To Have & To Discard

Clutter in Estelle's Apartment Rather Be Reading BlogI get into these crazy cleaning moods. The ones where I am stuck in the middle of a pile of whatever I’m cleaning and it’s really hard for me to move (and also find the motivation to clean it back up). Last Friday, I was in one of those moods. NEW YEAR MUST GET RID OF SHIT. Something like that. So I go through Playbills, event flyers, old greeting cards, and I weigh the importance of each and every one. Do I keep it if I didn’t have fun or if I don’t talk to the person anymore? Or is that the reason to keep it in the first place? See, I pride myself on keeping my memories honest. From the scrapbook with the old boyfriend that cheated on me to the itinerary from that kind of horrible trip I went on… I probably have all of it.

But when is enough enough?

So I make myself get rid of things. I even went and bought a fun new box from Staples to properly store the memories I wanted to keep safe. It feels good to cull once in awhile, really go through the things that I have and question whether I need it or not. Sure, I want to keep it all but do I need it?

I have this addictive collection problem. I blame my dad who collects every napkin and coaster from vacation, and currently has a museum of sports memorabilia in his basement. (It’s all very diligently organized and recorded. Trust me.) From clothes to books to lipsticks to shoes to pictures, it’s really hard to draw the line because I grow such attachments to things. Sometimes (again in another weird Estelle mood) I can’t sleep and wonder what I would grab if there was ever a fire in my apartment and I had to leave. My husband, my cat, my old stuffed raccoon who sits on my nightstand, and then… what?

(I worry about crazy things.)

Last January in the spirit of the new year and resolutions, I experimented with maintaining a list of what I was buying and bringing into our tiny apartment to keep myself honest. In March, it lost its appeal. Not because I was too embarrassed to write down how many shirts I bought that month but because, like a lot of resolutions, it fell to the wayside. I can sit here and tell you that I did not buy as many books in 2014 as I did in 2013. But still… it might have been too much. How do I know that? I’m hiding books under my chairs, behind my clothing rack, and in my hallway and — the most important reason — I haven’t read them all.

Blogging continues to be this interesting thing because — unlike Disney trips — books are less expensive. Sure, you say, I can spend 10 dollars on that and then not read it for a few months… a year… (much like my gym membership but hey, I’m walking up six flights everyday while our building installs a new elevator). We all talk about books so we can share our love of certain books and, in turn, people run out and buy the books. It’s a simple formula until you are so up to your eyeballs in books that you aren’t sure where you are going to put your Christmas tree and take a full day to shuffle it all around and make room. (I would like to applaud all bloggers for their amazing marketing skills.)

So what about this year?

Well, I’m not making lists this year and I’m not limiting myself, per se, but I am challenging myself to question if I need this certain thing right this moment or if it can wait. Maybe 2015 is all about patience for me and holding the special, meaningful things close. Even if that means waiting to build this library and being more careful about it. Going to the public library more, and not forgetting that friends can lend you books too. That maybe, like all things, personal libraries take time and care to build. That it’s not necessarily about the shiniest new kid on the block but the ones that have stuck with you the longest. And finding the perfect balance between the two.