Okay, confession time. This is kind of embarrassing, but here goes…
I, Jennifer David Hesse, enviro-minded, socially conscious, normally thriftyish woman… I rent a self-storage unit to house my excess stuff.
Of course, millions of Americans rent storage spaces. I just never thought I’d be one of them. I mean, who really needs to own more stuff than they can fit into their own home? Isn’t that just a little crazy?
Well, here’s my excuse. Last year, when my husband and I decided to put our condo on the market, our real estate agent told us we needed to “declutter.” Not that our place was overflowing or anything, but spaciousness is more attractive than “stuff.” It doesn’t matter how neatly the stuff is stacked, piled, placed, or arranged. We had to hide a bunch of stuff.
Eventually, we moved into a bigger home with more storage than our condo. But, five months later (and more than a year after the original de-cluttering), we still have the storage unit. This is because we want to finish the dusty old basement in our new house before hauling all our stuff down there.
I know some people would say if we haven’t needed all that packed-away stuff for this long, we ought to just get rid of it. But, ours is the kind of stuff you want to hang onto: old yearbooks, keepsakes, seasonal decorations, a few pieces of furniture we’ll ultimately use in the basement.
On the other hand… when we stopped in at the storage place last weekend to trade out our Halloween bins for the Christmas bins, I did notice something that perhaps shouldn’t be taking up paid space—a crate of old law school textbooks. I haven’t cracked those things open once in the past 19 years. Perhaps it’s time to let them go.
This got me to thinking about books in general. Between Scott, Sage, and me, we have (ahem) quite a few books. And we actually did have several boxes of books in the storage unit for a while, but we retrieved them shortly after moving.
Anyway, do books count as clutter?
I don’t usually think of books as clutter. Or, if they are clutter, they’re the good kind. Sort of like “good debt.” Better yet, books are like friends—you can never have too many.
In truth, I suppose we should ask the same question about our books that organization experts say we should ask about all our stuff. Namely:
1) Do I use (wear/consult/read) this item on a regular basis?
2) Does this item enrich my life? In other words, does it bring me joy or have sentimental value?
If yes to any of those questions, then keep the stuff!
If not, then I say donate, donate, donate.
When it comes to books, there are actually lots of options for finding new homes for your old tomes. (Tome homes?)
You can always:
- Re-gift them!
- Drop them off at an office book exchange or a neighborhood Little Free Library
- Donate them to a hospital, clinic, shelter, preschool, etc.
- Give them to the good ol’ Goodwill
- Sell them (Try www.cash4books.net, or a used book store.)
Or, if you’re so inclined, you can repurpose old books into something else entirely.
I absolutely love books, but space is nice too. Besides, sometimes you have to clear out stuff... to make room for more books!
P.S. Have you ever considered doing your holiday shopping at a secondhand shop, yard sale, or fundraising bazaar? You can find all kinds of new-to-you treasures from jewelry, scarves, and trinkets to… you guessed it, books. I, for one, wouldn’t mind receiving a pre-owned book. Hmm… sounds like a good gift-exchange theme: pre-owned presents only!
A nature-loving, mystery-reading, magic-seeking, daydreaming kinda gal, Jennifer is the author of the Wiccan Wheel Mysteries.