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January 2, 2015

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It doesn’t have to be a part of my new year’s resolutions. I just need to get this house decluttered. After I removed most of the evidence of Christmas, I started on the guest room, which had served under duress as the gift-hiding-sorting-wrapping room for a few weeks now. It also happens to be one of the rooms in my house where I stash some of my craft projects. While it’s still not one-hundred-percent purged, it’s close. I need to do some picture hanging and to tote a few more bags or boxes upstairs (to the other places where I put my stuff).

Now, though, comes the big challenge: What to do with all these books. I have a full wall of bookshelves in my study and in my bedroom. I have a cabinet of books in the living room, and shelves in two or three rooms upstairs. I have resorted to double stacking. One would think that since I do quite a bit of reading on my iPad that my book stacks wouldn’t grow like they do; one would be wrong.

I can’t help it. I am a Libra. (Look it up: Same root words as library.) I just love my books. I do admit, though, that something has to be done. Maybe someone can help me figure out how to sell my duplicates at least online. The first step, of course, is deciding which ones I can let go. I’ve also tried sorting them differently, looking for a plan. While I should be thinning out the stacks, though, I find that I am instead just moving them around. I remind myself of a mother cat moving her kittens.

Since something has to be done, I’ve come up with a few solutions:

  1. This coming week (or however long it takes) will be my book amnesty days. Any book I find on my shelf that I identify as someone else’s will be returned with one stipulation: You cannot ask me if I read it or not. Maybe I did. Maybe I didn’t. Most likely I meant to read them all—except for a couple I took just to keep from hurting someone’s feelings. I try not to do that. Rest assured that if I didn’t read it, I’ll write it in my book book—the list of books I will eventually read. For now, just be grateful you got yours back.
  1. I am also starting stacks of books to lend. Right before Christmas a box of books arrived in the mail. My books. They were returning after a short visit in Johns Creek, GA. Don’t worry, Beth. I have a new stack just for you. I also have found some books the grandkids are aging into. These I’ve moved up to “their room.” The only problem: Those shelves are already full of children’s books. Oh well.
  1. I have boxed up some devotional type books, Bible study guides, some for teens, some specifically for women, some for anyone. I’m taking them to church Sunday to share. I’ll leave my name tucked inside of each. Some may find their way back.
  1. I have a box of paperback classics—lots of Shakespeare, some others I’ve taught—with the notes penciled in the margins. Since literature has been gutted from the curriculum, I hardly need to put my hands on one copy of these, much less three or four. For the time being, I’ll store them upstairs until one of the kids in the family needs a copy for school, and I’ll start on the classics I haven’t read yet—or lately.

Maybe with a little shelf space loosened, if not emptied, I can organize better. Already, I have shelves of my signed books, my poetry books, books of and about music, books by favorite Southern authors, books on writing, books about reading, books of plays, Christmas favorites.

Once I get through this task, I plan to sit right down and start reading some more.

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