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“One in, one out.” – Helen Volk (local author of several books & pamphlets on de-cluttering and organizing)

Well, that’s the theory, so I’m told. I try to apply this to books. I mentioned that I love being surrounded by books but when the stack on the floor becomes three feet high (no joking!) and one stack becomes three (serious!) then it’s time to take action. Maybe I should have a contest and the winner(s) get a surprise gift pack of books? An easy contest!

A friend came by for lunch this week and brought me a book. I have been trying to de-clutter my house and she knows this. When she came into the apartment she said, “I know you’re trying to simplify, but I thought you might like this book I found.” I could barely make it out from my vantage point in the kitchen, but it looked like an enormous, old bible. Great! Just because I like spiritual readiing doesn’t mean I need another musty, old copy of the Bible. I smiled politely. She explained why she had this book and then showed me the cover.

Larousse Gastronomique. My knees buckled. I can’t resist a book about cooking, no matter how musty it is. The Larousse Gastronomique: The encyclopedia of Food, Wine & Cookery is a large tome that includes definitions, descriptions and even recipes. And it’s quite an expensive book. I could never justify buying it. This edition was printed in 1966. I completely abandoned all my organizational values and happily accepted the book. And the minute lunch was over and my friend left I curled up on the couch and began to read. I found a recipe for brioche that included the etymology of the word! (Heaven!) I came upon a description of French cheeses with color photos. (Drool!) THIS is food porn!

You see how hopeless I am?! Now, what has to go? This book is over 1,000 pages. Do I make the exhange by size or weight or page count? Do I let go of three smaller books? Or is the rule a simple “one book in, one book out?” Not exactly the horns of a dilemma but a reminder that I can’t let my book collection get out of control. I could easily become a little old man whose home is stacked high with books allowing only a narrow passage way to the kitchen and the bathroom. Fear not, it’s not that bad yet. But something has to go. My eyes keep looking over to the stack in the corner. I’m thinking gift wrapping and holidays. St. Nicholas might leave some goodies in the shoes of the Osgood neighbors this year!

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