Clutter, Clutter Toil and Books

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Over the Fourth of July weekend I finally got around to cleaning out the large storage room in our basement. You see, last summer we had a flood and we desperately salvaged what we could by throwing everything that was dry haphazardly into plastic storage tubs and dry cardboard boxes.

Along one wall of the storage room was a set of shelves filled with books, hundreds of books. Somehow, none of these books got wet since the water seeped up through the floor of the basement and we were able to carefully put these into storage tubs, as well; however with these special items, my husband took extra care.

I collect books. I can’t help myself, I’ve always collected books. I love them. Old. New. Children’s books. Classic novels. I started reading when I was very young and remember that when I was about 12 years old, just before that hectic move to North Carolina that I blogged about earlier, I had a walk-in closet with two long shelves on each side and they were both filled with books that I had read. When I was in college I started collecting classic children’s books. After college I kept all of my English Literature books, I was an English major after all.

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Each time I moved I would gingerly box up those books, and haul them with me to my next place of residence. By the time I moved from Schenectady, New York to Danville, Virginia I had amassed a huge cache of books. I remember the movers saying that most of the weight from the move came from those boxes of books.

Over the years I have let some of those books go, leaving many of them behind for my children when I separated from their father. Now, I have easy access to them now, and my children have had the joy of  reading them.

Back in the basement, we finally finished repairing walls and replacing floors about two months ago, so it was time to get back to that storage room and straighten it up. But I was procrastinating. It was so cluttered with stuff that there was no longer even a path through to the shelves and storage tubs. There was such a tangle of boxes, bins, clothing, and other things that have been put down there that it had become overwhelming, I literally felt like a hoarder. I am not a hoarder. I am a neat freak. Type-A. Please-put-your-dirty-dishes-straight-into-the-dishwasher-and-pick-your-socks-up-and-put-them-where-they-belong type neat freak.

With the nice, leisurely long weekend, I began to declutter that room. I first made a path through the hodgepodge and started putting my books back home, onto their shelves, where they belong. You see, I’m not the only one who saves books. My step-daughters have always been bookworks too, so they have also saved and collected books.

Now, mind you, over the last couple of years I have donated many boxes of books to our local Goodwill Bookstore. Books that are just for casual reading. Books that I know will never be read again, by us anyway. The books that I save are the ones that I know my children, young and old, will need for school. Shakespeare. Charles Dickens. Hemingway. Hawthorne. Bronte. Neatly shelved and  grouped together by author (but not alphabetized, that would be a little too much, even for me). These are the books that I use as a teacher, so I keep them for my children’s education and for mine.

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While I still have a long way to go to finish cleaning up that storage room, at least I know that the books that I so dearly love are back where they belong, and much more easily accessible for when the school year starts.

I promise, I will finish cleaning the basement in the next few weeks.

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