Book downsizing revisited
Posted on July 12th, 2012
I haven’t talked a lot about downsizing recently, although there are a lot of posts here about how I did it, way back when. It feels like it’s been too long since our last purge, especially since I’ve been feeling burdened by things and stuff. Also, I’m realizing we’ll never live on a sailboat at this rate.
I know, I just bought a piano. I know.
But book downsizing has been on my mind. Growing up, when my family moved (often), the combination of my father’s professional and the family’s personal libraries, boxed, took up one half of a semi-sized moving truck stacked floor to ceiling. I grew up with a lot of books. When I would do college papers, I’d go to my father’s office first and the university library second. True story. I’m not bragging (because I’d rather have had a supportive nice father without books), just sharing my point of reference.
When Pea was born, and again when we downsized to a loft, I slashed and burned our little family’s personal library and my professional library. I sold books and I donated books and I gave books to friends. Even my most cherished non-fiction books were pared down to manageable levels. And by manageable, I mean five and a half bookcases’ worth. With the height extensions. (And there are still six or seven more boxes of books I haven’t dealt with because I vowed I wouldn’t buy any more bookcases.)
It was tough. Books are one of those things I need to point to in order to say, “Look. I may live in poverty, but it’s genteel poverty.” It’s a lie I tell myself when I’m making Tuna Helper. It works. Pass the salt and Barchester Towers, darling.*
Here’s where I was surprised: I didn’t miss my old books! Sometimes I thought, hey, it would be nice if I still had this particular book to look up this fact, but oh, Wikipedia! If I felt regret, I told myself if I really needed a copy, somehow I’d find one.
I did that today for the first time. Five years after selling a particular book, I needed it again and couldn’t get my hands on the information it contained otherwise. I bought it today at Powell’s. It cost less than $6. And it’s much nicer than the copy I’d sold.
Well, then. That worked out, didn’t it?
*I just bought the complete works of Anthony Trollope for my Kindle and holy crapola I am excited to clear up bookshelf space. All those years I thought nyah-nyah about needing the smell and feel of the books? I’m past that.