Monday, August 08, 2005

Fiction Chapter Book Sort Finished and Other Decluttering Accomplished

Phew. Sorting and reorganizing the fiction chapter books was a bigger job than I thought it would be. I began sorting the fiction chapter books which were stored in my older son’s closet yesterday. The job ended up taking longer than I realized, and I finished it today.

I realized that when I had packed the boxes, I had not done a very good job. Some of the boxes had books which were stacked spine-out, for ease of locating a book. Those buckled under the weight of the boxes which were stacked on top of them. In order to not ruin the books, they need to be stacked flat. All the books in the box should be the same height, or else the box will buckle on one side.

I thought my main job was going to be restacking the books. But as I started restacking, I suddenly was seeing duplicates, or so I thought. I ended up having to take all the books out and as I began stacking them, I would find duplicates. Actually there were a couple of books which I had three copies of, and I had four copies of one book. Yikes. The only thing I can say in my defense is that this was unintentional!

I have over 3000 books listed in an Excel computer program file. I went to the computer and printed off the books that I had listed as chapter books, fiction. I then noted on the list, which I was going to get rid of, due to it being a duplicate. I also compared the two copies to see which was in better condition (the keeper). Some of my duplicates were not on the list, so I had to make a list of those. You see, I have some books listed on paper that I have been trying to input into the computer. I thought that if I didn’t note which copy I got rid of, that in the future I may have two books on the list and think I still own two, when in reality I had gotten rid of the duplicate copy.

I have almost two full boxes of duplicates that I now will resell, with the goal of breaking-even. I am not a book dealer for profit! I have decided that there is a lot of hard work and not much money to be made in being a seller of used books. I am sure there are techniques and tricks, but I am not interested in learning them, nor do I want to make time to go book hunting for the money-makers, then trying to resell them. I just don’t have the time, energy, or desire to get into that type of endeavor.

I also found a box of board books which I had put into storage about a year ago. I remember that when I put them away, I had gotten rid of a bunch but saved the favorites. Today I went through this box and got rid of about 40% of what was there. I saved only my children’s most favorite books, and those which held many sentimental memories for me.

The Hardy Boys books didn’t fit on my son’s shelf so I put them away for now. I decided that there are lots of Bobbsey Twins, Happy Hollister, and Boxcar Children books to read. That will keep him busy for quite some time.

I have two boxes of historical fiction separated from the regular fiction. Back into the closet it went.

I have nearly two full boxes of books which I thought were age-appropriate for my children, to hear read aloud this year. Back into the closet it went.

I made a mental note to myself to start reading picture books aloud daily, and if we don’t love-love-love the book, to get rid of it (reselling or bringing to the used book store for credit).

I went to put all of our Thornton Burgess books on one shelf in my other son’s closet. To clear the shelf, I selected non-favorite children’s picture books to resell or give away. I made a promise to myself to read the Burgess books to my children this year.

While looking at my son’s closet shelves, I felt proud of my children’s ability to keep the games and puzzles put away and shelved. However, the shelves were overflowing. So I sorted through them and picked out the games for toddlers and preschoolers that I felt my children had outgrown or didn’t like enough to use. I will either resell these or give them away to friends, relatives, or to a charity.

Then I decided to take a break and take a shower. While in the bathroom, I noticed the bin of children’s bath toys in my bathtub. Looking at them, I realized that they only use about 25% of the toys. So I gathered up the toys they have outgrown and will give those away to my nephews. That little decluttering job took just a few minutes. Hooray.

As I walked through the house I gathered up various books of mine that were laying around on tabletops. I put them away where they belonged, and quickly scanned the shelves and picked out some books to resell or to bring to the used book store for credit.

I learned a huge lesson. I really need to tighten my book inventory system to try to prevent buying duplicates. I am making a vow to spend time daily inputting the paper lists of books into my computer. I am going to abstain from library sales until I get the book lists under control. Erroneously buying the duplicates, sorting them, sand dealing with them is a waste of time, money and energy.

It was easy to do the little decluttering tasks in between the book sorting. Perhaps the best time to declutter is not when we are feeling we are living in a “lacking” state, but when we feel we have all we need, or when we feel we have too much.

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