Last month, I went home for a brief vacation. I caught up with old friends, ran errands, refilled prescriptions, visited the dentist--and, as always when I am able to come home, I sorted through my books and got rid of a bunch.
I go through my belongings and purge on a fairly regular basis. At least once a year, I take out all the clothes I own and fill several department store bags' worth of clothes to give away. When I was still in school, I used to go through all my previous class notes annually, throwing away a little more each year until, now, all of my schoolwork from middle school fits comfortably in a 2-inch binder.
I may have once briefly considered keeping all books that passed through my hands ever: ARCs of books for which I own a finished copy, books that were pleasant enough during reading for me to want to hang on to them a little longer, and so on. But ever since I discovered the used bookstores near my house, started blogging, and ballooned my TBR pile from the single digits to the triple digits, I have been getting rid of as many books as I seem to acquire during my time away.
When I was home, I sorted through all the books that had arrived for me in the 8 months I had been gone, and the result looked like this:
Anyway, I was walking downstairs with armfuls of packages that I was going to take to the post office, when my mom passed me and stared at my cargo.
"You have soooo many books," my mom said. "I always see you carrying books around." It's true. I'm in a state of perpetual book-sorting. There may be a lot of stuff in my room, but I'm always moving stuff out of my room, out of the house. No one in my immediate family sort their belongings on as regular a basis as I do.
"Don't worry. These are going to the post office," I said in my usual half-bemused, half-defensive way. For, no matter how thoroughly I've admitted to myself that I am a complete and utter bookworm, seeing the astonishment--and, sometimes, judgment--in others' eyes still makes me raise my armor.
"Oh, great!" my mom replied. "You're keeping your life simple. That's really good."
It's sort of funny, her using that phrase--"keeping your life simple"--to describe what I do. It's not the way I would describe myself. But, the more I think about it, the more I can see that being me, of a sorts. At least materialistically. I think it's because I usually have so much going on in my head that, out of conservation of mental energy, I need to keep my physical and informational surroundings as organized and manageable as possible.
Over the course of this past week, whenever I found myself at the computer, wondering what I should do, I have been going through my Google Reader and cleaning out my feed subscriptions. I cleaned out over two-thirds worth of feed material. Over half of the blogs I had been subscribed had not been updated in over a year. That's ridiculous! I can't believe I left them in my Reader for so long. I cleaned out feeds that I generally skip over on the now-rare times I look through my Reader. I want a Reader where I'll read every post that comes up, you know? Quality. Information. Entertainment. Inspiration. All not tied down by half-mumbled promises of checking out each other's blogs we made in rushed moments at packed book events. I find temporary moments of tranquility when I get rid of clutter in my life. I rarely miss the things when they're gone.
How do you organize the "information" in your life?