Sunday, December 30, 2007

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow...

Parting with books, that is. In a bid to "de-clutter" our lives (thanks to Peter Walsh's It's All Too Much), Hubbs has been on a giveaway spree. His first project? Our bookshelves. He was smart enough not to filter through my books, but was ruthless in gutting through his own collection of development books, cartoon anthologies, fiction novels, and self-help/leadership guides. His rationale? If he hasn't touched it in 6 months or will no longer need it for reference or re-reading, it is apparently worth more to him to have space on his bookshelf than to keep those books around.

As he was going through his purging process, every fibre of my packrat being fought the urge to grab his discarded books and hide them elsewhere in our home, out of his line of sight. It pained me to watch him throw out books that we paid significant amounts to buy not more than 6 months ago. It killed me to see these pristine hardbacks and paperbacks, with nary a spinal crease in sight, getting tossed like old socks onto a garbage heap in the middle of our living room. I pleaded with him, begged him, and tried to convince him to hold on to a few of these precious texts, but he was coldly unyielding in his very focused attempt to simplify our living space.

In the end, I was only able to persuade him to do the following:
- hold on to some of the newer dev books in his discard pile, to see if any of his dev friends might want to take some of them off his hands
- hold on to some of his comic anthologies, to see if any of his comic-book-loving geek friends might want to take some of them off his hands
- give away all the new, nearly-flawless books to the public library instead of dumping them in the "recycle room" in our building
- let me hold on to "A Million Little Pieces" and a Dilbert novel that I have every intention of reading in the next 12 months.

His purge resulted in the freeing up of 3 entire rows of one Billy bookshelf in our office, when previously his collection was so full that he was double-stacking two of his rows. While this is a much-needed improvement in our living conditions, the cost to my heart has been great.

His next project is our "catch-all" kitchen drawer, and after that I think it is going to be our wardrobe and closets, followed by our kitchen cupboards. I may not survive the purge to my beloved wardrobe (and my stockpile of "stuff" for those "just-in-case" emergencies) so if I do not live to see a fully decluttered apartment, do know that I have appreciated your loyal readership over the years ;)

It sucks being married to a non-packrat. It makes it twice as hard for me to gratify my natural instinct to save.


vien said...

haha, aiyah, why are you such a packrat Helen...did i know that, i can't remember.

I'm a complete opposite of packrat, i have thrown things out too early and got into some frustrating & yelling (at myself) situations where i needed it on an after thought. ie. receipts.

still, i like living simply better than crowded :)
p.s move to the STates!

The Doc said...

Oh my. That's a brutal way to de-clutter, Mrs. L. I'm glad my wife is kind of packratty like me; unfortunately, she's packratty about very different things. And speaking as one of the friends who took some of the comics: thanks for the persuading! I appreciate it. My wife, maybe not. But I do.