Friday, August 7, 2015

accepting limits and limiting books

Decided I would take the afternoon off and just do something fun, no pressure, no guilt. So just as I was settling down to enjoy my book and a cup of tea I started to feel inspired to write something in my blog. What is it about removing pressure and guilt that suddenly makes me feel more energetic? I notice tho that it did not make me want to tackle the bills or opening mail or any of the rest of my more onerous to-dos I've been procrastinating.

I did do some downsizing this week. Made a big dent on my bookcase. I suspect I could make more progress if I tried. Had a discussion with J recently. I said I want a china cabinet to display the antique china I got from his Mum last year. He wondered where we would put it. I said if he would get rid of some of his books that might help. (He has way more books than I do!)

The next day, in the interest of fairness, I thought I should see if I could get rid of some of my books. I knew there were a few I could get rid of. I collected quite a stack fairly quickly but it did not seem to make much difference. Then I got curious about three large three-ring binders on the top shelf. They looked so large and impressive I was sure they must be important but could not remember what was in them. Quite surprised to discover how useless and out of date they were. One was a weekly planner from a few years ago. I did not even remember ever using that format. But there it was. I found myself feeling guilty that I am not that organized anymore. Wondered if I should start keeping one like that again. But I was mostly aware of a sense of heaviness as I looked through it. It was from the early months of caring for my Mom in our home. I wondered if I should keep it. What if I want to write a book about that some time? But the heaviness got heavier and I felt like I just wanted to heave it into the recycle bin ASAP. So that's what I did. It was a nice feeling. I did take some photos of it first. Also retrieved a few paper clips --waste not want not ! :)

After that I made more progress. It seemed to clear my thinking and I saw things with new eyes. I removed 32 inches of books. I only have 25 inches of free shelf space to show for it, though, because I had a lot books riding piggy back on top of other books. 

Not all easy decisions. I confess one book snuck back since then. I need to get them out of the house before any more do.

Sandra Felton in her book "How not to be a Messy" said it's about accepting our limits, better yet, she said we need to set our own limits. "As long as we try to be everything we admire, we just muddle ourselves down in confusion." Yes the book of ribbon embroidery does have pretty pictures, but I have not done any ribbon embroidery since 2007 and I'm not likely to do any more in the near future, if ever. When or if I ever want to do it again I can find a pattern then. Meanwhile I'll have more space for what I am interested in now and someone else can enjoy the book. The afghan patterns were easier. I'm not likely to ever crochet any more afghans. My hands aren't really up to that much repetitive strain. The one time I did crochet a baby afghan for a friend, in about 1987, my tension was so far off that it turned out more of a trapezoid than a rectangle.

I wonder if I should cull more? There are several books I haven't read. Even books about writing and care-giving, if I never read them, are not worth keeping. Why guilt myself into keeping them just because I paid money for them and really "ought" to have read them; or someone gave them to me so I ought to keep them. It reminds me of a current fad in downsizing called the KonMari method. It's about only keeping items that "spark joy" in your life. By that measure if an unread book sparks joy in me then I should keep it.

Maybe I need to get the book about the KonMari method...

And that ribbon embroidery book sort of gave me joy (with only a little guilt) when I looked at it...

And it's very thin...

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