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Weeding (not the garden)

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After living in this house for 11 years and toying with the idea of a garage sale for about 5, we’re finally putting a plan into action. A date has been set (May 17) with plenty of time to get ready and I’ve spent the past week purging, cleaning out, sorting, and organizing. The hard thing about a garage sale, and the part that makes Paul not want to do it, is the logistics of it. And I admit, I’m a bit stymied too. So far stuff we’ve identified as “sell” is being put into the garage. But then we’ll need to sort and price that stuff, put it all back, and then the crack of dawn the day of the sale lay it all out. And then feel frustrated when it doesn’t all sell. (My post sale plan is 1. curb for free 2. LFA Pickup) I have managed to weed down 4 tubs of “must keep baby clothes” to a mere two, which I think is sensible. But, oh, that was an afternoon of sentimentality as I looked at all the sweet baby clothes.

As you may or may not know, I’m a librarian. Paul, too! And a big part of a library job is weeding your collection. You can’t keep everything, so some stuff has to go. I’m pretty good at it at work, but much worse at home.  A really big part of this “get our house and lives in order” project is weeding our home library. Which is huge. In fact, I wrote a little bit about it over at this site today.  When it comes to my own books I find it much harder to weed.  But I felt finally ready to part with things I know I’ll never read again. And I had tons of prepubs (advance reading copies of books I received from my library work) that I’m happy to give away.  It turns out we have a tremendous classics library and really very few of them did I feel compelled to keep.  On the other hand, it turns out that Paul is much more interested in continuing to have a broad library of our own.  I am also parting with vintage cookbooks that I don’t have the space to enjoy.  The ones I really like I already have up in the kitchen.  In fact, it turns out that I had tons of cookbooks I never used.  When it came down to it I had to tell myself: 1. Just because someone gave it to you once many years ago doesn’t mean you have to keep it. 2. Just because you read it once and liked it doesn’t mean you have to keep it. 3. Discarding a book doesn’t mean you hate it (as if the book has feelings.) All told we’ve so far pulled at least 300 books for the booksale (I think more.) And we haven’t even looked at books in our bedrooms or living room.  In all fairness, while Paul is loathe to part with many of his books that I’d pitch in an instant, my passion is kids books and because our kids read/will read them they’re pretty much all keepers. And any book from my own childhood. Plus we’ve got our various collections. I have old Bobbsey Twin books, Paul has everything ever written by Gore Vidal and Terry Pratchett (and let me tell you, it’s a LOT.)
Here’s part of the Vidal/Pratchett nook:

We’ve done a tremendous amount of work, plus some rearranging, and it’s really satisfying that there are no longer stacks of books on the floor or double stacked on the shelves. Doesn’t this look neat? (this is a section of the wall of shelves.There’s a lot more.) I’m also thinking this will go a long way towards my 2014 reading goal of enjoying rereading books. Almost every book I kept is one that I know I will read again and again over the years, or is in some way special to me.


So that’s what has been going on here. Spring cleaning I guess you’d say 🙂  And after the torrential rains this weekend, and sunshine today, just as it’s the last day of March, it finally feels like spring.


About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

4 responses »

  1. I was just totally freaked out, when I clicked on your yalsa link to see what you had written today, and it opened with “we are getting ready for an intrastate move”. Took me a beat to see you weren’t the author, bit a contributor. Whew!

    • I know! I always share YALSA posts on FB and when I did today that was what showed up and people were like “WhAT?! You’re moving?!”

  2. Good on you for taking the plunge into a garage sale! I know how challenging it can be to sort through things (so tiring!) and negotiate what gets kept and what can let go of – each person has a different attachment (or lack of) to any given item and it can be really frustrating when you think that something is an obvious yard sale item and the other person thinks that would be the worst decision ever! 🙂 Through all of our moves last year, we got rid of a LOT of stuff and we keep telling ourselves that when we find a house we like, we won’t acquire more stuff just to fill up space. Here’s hoping we can stick to that. 🙂

    • Thanks Anne, it is a lot of work but I think it will be worth it. I am very sentimental and like to keep things, Paul likes to keep things for different reasons, but I was quite zealous about my weeding this time. That said I’m glad we didn’t have the sale yet because I changed my mind about a handful of books and took them back! I feel like we are only going to be able to sell a fraction of the books and then I will have to haul them all elsewhere.


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