Friday, 18 April 2014

If you love something, let it go... (Or The Road to Simplicity - Losingthe Books Part 2)

In The Road to Simplicity - losing the books? I talked about how I am definitely for a more minimalist lifestyle, as long as I don't have to get rid of all my books.

It has been my big sticking point, my one difficulty in decluttering. I have got rid of most of the clothes I have not worn in a year, I have donated all of my unused shoes without batting an eyelid. I am happy to throw away unused cosmetics, donate old magazines, give away my old electronics, phones etc. But mention the books and a chill runs down my spine. Not the books!

This is only compounded by the fact that Greece does not have charity shops (why not, I am not sure, but I think it is to do with legal issues). In London, shortly before we moved to Greece and in an effort to pare down our belongings to a manageable two cubic metres I packed a bag full of books and I cheerily took it down to the nearest Oxfam. I was not happy to part with them, I wouldn't got quite that far, but I was serene in the knowledge that somebody would benefit from this book. The charity shop will make some money, that goes towards good causes, and the book will find a new home, where it will be read and enjoyed. What better ending would there be?

I have been looking at the books, trying to work out what I could part with the first. Which one will be the first to go? I have started giving some away, to friends I know will appreciate them. That has been easier than I thought, but totally inadequate in terms of numbers of books I have got rid of. If I am honest, the seven books I have given away, have not really made much of a dent in our four, double-lined bookcases. 

And then, while reading ΣΧΕΔΙΑ, the Greek equivalent of the Big Issue I came across an article that was written just for me! (Ok, not just for me, for me and the thousands of people who are already part of this community.) The answer to all my troubles (at least my book-related ones) is bookcrossing. 

Bookcrossing is amazing in its simplicity: you take one of your books, you get a unique ID number from the site, and you release it "into the wild". That's it. Now your book can be tracked as it travels the world, read and appreciated by tens or hundreds of people. People can journal about your book, recommend it, set it free again. It's a kind of World Library. 

I love the idea and working on the practical side of it. Living where we do it might be difficult to release English language books and have the captured, so the plan is I will tag them and start releasing them when I go into the centre of town. Or maybe on the airport metro. I am hatching a plan. Maybe the classics should go first...

I am preparing (psychologically) to let them go... Even though I love the dearly. 

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