52 Bites

I purchased a book a few weeks ago, my first eBook! I feel SO 2012! My $4 splurge on Tsh Oxenreider’s 52 Bites. She’s the powerhouse behind Simple Mom and also published Organized Simplicity in November of 2010. 52 Bites takes many of the ideas from Organized Simplicity and puts them into “bite sized” chunks. In theory, you could do a project per week and work on many aspects of your life in a year. Everything from going paperless in your kitchen to writing a family purpose statement to weekly menu planning to creating a debt free plan.

About five of the tasks are already things we have done, so I am hoping to jump on the bandwagon, a little after 2012 has begun, and still work our way through many of the “bites” before the start of 2013.

Today, I began one task that has been a felt stress for me for some time. Streamlining our books. Matt will be glad to know that I didn’t touch any of HIS books, only my own. But in the end, have put together three tubs to pass on. The hardest thing about this all is the EMOTIONAL part of purging books. I look at each one and think, “Ah, that Rick Steves guide to Italy…that trip in 2000 was SO special!” Or, “Oh my goodness, The Cost of Discipleship. My small group suffered through that for a YEAR for our weekly study. I almost want to keep it as a trophy or badge of courage. A sign of our survival.”

Do you ever feel that way about books? They’re like friends. They remind me of times gone by. Of memories. Some books were given to me. Many given to me AT MY REQUEST. Coffee table art books. Classic Literature. Fiction that I couldn’t put down.

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I’m sure many of you who read this blog will look at those pictures and think, “I GAVE HER THAT BOOK!!!! How could she be carelessly casting it away???”  Well, I am starting to come to grips with appearances. The appearance I want to keep up and maintain. I want people to come into my house and SEE what matters to me. To see what books I’ve devoured. Or slogged through. To see my interests. To relate and appreciate and agree. I keep books because MAYBE, just MAYBE I’ll read them again. They were life-changing, so obviously, I’d want to hold onto them. They’re Pulitzer Prize winners. I might NEED them again!

But folks, as I’ve discussed her previously, about 2 years ago, to help our budget, we became library connoisseurs. We started looking for books and putting ourselves on long waiting lists and learning that books can be enjoyed and appreciated and that they don’t have to burden our wallets and bookshelves.

I know that many of you might think I’m crazy or disagree….but I have to say, it feels pretty liberating. This is what I’m left with and I know it will decrease by about 5 that I’m still waffling over.

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So…..I’m ready for the next steps…..purging the BOXES of children’s books we have stored.  I usually only keep two tubs of books for the kids….one rotating box of our books and one of library books.  And then, the one Matt’s been pestering me about for years…photo albums. I have a HUGE tub in the garage of the 1990s. And then four shelves worth inside our house. I think it might be time to enlist some scanning help from a professional and figure out what I really want to keep.

If you have any suggestions for where to dispose of books (church library sales? public library? used book stores? any of YOU!?!?), I would love some tips.

I’ll be posting about some other projects we tackle over the weeks to come and would encourage you to check out Tsh’s book as well. As today proved, it’s not easy, but in small “bites”, it is do-able.

One thought on “52 Bites

  1. Good for you! I know it is hard. I love you how you point out the emotional part of parting with books. “Do you ever feel that way about books? They’re like friends. They remind me of times gone by. Of memories.” Absolutely! When we moved into our little condo I purged, mostly novels and college/grad school books. The novels I can always get from the library (and now from the library for my Kindle) and if I am not using the book from previous coursework now I probably won’t. We gave some to people and the rest a friend who is a book seller looked through. What was left went to a church rummage sale. Every once in a while I still pine for something that was purged, but over all I am happy to have less. (Still 5+ bookcases in the States and 500 or so books overseas, but it is much less then there was!)

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