One should always think carefully before tackling projects like spring cleaning and organizing.

It never goes as planned, at least for me. Perhaps the key is really wanting to tackle those projects rather than feeling like one has to clean/organize. I think I was somewhere in between, so needless to say I was prone to getting sidetracked, leaving a bigger challenge than when I began.

I have thought for some time to whittle down my collection of books. I thought to donate to the library or to the Senior Center and Bargain Box. 

I like to encourage reading and hope to give people the opportunity to enjoy the pleasure reading can bring. So, this is where I started. That was my first mistake. 

I think the key to organizing and streamlining is to start with things that don’t hold a lot of emotional attachment. Books have always been longtime friends. I like all kinds of books. I like how they smell, feel and the sense of peace that books bring to me each day in one way or another. I have old books, textbooks, reference books, paperback books, hardcover books, unread books, dog-eared books, mystery books, biographies and history books. 

I thought I could casually take inventory and start boxing up some books for donation. My heart and thoughts were in the right place; my will became less accommodating.

My second mistake was starting the culling project with books that aren’t in my everyday line of sight. I have several bookcases in my basement, so I thought that would be a good place to begin. I took my iPad, turned on Pandora for some music, got some boxes ready and started the process. A couple of hours later, there weren’t many books in the boxes as I started my trip down memory lane. I found books I had forgotten about, so of course had to take a few moments to flip through and refresh my memory. 

I realized that I was putting books back on the shelves rather than in the boxes. I kept thinking, “I enjoyed this book; maybe I’ll read it again.” I do re-read some books, so that thought seemed perfectly natural. My plan unraveled as I felt as if I were renewing old acquaintances. After a couple of hours, it dawned on me that I had a problem. 

I now had books on the floor, a few in boxes and many still on the shelves. My thought of paring down and donating hit a snag. My enthusiasm started to wane. Best laid plans ….

My third mistake was saying to myself I needed a quick break, let the dogs out, walk a bit around the yard, pour that glass of wine and regroup. I headed back to the basement to start again with new resolve. I reminded myself of my original plan, decided I could do this, but again fell victim to finding forgotten books and the emotions attached. So, like most who aren’t ready to sort, purge, clean and organize, I gave up, for now.  

I’ll think about that tomorrow. Meanwhile I’m re-reading some great books. 

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