Tuesday, 21 February 2017

BOOKS - Clearing the clutter - Can Do Today

THE READER Alfred Emile Stevens c 1860
I'm spring clearing at the moment, not for any particular reason except it's time and I feel like it. And that isn't an error, I am CLEARING not cleaning. My Mum and I downsized into a tiny 2 bed condo a few years ago, but I'm nearing retirement age and I see retirement living in my future plans, so I've got to stay "on it".

I did my closet in the fall, but now I'm on a run. It started because I'm about to paint my kitchen cupboards and I wanted to make more space and have less clutter to re-shelve. After all, do I really need to keep all the big pots, baking pans and canning equipment when I have foodie neighbors who are happy to lend pots in exchange for homemade chutney and jam?

Then I found myself attacking the linen closet and it snowballed.

PORTRAIT D'UN MEDECIN Bernard Van Orleans c 1500 
I've moved a bit in my life (over 30 times) and each time I've divested myself of more excess, but I'm a dreadful hoarder and books are my Nemesis. For some reason books are precious to me. I've always been horrified when people write or highlight and dog eared corners to mark a page makes me cringe. I was doing well with my book clearing till our local gallery decided to resell used art books and my collection started to expand again. Whoops!

HEAD OF A WOMAN READING Pablo Picasso 1953
With regard to books, I saw it coming ten years ago when I carefully packed up all my fathers cherished encyclopedia and aircraft books from his estate and tried to find a place to sell them. It was hard, but I eventually found a bookseller with a rather desperate look in his eye when he explained that people just didn't read or buy books any more. I took this as a ruse, but now I realize he was right. After all, 10 years ago the kindle had been invented and most people were using the internet for information. That was before iPads and smart phones. And I have the bug too... I would much rather look for a famous painting, or advice on technique, with a few clicks than wading through my art book collection. Hmmmm!

LYTTON STRACHEY Dora Carrington 1916
CAN DO TODAY - You're waiting for the secret to book clearing, so I must get to it ...

First get a pile of empty boxes and either physically or mentally lable several eg.
1. Keep
2. Charity
3. Antique to sell (the only other ones booksellers may take are newish cook books and art/craft books)

Charity could be your local art group, gallery, thrift store, etc for fund raising. Antique could be your local antiquarian book shop, internet, or collage artist (after you've checked the value).

THE MADONNA OF THE BOOK Sandro Botticelli  1480
Now, pick up each book in turn and ask if it gives you joy. Self help books, probably not joyful - Charity Box. Gardening books - in a condo? Charity. Weight loss books - Definately not joyful - Charity. Medical advice - no joy and internet - Charity. Gift books - if you feel guilty, explain you are downsizing and ask if they would like them back. I guarantee the answer will be no, but you will feel absolved.

See how fast this is? I'm keeping a few coffee table books and "The Joy of Cooking" for old times sake (maybe not).

Let me know how it goes for you.