It doesn’t take much to put us on the road to having a growing pile of new stuff collecting dust in our homes. A person might think, “Oh its just a few…one small bag.” So the books go on the shelf. And I wonder if we ask ourselves how long it will take to read them.
When I was a kid in California, I had a friend, Dr. Bob Perry, who started teaching me about spirituality and whom I consider my spiritual father. Dr. Perry was one of my neighbors in the apartment complex we lived in. We’d have talks and one time there were a couple of books on the table across from him. I looked at them and he said, “I’ve bought several books in the past few days. They seemed like good selections for my library, but I haven’t had time to start reading them.” That statement put the seed in my thoughts about having a library and as the unconscious buying started and got worse, I started to have books shelved and then others lying on top in the space below the upper shelf. I’d look at them from time to time and think, I need to get to those.
There were four bookcases in my living room and two in my bedroom. I’ve recently removed two. I reorganized and reshelved maybe a third of the ones from those shelves to the two remaining and took six file boxes to Half Price Books along with some CDs, DVDs and really old vinyl. It is still going to take a long time to read everything that’s left.
While I was at Half Price, I saw new books that looked interesting. While I felt an urge to buy, I left them there because l have to finish reading a few others before I get anything new. And I was in the store selling books that I had never gotten around to reading. I’m going to apply a five-one rule. I’m not going to bring in a new book until I have read and recycled five. Since I have to keep the two remaining bookcases in the living room, I’m going to use those as overflow as I reduce the population further, to the two bookcases in my room.
There is no difference between an unread book or a Hummel as far as its dust collecting ability is concerned. If I’m not reading it, it serves no purpose. My friend Roy Blizzard said recently, “The time we spend dealing with stuff we’re not using is wasted money and life.”