[Downsizing Zeal] Books Shouldn’t Rot

Before meeting the donation handler, a maskless gymrat wearing a N.W.A. hoodie, at a donation trailer before going to my next errand, I thought maybe I’ll donate a few things, before deciding I’ll donate the whole box that’s been sitting in my trunk waiting for “the right home.” Some books and some DVDs. These objects shouldn’t rot waiting to be meandered through. If we don’t plan on using them, give them to others to reuse.

The “books not rotting” idea came to mind when I removed a book from this shelf.

Although inches away from a kitchen sink is not the ideal spot to store books, it works well, since I see them often. As I’ve shifted my entertainment media meandry priorities away from pure digital media like videos and videogames to reading, I’ve been finding myself more interested in clearing out books from my “Betterread” lists. This happens indirectly by donating books I know I won’t read, and, reading the ones I do. I wanted to read “What Lured Hemingway to Ketchum” by Hunter S. Thompson, which I couldn’t easily find online, but I found in my copy of The Great Shark Hunt.

This is what materialism should be for – using the item for something.

I don’t like writing about the things I donate as groups. Individually, I may write about an object before I donate it as a way of saying goodbye to it, but, how do you say goodbye to a box of DVDs you put away 6+ months ago that you have no interest in watching or even trying to sell? It could be wasted potential, sure, but I’m sinking money each month into a spare bedroom full of things I’m not using. I think it’s OK to waste potentially a $5 sale with $10+ worth of effort in time, gas, and waiting for the peace of mind of continuing the process of clearing out the apartment-mansion.

I worried and worry, often, about where these objects will go.

The ideal place for unwanted books might be in any of the many free book stands that pop up in residential areas as a sort of community appreciation thing. Those books would benefit my local community over a non-profit or for-profit thrift store. If I truly wanted my unwanted items to go to “good homes,” I would spend hours researching potential locations, drive around trying to find them, and then put them in these stands for others to have… but what would they do with them? Then it clicked: whatever they do with these items is probably better than what I’ve done with them. They’ve been wasted potential. Unlike that Thompson book I read two essays from, the books I donated were ones that I either read and were bored by, never read as my interests shifted, or, would just be a waste of time for me to attempt.

I’ll continue needing to make hard decisions like this.

After my chiropractic appointment, buying groceries, bringing them home, and cooking lunch, I used all of the grocery bags to bag up old clothes that I’ll never wear to donate. This process wiped me out, but I have enough filled bags to make a good thrift store drop-off. Perhaps I’ll donate these clothes to the same dude from today who didn’t spare a single word to me through his chiseled chin, a jawline so toned that he probably thought he didn’t need a mask and maybe didn’t? Or maybe there will be a different donation handler that, in a rare feeling of jealousy, has the luxury of a well-organized trailer. When I handled donations at some thrift store many years ago, trailers would be trashed. Clothes dirtied from the grime of other donations, rotten books, with floors that were always littered with baseball cards.

Maybe those memories are why I’ve been trepidatious about donations?

The thing is, though, that almost all the objects I’ve donated and will donate still are objects that have rotted in real life along with locations in my brain. The air in the storage room, or the second bedroom of the apartment-mansion, gets stale when I don’t go in there for weeks at a time. It’s easy not going in there, too, mainly because it’s been impossible for me to do much of anything, but also, too, because it’s been impossible for me to let go of the objects that I kept after I moved. If I intended to stay in this apartment for the rest of my life, then, sure, it would be fine where most of the objects are, but, there’s more to life than just being surrounded by the rot of old intentions.

I can do what I can to move out the things I know I’ll never use again.

I can bring a bag or more each time I go to my car, and when that part of the trunk gets full, I can go to a donation drop-off. Donation handlers can retrieve objects like that. I did my time doing that. I know it sucks, but, it’s part of the job. For gymrats, it’s a good excuse to workout on-the-clock, and for the rest of the donation handlers, most never stick around long enough to get burn-out, so it’s fine. I like to think of it like this: If you’re renting an apartment, you have your move-in and your move-out date – which can be deferred as long as you tolerate your rent and neighbors, but when you’re settled in, you can start your process of moving out slowly, de-accumulating just as you might accumulate.

When I buy objects I think I need but don’t, I should stop hanging onto them.

Books don’t rot like food, and I wouldn’t say they should, but when I think of my clutter, much of it has rotten. It’s easy to un-rot books, but it’s impossible to fully remove the rot from foods.

With that in mind, I’m doing near-daily downsizing practices and weekly progress essays until I’ve moved.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Doing these writings is a good way to keep me productive while I try to wrap up this project, which has the goal of going through all of my property to see what I want to keep versus sell/donate to then move into a smaller apartment. I have less than a year to make that happen. If not, I can stay here another year, but that’s another year of wasted space, time, and money.
Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.
Photo: These are the books I have up “next” to read.
Written On: 2021 May 17 [11:14pm to 11:50pm]
Last Edited: 2021 May 17 [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.