacks next to my nightstand that are like Jenga stacks! And I love making bracelets for myself and for gifts so I am always on the lookout for new beautiful beads – I probably have enough to last me for years.

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  11. Christy Dornbush Says:

    YES!! I’m a book hoarder too. I have paper and kindle books I hoard. My paper books are all over the place. On different shelves and in different bins. I’ve got your books on my shelves that I easily can access. I have a few other paranormal romance books also. Yours are my favorite. BUT I have loaned some out only for them to not be returned. If you have extra copies of yours can I buy them? Also if you have other paranormal romance can I buy those? I’ll pay full price. I have some extra money right now. I’d be glad to help you declutter and make some money without paying the middle man. Lol.

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  12. Cecile Alfaro Says:

    Yes I am a book addict. I buy books just to have them. If I see one I read a little then if u like I buy. I have soo many I brought and didn’t read yet and books I just love.. My husband wants me to clear a bit cause our bedroom is becoming the size of a small book store.. it’s such my guilty pleasure and so is buying book markers. I have one for each book.
    Cecilealfaro30@gmail.com

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  13. Angela Hanson Says:

    I’m a classic book hoarder. I try to disguise it by buying more bookshelves. I rationalize to myself, that if all the books are organized, no one thinks my book obsession is a “problem.”
    Every time someone new walks into my house, their exact words are, “you’re so lucky! You live in a library!”
    angela.dietz.hanson@gmail.com

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  14. I’m a free kindle ebook hoarder. If it sounds good I 1-click it. There will NEVER be enough time for me to read even half of them and I keep adding more, I just can’t seem to stop. I could probably spend the next year just reading all the books I have and still not get through half of them. At least it’s a free addiction lol

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  15. I confess that not only am I severely addicted to reading but writing as well. I also happen to have an extreme case of A,D,D when it comes to finishing things I write. I read 3 or more books at any given time and I have word documents on my computer filled with writing ideas that never have made it to a full story. I write poetry, short stories, song lyrics, really anything that pops into my head gets written down. It was a major pain for me to switch my computer to Windows 10 last month because I was terrified I would loose all my writings.

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    • I switched to Windows 10 too. It was a relief that everything went smoothly and nothing disappeared but it freaked me out too. I save everything in the cloud as a backup but you never know… I hope you do something with your writing. Don’t waste it!

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  16. I would have to say I am addicted to books also. I would read a book before I tv

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  17. My addiction right now is yarn. I have so many crochet projects going on at one time and oodles of yarn. It seems I can’t go into a Michaels, a Hobby Lobby, a Hancock Fabrics or a Walmart without buying at least 4 skeins! Lol. If there’s yarn, I’ll buy it! 🙂 Also, patterns! The two go hand in hand. I love etsy!

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  18. Karen DeBolt Says:

    I will admit that I am abook and reading addict. Also a fabric addict. I am making a dent in the books that I have and sewing many things for the grandkids. I am currently reading all the series books that I have accumulated and never read. Have gone through quite a few. Being semi-retired has helped a lot.

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  19. I am book addict too. As a kid when my parents would complain I’d say “I could be addicted or into worse things!” I was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease; so I should have enough time to read whatever I want since I’m home all the time, and can’t ride my horses anymore. But I can’t find enough hours it seems!!! I have tons of books that I’ve kept. Some are favorites that I re-read; some are out of print; and some where gifts or childhood favorites. I have 8 32qt tubs of books packed away plus 4 bookshelves that are full! There are ceratin authors (including you!) that I must have the print verisions. But I did have a Kindle and now an Ipad on which I read others. Most of those are new authors I’ve tried. I’ve given away tons of books over the years; some to libarys, goodwill, or friends.

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  20. Holy cows, I don’t feel so guilty having a heat- controlled storage unit with over 10,0000 of books. Some are vintage, like my Oscar Wilde ( read at my wedding, decades ago), or the Alice B. Toklas original but most are romances that just kept me & my daughters going through the day.
    When i was younger, I actually believed that if I just kept reading, expanding my knowledge base– so to speak– I thought that I would never die. Well, one summer, got pneumonia & would probably not have survived but for the new antibiotics on the market. So much for that belief!
    Guess if some of these women are brave enough to ” clear the clutter”; will follow their example…maybe there’s a tiny bit of that live forever belief left, cuz letting them go feels like tossing off a life preserver in the middle of the ocean! Am truly going to work on this. LOL

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    • I paid for a storage unit for years but finally was able to clear it out. Next is the garage. It’s tough. I have trouble letting go too. And some of the books I released, yes I said that, I never got around to reading. I finally had to admit they just weren’t that interesting to me any more. Tastes change. I need to purge my clothes next. But if it still fits… I hate to get rid of something perfectly good. Trouble is, I love brand new when it comes to clothes and shopping is an addiction with me. Sigh. No wonder I have every closet full. As you say, holy cows.

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