SCRAP Step 25 – Books

The Japanese method of de-cluttering suggests you start with books.    I didn’t do that because I have so many books and such a strong attachment to them, that it would have been too difficult.     Add to this, that my wife used to read two or three books a week.    Thank goodness  I bought her a Kindle a few years ago.  It saved us from having to have an extension on the end of the house 😀

Still we do have a lot of books scattered all around the house.  The study was filled up years ago with all my books :-

  • Gardening Books for every season and every plant.   Books by famous gardeners and about famous gardens.     Horticultural books which offer a wealth of advice, but no way of controlling the weather.    I have tried to learn from all of these in my small cottage garden.    Now I can de-clutter at least half of these books by passing them on to the village gardening association.
  • Then we have a host of art books that I have purchased at galleries and exhibitions I have visited in the UK and around the world.   Lots of happy memories there.   I could send some of them to my artist son in the hope that they might lead him to greater things.
  • Next, we have travel guides and maps from everywhere we have visited.    I love maps I can sit and study an OS map for ages.    I doubt we will go to all those places again, there are still too many places we haven’t seen.    So it is time to pass them on too.
  • Oh and how can I forget my architecture books.   I still have a great many, even after I let go of my  books on really interesting subjects like drainage and manholes a few years ago, when the bookshelf fell down 😢
  • Then my next career led me to buy a lot of management books.

There must be a better idea for what to do with all my spare books :-).   Any inspiring ideas ?

There will be a copy of Walt Hopkins and George Simons’ book — “Seven Ways to Lighten Your Life Before You Kick the Bucket” — for the best ideas on de-cluttering.




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4 Responses to SCRAP Step 25 – Books

  1. davidwfreeman237 says:

    Dear John, Molly and I have just enjoyed the delights of the Moorcroft Pottery, and the surrounds of Stoke On Trent. WE were thoroughly in admiration of the ceramic skills of Stoke on Trent.
    On the way home we went via Burton on Trent, and Derby to visit the National Trust Property and estate ‘Caulk Abbey’.
    Here I was entranced with the state of neglect, of the large Palladian house, a number of floors, a vast number of cellars, rooms, (entertaining, family and staff). Towards the latter days of the family 1980’sthe family lived only in 4/5 rooms on the ground floor, all of modest proportions.
    The remainder of the house on all floors, wings were shut up, doors closed, and all internal fittings, artefacts, games, stuffed birds, books (Two Libraries), and furniture remained as abandoned in the 1920’s, and earlier.
    The family made their existence through intermarriage and land ownership, and the latest record of grandeur was the early 1900’s was a photo of the staff then to run and manage the house alone, some 25/30 persons- servants (excluding the land management- which was done by tenant farm managers and farmers. The family in the 19 century were only exceeded in acreage by the Duke of Devonshire’s, holdings.
    I mention this National Trust property as the Trust are excited by its decadence, and its absolute collection of pure clutter, which all though in a haphazard fashion is catalogued, by all the household generations, who have been domiciled within the house, and estate, through the centuries.
    John you could close down your abode room, by room, and maintain the clutter and memories? Or you could be the man you are and ruthless with the ephemera.
    The nation caught up with the family of ‘Caulk Abbey’, by the route of death duties and HMRC, and The National Trust were the ‘Auntie’ or vehicle that bought the estate for the nation: So John with respect I challenge you to either declutter, or abandon your abode room, by room, and leave the artifacts, what ever they are within the ‘closed/abandoned rooms.’
    p.s. the modern family of the descendants of ‘Caulk Abbey’ still visit the house and estate, but the national Trust house them in an estate cottage remote from the house: to you John a shed in the garden???

    • john graham says:

      Calke Abbey was built around 1700, our more modest house is nearly 200 years older. That’s probably why we have more clutter 😀
      I am still looking for a few long lost treasures — an undescovered Rubens family portrait or perhaps a silver hoard under the floor, but so far I have just found old socks!

      • davidwfreeman237 says:

        dear John you and Mo are the treasure, the old socks, and that smell? is the compost/manure heap in the garden, waiting for that spring time ‘muck spreading on the veg and flower patches in the garden. The old socks well I suppose you couds use those to force rhubarb, or protect some delicate flower? from the late spring frosts.

  2. davidwfreeman237 says:

    John in my wildest dreams, you have been promoted/demoted, a rag and bone man, a counisuer of all things wonderful and weird, during your de-cluttering phase, an eccentric, and maybe a ‘rip van winkle’ who has slept for 40 years?, or just developing into, a plain old recluse! with no one on hand to be concerned for their welfare?
    Back to the books, as with ‘Caulk Abbey’ one could donate the more rarer tomes: Upon invitation, and that illusive fly-page signature to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
    Or one could just meander in ones minds eye and to those trusted travel books [wind in the willows-arabian nights-railway time tables- or if you have originals the travel books of ‘COOKs’ in the UK and Europe (orient express?) or as that ex MP is doing at the moment travelling with his ‘american guide railway book on the trains within the USA on TV] it is all to play for, and while browsing through these memories, add the art and school boy delights of stamp collecting, or to you John now of an older generation philately, putting the stamps [sticking them with stamp hinges] from your previous letter and cards de-cluttering on the appropriate pages of the above travel books to be condemned to the litter bin, with yet another set of wonderful memories, of life’s rich pattern! Sacrilege i hear one shout? but again it is all in the mind! Memories make sense of one way through life, they may be muddled, and confusing; however they are all personal to one, are they not?
    Off course you could become that American book; the man who lived on the hill, or was it a song?, charge 50p [opening the house as a national trust treasure], for us all to gorp and wonder, what did you do with your life, or as one as a youngster would ask”what did you do in the war (attacking life so vigorously) ‘Daddy’? I leave you to ponder! Good Luck!

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