Day 12: Thursday, January 17
Assignment: Declutter your book & media collections
Books, movies, magazines, games, music! These are some of the things that top my list of "what makes life worth living". I'm a die-hard book lover and, if there is one thing I tend to go overboard on, it's their acquisition - my idea of a good time is an afternoon at the bookstore. One of the big reasons my husband and I chose our home is because there is a huge wall of built in bookshelves in the main room - it's that bad (or good, depending on how you look at it!). So, please know that I can relate to those of you who might be challenged by today's assignment...But, you should also know that over the years, since first reading "The Eight Step Home Cure", I've learned to let them go, too. I've tried to follow Maxwell's guideline of leaving at least 10% of my book storage space open. I have to say, it looks much neater, is easier to clean and better for the books. He also explains that it leaves open the (metaphorical) door for new things and ideas to come in, so, it's reasonable, that in exchange for all of those good things, I have to let some less vital ones go. It's doable, I promise. The outbox (and the rise of digital media!) is your friend.
I find it very helpful to my clutter-reducing efforts to make use of the fact that many of things we're editing down for today's assignment are now readily available in digital formats, either for download or streaming. What used to take up valuable space in our homes now can be accessed and enjoyed in many ways that require no storage space. For instance, one of the ways I'm able to maintain my "10% open bookshelf" status is by buying novels digitally only now, thus freeing up the shelf space for my beloved decorating, design, art, cooking and knitting books, which I just can't seem to enjoy as much (yet!) in their digital form. Ditto for music - by using Spotify and iTunes for the large majority of my music, I've made room for a tiny, single-shelf collection of vinyl to enjoy on my small record player, which I truly love.
Go through your physical books, movies, music, games and magazines and weed out the items that you no longer want or need as part of your collection. They can leave your home in several different ways - you could pass them to family, friends or colleagues, you could organize a swap, you could possibly sell them (if your city or town has stores that buy used), or you could donate them. No matter which method you choose, you will be making way for someone new to enjoy them, which is very cool. It's a win/win.
Deciding where the items go next is less important at the moment than what you do need to do today, which is to move them off the shelf or out of the cabinet NOW and into an outbox (use a special, dedicated one for these items, if need be). We've already learned that moving things to an outbox releases a bit of the hold things can have on us and makes it easier to let them go, so let that work for you with this assignment too - it will make the decision-making process much easier.
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• A Sort-Of Book Purge
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(Image: Patrick J. Hamilton / Marcia Patmos' Modern Sense and Sensibility)