[Downsizing Zeal] Books Left Unread

I’ll be returning a book today that I don’t have the patience to finish reading after donating a box almost full of books, and some CDs, that I also don’t have the patience to listen through once or once again. I write about events like this when they are sufficiently difficult for me to do. Taking out the trash is effortless because it’s trash, but many of these items I once considered almost as treasure.

If I had ten lifetimes dedicated to media meandries, I’d listen and read to almost everything.

Since I don’t have ten lifetimes, and at most I have two-thirds or more of one lifetime at least in this present body and in this present mind, I have to be more realistic with myself and my time than I had during the height of my cluttered hoarding mentality. My intentions were decent enough. I liked the idea of having a library of media. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s not like ownership of property is inherently sinful. If there is any sin within, it’s not curating one’s libraries of media – whether physical or digital.

Today is like saying goodbye to a boxful of distant acquaintances.

However, it’s more like saying goodbye to a box of books and CDs I didn’t appreciate nor feel that I will appreciate in the next few years and a book I got enough out of to appreciate but not love. I scanned the barcodes of the CDs to see if any were worth selling online, and these to be donated were not. I should scan the books… I’ll do that later. I’ve accepted that because of COVID-19, used music stores and bookstores are much less likely to want to buy new inventory. If they’re not closing up, they’re hurting for money, and their policies are still fair, but “we are no longer doing buys while you wait, so if you have USED collections to sell you need to put your product in a box with name, phone and email and we will call you after 72 hours.[1]”

That’s not a terrible policy but it means I have to be more intentional with my sales.

Say I were to make the half-hour drive up to a used music store to sell a dozen or even fifty CDs. I wouldn’t think so much in terms of covering the expenses of driving [the US IRS standard is 58¢ per mile driven for work, as of 2019, and has been around there for years] or wanting to make a profit. At this point, it would be nicer to get into the routine of curation, where I can begin a more honest relationship with my property. If I dislike looking at a stack of CDs, then I am beginning once again to look through them to see which ones evoke that displeasure – either because I don’t like them, I feel some sort of regret toward not meandering through them, or they represent what I once wanted from my physical collection that I no longer desire – and then being more decisive about parting ways with them.

Let’s say I donate something I later regret.

For these items, it’s not like I can never retrieve them again, which is something that the hoarding mentality will convince you otherwise. These are objects. I am not donating cherished objects or objects that represent key pieces of my childhood. And yet, when I donate things, it’s different for me than I imagine for others. Whenever I wait in line behind others that are dropping off donations, although I’ve never asked, I get the impression that for them it’s the same as throwing out garbage or recycling. When I worked at that thrift store, sometimes, people would try to pass off garbage as donations, either intentionally or accidentally. I had innocently accepted some rusted tools that the thrift store quickly reprimanded me for accepting, so I had to trash them after trying not to roll my eyes at the manager that told me I shouldn’t have accepted them for this and that reason.

Is it possible that some of those books could be life-changing?

Sure, however, whenever I would look at the spines of those books or consider them, they being mostly self-improvement books of some sort or another, I don’t feel interested enough to give them a try. If there is a sentence within one of those books that could fundamentally change my life in a positive way forever, it’s not like that information is locked away within that book. The sentence might be written by someone else in another book, I might overhear a lyric summarizing that sentence in a song on the radio or on another CD, or I might even imagine it myself through accident or happenstance.

Besides, I’d rather free up space around the apartment-mansion than keep it occupied.

I have about two months before my lease renewal arrives. I anticipate I’ll have to pay $840 per year for this place. There are more one-bedrooms than two-bedrooms available in my apartment complex, and I imagine that’s because people are moving out of their houses due to financial issues related to COVID, so my apartment could be more valuable than it was last year. I don’t believe I’ll be in the physical condition to move into a one-bedroom within that time period, even if I have three more months if I decide not to renew for another year, so I’ll have to try my best to make that happen by my next lease renewal.

I feel like I’d be more content with my living situation if I were more organized.

That feeling is stronger than anything I could get with any of those media that had cluttered up space around the apartment-mansion and my former residence for too long. My intentions were decent, if not pure, when I acquired them, but now it’s time for them to go.

If they go to good homes, then good, but if not, that’s too bad.

Quotes: [] [1] When I used to go to Everyday Music more often, once I dropped off a dozen CDs, and was told that was the ideal amount to bring in for a same-day “buy while you wait.” I received enough of a trade-in value to buy a CD I wanted for practically free, so it was a worthwhile venture, but other times, I’ve felt ridiculed for bringing in things. It probably was fair enough because my “trash” was also their “trash.” They probably couldn’t resell anything, so giving me a rock-bottom price was – in hindsight – more of a sympathy purchase than anything else.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: After donating that box of shirts I’ve written about in the past few essays, I felt motivated to start a new box, and after I donate this box, I’ll start another box. Also, the title vaguely reminds me of “words left unspoken,” which I probably misremembered from Linkin Park’s “Waiting For The End” which was “so many things were left unsaid.”
Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.
Photo: I didn’t want to identify the book or media, so here’s an abstract shot instead.
Written On: 2020 October 15 [9:54am to 10:25am]
Last Edited: 2020 October 15 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.