Confessions of a book hoarder- book cleansing for happiness and wellbeing

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For the past few days I have been lucky enough to enjoy a short but relaxing holiday by the beach. Brunching every morning after 11am and sipping on apple ciders was time well spent and nice to get away from the (at times) woes of reality. For me, holidays are a great time to reflect on my personal goals and aspirations. I know I should be napping and indulging on crackers and cheese but I always find myself imagining affirmations and aspirations in my head.  (Okay, I did enjoy multiple cheese and cracker varieties as well) I realised that the thing that was weighing me down the most was the looming task of clearing through the rubble that had spread through my room as wild as the plague. Yes, I confess dear reader my name is Ashleigh and I am a #bookhoarder. Many moons ago I stumbled upon a Japanese word ‘Tsundoko,’ meaning: ‘Buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves or floors on nightstands.’ I am still in awe that a single word can completely sum up my entire existence. Japanese words rock. Sadly for me, the biggest love of my life is also the most detrimental to the wellbeing of my personal space. Books although the most wonderful things in my literary universe, are overflowing from every nook and cranny in my stuffy and cluttered room. Books are spilling out of my cupboards, and my poor overworked tiny bookshelf has been double stacked. It was clearly suffering. Even though we are currently hopping into April, I had to channel my inner spring cleaning minx and fix this bamboozling book chaos. (Bamboozled is one of my favourite words and I confess I really just wanted the satisfaction of using it in a sentence)

My book collection although established is extremely diverse and it was amazing to see the genres of books scattered on my shelf, in my cupboard and under my bed. These books range from:

🍵Children’s books

🍵School novels

🍵Mary Kate and Ashley books (and films… Don’t deny it dear reader, you had them as well)

🍵Op Shop bargains (I am guilty of picking up classic books on special with the intention to read them, but get stuck living a simple life on my shelf)

🍵Travel guides

🍵Astrology and dream interpretation books (I have a whole stack)

🍵And my favourite series of books- such as Harry Potter, Divergent and The Mortal Instruments Series.

Reading Gretchen Rubin’s ‘Happier at Home’ the first chapter focuses on clutter and how it can take over your life. One of the hardest things to do when cleaning out your belongings, is letting things go Frozen style because they have asserted a special place in your life. (Turn away and slam the door!) For me, all my books are prized possessions that I hold dearly to my heart. I haven’t thrown out books for a very long time and post holiday blues was enough motivation to start. In order for this clean out to work successfully, I had to put a system in place with rules to follow. I’m pretty sneaky and would try to hold on to as many books as possible, so I had to be ruthless.

THREE RULES FOR EVERY BOOK HOARDER:

🍵Rule #1- Would I read this book again? Probably the most important of all rules. Following Gretchen Rubin’s advice, I really tried to analyse my feelings for each book. for example, I enjoyed the ‘Eragon ‘series by Christopher Paolini, but would I read it again? No. To the op shop the series went, eliminating four books in a flash! *To assist with maintaining this rule, I asked myself if I would ‘refer to a friend?’ If the answer was, ‘no this really was an awful read, into the charity bin it would go! This was extremely helpful if I was umming and ahhing if I wanted to keep this book on my shelf!

🍵Rule #2- Did I enjoy this book? Surprisingly there were so many books on my shelf that I didn’t even like. For example, I had three books in the ‘Tomorrow when the War’ began series, and I have already tried three times to read the series unsuccessfully. I am sure the series is wonderful, but it wasn’t good enough for me to have on my book shelf. Also, I owned a copy of Nietzsche’s ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ and Dostoevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ for University studies. It was safe to say I didn’t hesitate to throw those depressing buggers in the bin. #noregrets

🍵Rule #3- Double ups I actually own (well, owned) two sets of the entire Deltora Quest series. The more compact version of the series was saved so there would be more room on my book shelf! Also, I think it was a very important move for my social life that I only own one copy of Macbeth rather than two… 😉 (Just kidding, you cannot own enough Shakespeare if you tried well wisher!) *Exception to this rule are my three beautiful copies of ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald pictured above because it’s cool to have a book hoarding rule with an exception. (Poet and I totally did know it)

It was very bittersweet to finish my book cleanout with two rubbish bin sized bags filled to the brim with books. I also snuck in a few DVD’s (Including MK and A’s ‘Holiday in the Sun, that sun has well and truly set!) Starting was the hardest bit of my book cleanse, but now my book shelf is looking much lighter. Doing this ‘cleanse’ also helped me realise how many books I own and haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. For example, one of Zoe Foster Blake’s novels ‘Air Kisses’ that I want to try and my Bret Easton Ellis novels ‘Rules of Attraction’ and ‘Less than Zero’ that I picked up for $1.00! #bargainbooks are the greatest. I recommend everyone embarking on a #bookcleanse, as not only do local charities benefit from your books but you feel so much lighter. I was already thinking to myself that I have enough room to purchase more books, but I think I will stick to the literary gems I have found on my shelf for a while.

Happy reading, and maybe cleaning!

Miss Book Dependent xo

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