Hi faithful readers! I’m happy to be back after a summer “vacation” that involved too much schlepping around and not enough sitting on the beach parked behind a good book. (If you’re up for a harrowing, inspiring and unforgettable read, try Laura Hillenbrand’s NYT bestseller Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption. Though I’m hardly a fan of non-fiction, I can’t put it down.)
Anyway, I’m back to organizing. Yesterday I was helping a client who’s preparing to move. We combed through five shelves on her bookcase. She held each book and considered:
–whether she’d already read the book
— whether she’d read it again
–if she loved it enough to look at it every day
–if it represented something that once interested her but no longer did
She winnowed the contents of that tall bookcase to four packed boxes. She also filled her recycling bin to the brim twice. And she ended up with about 30 books to donate. Most of them were photography volumes from an intense photography course she’d taken decades ago. She also let go of set of CDs and exercise books to teach herself Spanish.
She had dozens and dozens of theater programs filling half a shelf of the bookcase. “I don’t know why I saved these,” she said as she dropped them, one by one, into the recycling bin. They were a souvenir of fun evenings out, but she was ready to let them go and she did, fearlessly.
I reminded her that by clearing out things she didn’t need, she was giving herself room to let new things into her life. The empty shelves were at first a bit daunting, but we dusted them and looked at the empty space, it didn’t seem sadly vacant. Instead, it seemed like it was full — of possibility for something better, coming soon.