Monday, August 24, 2020

My Path to Minimalism - Decluttering My Book Collection

One Bookshelf before declutter
Main bookshelf before declutter
Well well well, here we are. I have officially run out of space for my book collection. During quarantine I got tired of how my space looked. I've only been in my new apartment since January and it feels like I only half decorated it. I basically got furniture, ran out of money and stopped decorating. So I had no art on the walls, a cheap bookshelf, a big open space in the middle of the room, and while this open space was great for a while,  it started to get a little boring. I realized the space didn't function in the best way. This apartment redo lead me to watching tiny apartment tours on Youtube. Which then led me to minimalist apartments, thus be embarking on a minimalist journey of my own. When I think about what I have the most of I think of my books. I love reading and am an obsessive book collector and during quarantine I definitely used excessive book buying to cope with the loneliness and boredom that quarantine can be. When I put books in my cart and hit purchase, I would get a little rush of excitement followed by an oh shit I just spent $300 on books. Looking back on it, I 100% didn't need to order 15 books at one time. I will say though, my bookstore was closed, libraries were closed, and I wasn't a fan of reading on my Kindle at the time, so it felt like a way to get a quick fix. But now I have all these books that yes I plan on reading, but I also have a ton of books that I have accumulated since I moved to New York. My reading interests honestly change all the time so there could be a book I was really looking forward to reading a month ago that I am no longer interested in. So me buying an excessive amount of books is probably not the smartest idea. But that thought hasn't crossed mind much before more. 

Okay back to this idea of minimalism. For me I am extremely tied to my books andI always think, who would I be without my book collection? Would I read as much? Would I start reading less? For some reason I have always tied avid reading to having a large book collection, but I'm starting to realize that may not be true. I keep asking myself, do I absolutely have to have this book? I even used to keep books that I didn't like. After I had read a book I didn't like I would just put it back on my shelf. WHY? Because I couldn't bring myself to get rid of it. Then one day I said, well that's stupid. So I started doing a big un-haul once a year. Upon moving to NYC, I've done one un-haul and brought in more books in a very small amount of time. But I keep asking myself, why do I feel like I need to OWN all these books? And then I realize, I don't need to OWN all these books to actually READ all these books. Isn't the whole goal to read them anyways? I also realized there are a ton of ways to get books without spending money: The Library being one of the best. Both their physical and ebook selections. 
Rainbow Bookshelf - Not part of the declutter
Rainbow Bookshelf - Not part of the declutter

So over the last week I have started to declutter my book collection. Getting rid of books that I have completely lost interest in or books that did not bring me joy. I actually also got rid of some books that I read and liked but didn't feel like I wanted to keep. The books are all in bag and now I have to figure out a way to get them to Book-off where I can sell them or give them a chance to bring someone else joy. I've done two rounds and actually feel pretty good about it.

I am setting up some ground rules for myself moving forward or else I will just go back to my old habits of excessively buying books which hasn't ever helped my wallet. I would like to do a book buying ban but I'm really bad at those so I don't think I want to call it that. I just want to be a more mindful consumer when it comes to books. I don't spend a lot of money on other areas of my life but I'd like that mindful consuming to spill over into all the areas. Now that I've kept these books I have to give them a chance to prove to me why I deemed them worthy of keeping. I also think this will make me be more selective when buying. Quality over quantity!

Buying rules moving forward:

1. I can only buy ONE book at a time

2. If I decide to buy a book, that is the next book I'm reading

I'd like to reevaluate in another 3-6 months because if all the same books I decided to keep are still sitting on my shelf unread, then it might be time for them to go. Because the books aren't serving their purpose if they are just sitting on my shelf unread.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Book Review: Now That I've Found You

We all love a fall from grace story mixed with a little romance. And that is exactly what Now That I've Found You is all about. Set mainly in New York City, we follow young starlet Evie Jones as she goes to stay with her fabulous grandmother Gigi, classic movie star of the '60s, when she is fired from a big role after her best friend leaks a video of her mocking the director. But when Evie's grandmother decides to take a little break from life and disappears one day, Evie enlists the help of young musician, Milo, and embarks on an adventure to find her. 

The biggest theme that stuck out to me while reading this book was the idea of seeking approval and validation from all the wrong people. Evie is only 18 and she is in the midst of what we might call her "15 minutes of fame." We're in the age of social media and the constant need to stay relevant. Even I've fallen victim to feeling inadequate or feeling like my work is not good enough on bookstagram. But then you have to reel it back in and realize why you started doing any of this in the first place. Evie is constantly seeking that approval whether it be through social media, from her grandmother, from Hollywood, from her followers and fans, even from her parents. And ultimately she lets that dictate her self worth. At first I thought that Evie was just self-centered, if I'm being completely honest, but then I realized that this approval seeking could possibly stem from feelings of abandonment, which is one of the other themes that really started to stick out to me as I was reading. 

Trust and letting people in play a big role in this story. Evie's parents are famous documentary film makers so they are always away shooting something. Evie has one close friend who ultimately betrays her and then there is her famous grandmother who moved across the country to escape and deal with her own issues. Evie is very reluctant to let Milo in and I can see why. She can't really trust anyone in her life and almost has no one to really guide her. She feels like a disappointment to her parents so no wonder she seeks approval from her social media following and would do anything she can to fix up her image, even if that means working with someone her grandmother hates.

Lately, I've been reading books that really make me think about the idea of how much we really know our parents or grandparents. And in working to get to know them, we oftentimes get to know a little bit more about ourselves. Evie is physically searching for her grandmother, but doing so she must stop centering herself in order to understand why her grandmother leaves. And in doing that Evie discovers things about her own internal struggles with abandonment and self worth.