Lightening the Load

Man, Spring Fever hit with a vengeance around my house this year! I don’t know what’s gotten into me – normally I’m sentimental and thrifty and therefore hang onto way too much stuff I don’t need (because it might come in handy, say, during an alien invasion or a textile shortage). Not this year – I’ve been going through clothes, shoes, gadgets, widgets, attics, and basements, happily tossing and donating things right and left. Nothing is safe from my critical, spring-feverish eye. But this year, the bug hit deeper than your basic spring cleaning. THIS year, my laser-beam eye turned toward my beloved book collection.

I love books. I’m an avid reader, and my books are like a piece of myself. Over the years, I had unknowingly developed a belief that the proof of my intelligence, the evidence of my wisdom, was firmly tied to the number of books on my shelf. Basically, they make me look smart, and because of this belief, I find it VERY hard to get rid of books, even bad ones.

Not this year. This year, I gave away more than half of my books. I was ruthless. Old, dry college and grad school books? Sayonara. Books I haven’t opened in ten years? Auf wiedersehen. Books in the attic that never got unpacked when I moved? Hasta la vista, baby.

Man, it was hard! Now I know how my plants feel when I give them a rejuvenation pruning. I knew it would be painful, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the huge sense of relief that comes with paring life back to the essentials. It feels light and clean and refreshing. Now, when the aliens invade, I may not be as prepared, but at least I can pack up and run faster.


  1. Yeah for Julie! Now if I can only get my husband to go through the same exercise you did in getting rid of your books! Enjoyed this very much. JJ

  2. Wow, Julie, you are a braver woman than I! For years – and by years I mean like 10! – my parents and boyfriend have been pestering me to weed out my library. When I was 16 we moved to another city and my mother refused to move all my books, basically forcing me to give up all 100+ of The Babysitters Club Series, more than 50 of the Sweet Valley Junior High and High School series and other paperbacks that I actually miss to this day (like the Ramona Quimby books, Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing, Superfudge, etc.) i SWORE i would never get rid of books in a mass like that again and so far I haven’t. Every once in a while my boyfriend will coax me to take a few books to Half-Price (“Come on babe, I know To Kill A Mockingbird is your favorite book but do you really need 5 copies?”) but I have yet to do another huge purge. Maybe in the spirit of “Spring Cleaning” it’s time to get my big girl britches on and “Just Do It”! 🙂


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