Books and clothes. I often joke that I could almost be capable of becoming a minimalist, if it weren't for all the books. I love my bookshelves. I find the presence of all those words, written by some of the people I admire most in the world, extremely comforting and inspiring. I also have a very hard time walking into a bookstore and leaving empty handed. Needless to say, working at a bookstore has just thrown fuel on the fire.
I know too that I don't like being surrounded by books I know I'm never going to read. Or books I have read but only remain in my memory because they're sitting on my shelf. In an uncharacteristic turn of events, I was actually excited to get rid of books.
|A cute outfit and some current reads|
Recently I've found myself at an interesting cross roads with my wardrobe. A lot of the things I wear are perfectly acceptable for a college student (and frankly, above the "t-shirt and sweatpants" standard of most college students), but not quite for a young-adult woman with a big-girl job. While the bookstore is pretty lax in its dress-code, the things I'd wear in the summertime in my home just don't quite cut it. It seems obvious to me now that as your life changes, you clothes might have to also, but seeing items that I used to wear constantly relegated to "weekends only" was a little disconcerting.
That's not to say that I thew out all of my summertime clothes (you can't live in Houston without a great pair of shorts and a breezy tank top). It's not even that my dividing line was really "work appropriate" vs "not work appropriate" because a lot of the things I own could go either way. Cleaning out my closet made me realize that maybe I'm growing out of my wardrobe. A lot of my "summer" clothes feel like high school me, and a lot of my "work" clothes feel only tangentially like something an adult would wear. I'm in this weird in-between phase where I don't want to dress like an old lady but I also want to look a little more put-together than my high school self. And if my style isn't "college girl chic" anymore, then what is my style?
Am I overthinking this? Probably.
Am I strangely fascinated by it? Absolutely.
So what did I do when faced with the task of cleaning out both my closet and bookshelves? I went with my gut, and I'm pretty happy with the results.
The books were easier than I thought they'd be. I gave myself room to let go of books I'd once wanted to read but not longer had any desire to. I gave away books I'd read but hadn't loved, or that I knew I'd never want to re-visit. I did a slight re-organization of my shelves so that now I have one full shelf and two half-full bookshelves with room to grow. (As they inevitably will ;) The one nearest to my bed only has books I'm most excited to read right now. If that changes before I get to them, they either get donated or put on another shelf until I feel like reading them again. With so many new books coming into my life, I either have to read faster, be vigilant about culling, or both. Preferably both.
[Side note for people who care about what I'm reading right now (pictured above): Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, Too Much and Not in the Mood by Durga Chew Bose, and Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. Annihilation is currently at the top of the list because I'm planning to go see the movie this weekend and what if I actually read the book before the movie! That never happens! Wish me luck :)]
Anyway, what I'm trying to say with all of this rambling is that cleaning out my bookshelves felt really good. I'm now surrounded only by books I love and that I'm pumped to read. Strangely enough, cleaning out my bookshelves felt a little bit like de-cluttering my brain. Now, when I look at each book on my shelf it sparks something: whether that's an idea I had while reading it, or simply excitement to pick it up.
As for the clothes, I think I did well pretty well. I got rid of the things I never wear, kept a few things for sentimental value, and even though I know my wardrobe won't change overnight, it's heading in the right direction. Right now I'm in the "meh" phase when it comes to clothing but I know when the pendulum swings back towards "obsessed" I'll be ready to tackle all of my wishy-washy feelings about clothing and growing up and what I want my wardrobe to say about who I am. I also think it's important to note that I don't hate all of my clothes. In fact, I like most of them. But I'm looking forward to seeing them evolve and change with me.
Some people might think it's silly to put so much thought into inanimate objects, but I would argue that books are anything but inanimate because they engage our minds so fully, and that clothes serve a similar function because they are an active form of self expression -- they literally move with us. I don't know where any of these thoughts will take me. If they don't go any further than "thoughts I had while cleaning out my room," so be it. But something tells me there's more to it than that. And I'm going to follow it wherever it leads.