As an avid reader, I can testify that there was a time in my life that I would not give up the notion of having a book where I could hold it and turn the pages. For me it was as comfortable as an old blanket I could snuggle up with. The smell of the pages reminded me of my younger self as I immersed myself in a different life for hours.
As my book shelves became more and more full, my goals were that I would someday forget the plot and re-read it as if they were new. Letting the author take me down their perfectly crafted story once again sounded heavenly.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen…
Soon I had so many books that I had to acquire more book shelves to hold them. It felt overwhelming and soon I realized that my dreams of re-reading those books would never happen. I had created organized chaos in my room and realized that this did not serve who I was. I have always been one who loves organization and I knew this was causing me anxiety. Instead of feeling peace, I started avoiding my room. Something had to change.
Is this your story too? Have you come to the fork in the road and now it’s time to pick a path? Let’s examine some of the pros and cons of those paths:
Keep them all and organize them.
Pros: You get to keep all your books and get them organized. There is no stress of letting go and things stay relatively status quo in life which feels safe.
Cons: Even though this decision is the path of least resistance, it will not stay organized for long. As more books come in (and they will), there is only so much space to put them. You are back to square one eventually.
·Purging 50% or more of your books.
Pros: You now have a more manageable amount of books to organize and your space will feel transformed. You may feel empowered as you take back control of your surroundings. You may feel less anxious and actually like your space. You can donate your books to places where others can enjoy the books you loved.
Cons: There may be some emotional feelings attached as you venture into letting go of what is not serving you. Again, there is comfort in staying status quo and because of that you may feel some discomfort as you take back control.
·Purging most/all of your books.
Pros: Your room becomes open for so many possibilities. Maybe now you can freely take up yoga in your clean room or start the canvas painting you’ve always wanted to do or decorate it in a new style. You can store all your books in one place on a reading device, read without the lights on, and carry a small device that can house the books you love anywhere you go.
Cons: You will need to adjust to a new way of reading and again, change is sometimes uncomfortable.
Because of the strong desire to reduce my anxiety levels and wanting to take back control, I chose getting rid of all but 4 books and invested in an electronic reading device. It took a while for the device to feel “right” but looking back, I’m glad I made this choice. I store my 4 books and reader in the bottom drawer of my bedside table for easy access in bed. I now read at night without the lights on and when I travel, it tucks away neatly in the side pocket of my carry on. My anxiety has been eliminated and I feel happy in my surroundings.
Whichever path you decide to take is up to you. Envision what your ideal living situation would be and use that as a compass to make the decision on how you organize and purge your space. Always try to keep in mind that what worked for you in the past, may not be working for you now. Although change is scary, you may find the more aggressive action you take will actually bring you more peace afterwards.
I hope that whatever decision you make brings you joy and peace.