Spent most of the weekend reading and cleaning house. We got the idea Friday night that we might go to Omaha on Saturday, but ended up just getting an ice cream sundae in Elk Point. How’s that for scaling down?
But I managed to do a lot that needed doing–after the floor-scrubbing and cabinet cleaning Friday, I did dusting and a little holiday decorating Saturday, and major paper filing and discarding yesterday. I managed to get four schoolwork folders reduced to one–tossing all the worksheets and keeping only the projects, which are now stored in the bottom of M’s dresser.
It continues to amaze me how much paper comes into my life without my even asking for it. Sure, I print out articles here and there, but you’d think teaching online would cut down on the piles. The mail seems to more than make up for it.
Still haven’t gone through last year’s seed catalogs, but those are next and can be recycled. I hate to get rid of the standards I order from every year (Territorial, Johnny’s, Pinetree, Seeds Savers. Seeds of Change) until I get the new version. Unlike the catalogs, the books I cleared out of my bookcase will hopefully be re-used: I’ve got a box for the English Dept. free table and some to donate to the library as well.
Unlike many English majors I’ve known, I don’t hoard books in bulk. Well, I don’t anymore–I used to hoard them and then sell or get rid of most of them every time I moved, but after many nomadic years, I got tired of the process, and decided to reduce my store about every six months whether I was moving or not.
Now, when my big bookcase starts getting over-full, I start culling. The top two shelves are reserved for novels, poetry, and essay collections; the middle shelf holds anthologies, reference, and textbooks; and the bottom two are for history, cookbooks, garden books, and tall books of all kinds.
I do have a tendency to stack books horizontally on top of the vertically-aligned ones, so along with the thirty-five to forty books that can properly fit on each shelf, I can get about five or fifteen more stacked on top. When I reduce, I try to get my collection down to what will fit vertically on the shelves, or about two hundred books total.
I think of this as a positive exercise mainly because in culling some of the no longer desirable texts, I can open up space for more books to come into my life. I did just purchase a couple novels from the new Main Street Bookstore, one of which I’ve already finished (Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye) and another I’ve just begun: Tom Wolfe’s I am Charlotte Simmons.
Atwood’s novel got a vertical spot on my shelf right away, but as much as I am enjoying Wolfe’s, his will likely go in the horizontal position on top–easier to pull out and give away in the next book reduction.