Unhaul

I get rid of stuff pretty regularly (clothes, books, appliances, etc) and it has definitely come time to unhaul a few more books. I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t been at least a little encouraged by having recently finished Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. So, without any further ado, here’s what I’m unhauling:

books

The following is a list of the books in case you can’t read some of the titles (…since I screencapped the image from a Facebook post I made to see if any of my friends want to claim my books before I take them to the charity shop! haha)

THE DHAMMAPADA by Anonymous (non-fiction)
THE VEGETARIAN by Han Kang (fiction)
THE WOMAN WARRIOR by Maxine Hong-Kingston (highly(!) fictionalised/narrative(?) non-fiction)
THE ICARUS GIRL by Helen Oyeyemi (fiction)
*THE REDEEMER by Jo Nesbo (fiction)
THE SECRET ADVERSARY by Agatha Christie (fiction)
BAD FEMINIST by Roxane Gay (non-fiction)
CORALINE by Neil Gaiman (fiction)
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE RIVER by Jamaica Kincaid (fiction)
THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS by Albert Camus (non-fiction)
KITCHEN by Banana Yoshimoto (fiction)
*SNOOP by Sam Gosling (non-fiction)
THE HOBBIT by JRR Tolkien (fiction)
THE GUEST CAT by Takashi Hiraide (fiction)
*AN ASTRONAUT’S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH by Chris Hadfield (non-fiction)

*Asterisk means I haven’t read it but the main reason I get rid of books I haven’t read is because I acquired them on a whim and still haven’t read them a year or so later and have no strong desire to change that situation.

There’s something really nice about getting rid of things in general and I definitely feel that when I make room on my bookshelves. I know there’s a quote about not really loving a book if you’ve only read it once, but that’s bullshit…IMHO. The book has served a great purpose by serendipitously coming to you at the right time to give you just what you need. That’s enough. That’s all one can hope from it. If it is able to do more upon further re-readings, then great! And that should be treasured too. But the love is no less real if you don’t feel any desire to challenge your previous wonderful experience of the book. Life is too short to be bullied by aggressive re-readers who want you to read the same way they do before permitting you to  be able to say you love something or call it your favourite.

As someone who doesn’t reread often, when I’m honest with myself about whether it’s worth keeping a book on my shelf, it’s not really that hard to let things go even if it’s a book I loved. Those are the books I often gift to friends to share the love. Ironically, I sometimes find it more difficult to unhaul a book I didn’t love because I want to give it a second chance to impress me or to at least give me something before I get rid of it. In fact, I’d say I’ve re-read more books that I first hated(!) than ones I’ve loved. And that has been really interesting for me. Which isn’t to say I’ll re-read all the books I’ve ever disliked… But some of them have definitely benefited from the second chance.

Clearing out my shelves is often also a great opportunity to think about what things I want to keep and discard in my life generally. I find it really healthy for my mental well-being and it’s interesting to learn new tiny things about myself through this process of decision-making and discarding.

How about you?

If you unhaul books too, how often and what’s your criteria for letting a book go?

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6 Responses to Unhaul

  1. Mahima says:

    I’ve unhauled once before, and that was with the bookshelves dedicated to housing the books we read as a whole family. The majority of the books that went into the charity bag were outdated in terms of age range. Others, we hadn’t gotten to in the gazillion years we had owned them for and had no desire to read them anyway.

    I feel like unhauling is so therapeutic.

    • Nicole says:

      Those are definitely the best place to start! Some old textbooks are sometimes good to sell too because they’re often pricy and information in them often doesn’t change greatly so they’re often still in use for several years.

      Definitely!! And as long as I do it when I’m feeling my most pragmatic, the whole process is pretty smooth. On more sentimental days, it’s definitely a lot harder. I start thinking “but maybe I should give this one another chance” or “I don’t want to have bought this and never read it” or “but it might be good for reference some day….eventually….” But I don’t think I’ve ever regretted unhauling anything I decided to unhaul in the end and it feels like a load of my shoulders/mind/bookshelf.

  2. Rachel says:

    Hey, I don’t know if you’ve gotten rid of these yet but I’d love F 451 and An astronaut’s guide to life on earth? I could arrange a book swap with you? I don’t know how people purge their shelves, it’s something I’m not very good at!! Lol Rxx

    • Nicole says:

      Aaw I’d have loved to book swap! But I literally just handed those two off to people at work today.. ;o; The only other ones that have been claimed are The Redeemer, The Hobbit and Bad Feminist, though..
      Haha the best time to try is probably after doing a paperwork or general house purge of some sort as a warm up and it’s also easier (for me at least) to give up the books I’m not 100% sure about keeping if my library has it :’)xx

      • Rachel says:

        Aw raging I didn’t see this sooner! I’ll be sure to keep an eye out in future! I seriously need to do a big clear out in general. I used to be really good at purging books and only keeping favourites, but then when I got in to blogging, I became a hoarder. I regretted getting rid of some of my teen faves, so now I’m afraid to get rid of anything in case I later regret it! I’m getting a little better, but I still accumulate quicker than I purge. AND I don’t use my library, even though I really should. I think I’ll try making that a resolution for 2017! R xx

        • Nicole says:

          Yeah; that makes sense. And I also think I’d be worse IF I were a faster reader because then I’d always think “but it’ll only take me an hour to get to that anyway” and keep adding to the pile without making any extra time because that’s what I’m like! I actually do have my whole Horrible History collection and probably most of my Goosebumps collection at my parents’ house… But they don’t count! 😉 Oh yeah definitely make use of the library! Mine has been a total gift!! Before moving house, I never used the library at all really, but the revelation of audiobooks changed all that and then I found myself also borrowing ebooks (I haven’t graduated to actually leaving my house to borrow physical books yet, but I’m sure I’ll get there) and it’s certainly been a *lot* gentler on my pocket!! hahaha :’D xx

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