Book Organizing

Last week a winter storm kept me house bound, and it gave me the opportunity to re-organize my bookshelves.

The winterscape was lovely for a bit, until white-out conditions made my windows hard to see through.

So I started pulling out the books that graced my shelves, to give them a thorough dusting and get them realigned. My collection includes books about nature, a lot of historical and map-making books, biographies of strong women, art books, books for the spirit, including goddess and bellydance books. I also have books about language and writing, along with my own words in print.

With various reference books being used often, and others shipped to me, things get crowded and mis-aligned over time.

So I systematically cleared each shelf, dusted off the books, and considered which ones to give away.

While I love my silent companions, sometimes it is time to let go of the books that no longer get used.

My childhood authors still have a hold on me, and I do re-read their lovely tales on occasion. I have a shelf-full of cookbooks I hardly use, but gave them another year to gather dust. There is also a shelf of vintage books I cannot bring myself to tear up yet.

The bottom shelves hold binders with paperwork that I needed to sort through. The binders had not been updated since 2014.

So a shredding session ensued the next day as I reorganized papers and let go of what could be thrown out.

I have about 3 bags to donate to the library, but also still need to give these two bookshelves a whirl, which is a task for another week.

Space clearing feels good, and lifts up the energy of the home.

The snow is now melting, and chirping birds indicate Spring might return.

How do you re-align your home and your belongings?


So I started organizing my home in December, and it is taking much longer than anticipated.

“The ability to simplify means
to eliminate the unnecessary
so that the necessary may speak.”
Hans Hofmann 

This year the physical de-cluttering is also a very intense emotional and mental process. I wonder at the energetic pull of objects I no longer need or haven’t used in years, yet still have a hard time letting go of. I have bursts of resoluteness where I put a lot in the give-away pile, but then find myself needing a break away from that space to process whatever I just yanked out of myself, figuratively speaking.


Everybody on the (dance) floor!

I know part of it comes with the shifts in my thinking over the past year as it relates to other life events. Letting go of old mantras and conditioning that the Radvent process clued me into since 2011. There have been paradigm shifts with regard to aging (round birthday coming up), productivity, value (as an artist as well as from a material perspective), traditions, and my role in this world.

“Three Rules of Work:
Out of clutter find simplicity;
From discord find harmony;
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
Albert Einstein

In shedding those old ideas, there are symbols I’ve accumulated in my home that need to go as well. After de-cluttering my living room for Christmas decorations, I just went through the sofa table again, because things were piling on yet again.

un-piling the pile-on

My studio has me wondering whether I am hoarder or if I will really implement those projects that I have lovely materials for. Like the to-read-in-2013 (or dump it)-bookshelf, some of my drawers will get time stamps, and whatever hasn’t been touched in a year (or maybe two) will need to find its way to someone else’s studio. Quilters joke about UFOs-UnFinished Objects-and I think a lot of us creative people are guilty of that.

So many scraps, so many ideas!

I really want my home to serve me as my life is now. Not as an aspiration for what it might be someday. That’s been another big shift in my thoughts. What if ‘someday’ never happens?

“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness.
Just because they’re not on your road
doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”
~ H. Jackson Brown

What if this home is my final home, and my relationship status remains the way it is right now? (Thanks, Mayan calendar!) No someday cottage (in a fairy-tale forest with magical helpers shoveling snow and providing maintenance). What if this is it? Same home, same neighborhood, same car, same life. Do I have to strive for something ‘bigger’?

The shelves are feng shui’d 

There is still room for nostalgia. My ruthlessness does not extend to throwing out childhood books and comics. The photo-box I’ve been meaning to convert to scrapbooks for years will eventually become an actionable project.

“Do not spoil what you have
by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have
was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

But I am more conscious of whether other items reflect my values and lifestyle. I’m more aware of the energy I have in my sanctuary (which is what a home ultimately should be) and the energy I wish to exude on to the world.

Some boxes to tackle later

So as I process through all that, I’m extending the re-organizing project into February. My clothes will be a huge exercise in letting go of body aspirations, and there’s some real life to get back to prior to opening that can of worms.

“If you want to be happy, be.”
Leo Tolstoy

Soul-work cannot be checked off or catalogued the way a bookshelf or set of drawers can. The concept of Qi is certainly making itself known to me this month. Even though right now the process is difficult, the results will be worth it. Letting go is never easy, but unloading those bags of un-needed things to a charitable organization will feel very rewarding.


many bags full…

On that note, as I was having a bit of an existentialist crisis, Enlighten Up! did help me lighten up. We tend to put spiritualists on a pedestal for having figured out the ‘true meaning of life’ and this movie puts that in perspective quite well.


no regrets-or no rugrats?

What a wonderful life I’ve had!
I only wish I’d realized it sooner.

Radvent 2012 8: Expression

“See your surroundings as a channel for self-expression.
What can you do to love where you are?”
~ Princess Lasertron

I decided to weed out my book cases this week, and it has me on a mad organizing bender. Basically I’ll be pulling everything down on the floor and then re-arranging the books. Prior to this though, I need to declutter the dining table, and that is much more work.


So enter Princess Lasertron’s Radvent post on expression, in which she writes: “Think about the spaces where you spend the most time, and how you can make them more meaningful.”

I’ve decided that my dining room will now be dubbed the library, because I never dine in there. The table functions as a desk during freelance projects, and a paper-catcher for most of the year.  When I moved in I had visions of entertaining, but I’ve only hosted one party in 7 years, while out-of-town visitors want to see the city instead of staying in.

It’s an interesting shift to realize that I don’t have to host parties, nor insist on using the dining table to dine on. After spending time in the studio my creative juices are too sapped to cook a meal, so I tend to whip up something easy or grab a pre-cooked meal out of the freezer. These are consumed in the living room, which is relaxing after sitting at the studio table most of the afternoon. For a nice meal I tend to make an occasion of it and have a restaurant cook for me.

So I look forward to thinking about the flow of the room in terms of a true library, where I keep my favorite books and also have a good system in place to keep the paper accumulation at bay. With pillows the radiator cover could serve as a cozy reading nook.


Un-used books will be donated to a local resale shop, where they can inspire others. A few titles I feel I should read will go on a designated 2013 shelf. If after all these years I still haven’t touched them in 2013, they’ll become part of the 2014 donation pile.

While I enjoy being a bibliophile and there are some books I’m genuinely attached to, the public library is a fabulous place to check things out from and not bring more things into one’s space. Fascinating passages get recorded in my quote book, and if I find myself jotting down a lot I put the book on my wishlist for later. Borrowing books can also be a lovely bonding experience. One friendship is bound by the love of Anne of Green Gables, whom we quote to each other to this day.

My place will never be truly streamlined (I know myself well enough by now) but I do enjoy taking cues from “Move your stuff, change your life” on occasion.

“Try using a different space in your house for a few days
and see what feelings come to you.
Even just a photo or a candle can help make you feel more grounded,
connected, and grateful for what you have.”
~ Princess Lasertron