Posted by: livesimply2livewell | September 3, 2009

What is this thing called “simplicity”?

Simplicity.  I am working toward it, but right now my life does not feel so simple.

It’s getting there.

I’ve been cleaning and organizing my home and home-based business for the past two weeks.  

Deep cleaning, the kind that starts with the under-eaves storeroom (chockablock full, preventing other things from being put there) and works downward and outward.

Arranging by numbered boxes corresponding to inventory SKUs makes it easy to locate a sold book.

Arranging by numbered boxes corresponding to inventory SKUs makes it easy to locate a sold book.

This sort of endeavor creates more chaos as it proceeds.  Things come downstairs, but then other things have to go upstairs to be stored when room comes available.  Down and up.  Up and down.  All day long.

There was a point about 10 days ago when I was ready to lock the door, change my identity, and move to another place entirely to start fresh – as opposed to wake one more morning to disorder and piles of stuff.

My main challenge consisted of about 4,000 books. 

I sell books online at www.catscradlebks.net .  Over the decade I’ve been in this business, I’ve gotten better at what I do, and I’ve moved from selling almost any book that might bring a few cents’ net profit to adding inventory only if it will bring a selling price of $20 or more. 

These 4,000 books were the cheaper stuff.   Most of them I got for almost nothing in one fell swoop as leftovers from a charity sale in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I rented a panel van, drove the three-plus hours up there, and hauled thousands of books home.  I’ve recouped my investment and then some, but the leftovers – these 4,000 books that might sell for $5-15 – remained in boxes upstairs in a storeroom off my daughter’s old bedroom.  Which, by the way, was also stuffed with boxes of books I hauled home from my office when I quit university teaching last summer. 

The situation was dire.  I had not been able to put away the Christmas decorations last winter, so there they sat on daughter’s old bed.  And it got worse from there. 

Ridiculous to claim a simple life when this was going on in my own home.  Action was needed.

So I found a taker for the books, hauled them downstairs and out onto the porch, and got rid of them.  100 boxes of books. 

Putting my home office in order gave me the room to organize a "fitness center"!

Putting my home office in order gave me the room to organize a "fitness center"!

Literally, a weight was lifted from my life!

And I developed upper body strength that wasn’t there before.

I’ve spent this week in the aftermath, putting things in order – using the storeroom for actually storing things that are useful or meaningful (like the Christmas decorations).  Reclaiming daughter’s room as a spare bedroom.  Cleaning and organizing my workspace. 

I’m not done yet, but I’m getting there.  Today I am hauling another 500 books to the library to donate them.  Tomorrow I start working on the deck, where some of the indoor stuff is sitting waiting for a decision (keep or throw?), and the yard and garden are begging for attention. 

I’ve found some surprises, and there are questions to be answered about the remaining stuff.  Do I really need four black carry-on suitcases on wheels?  Why do I have so many of them in the first place?  I, who spent 10 days on the road this summer carrying only a backpack and a shoulderbag?  Will I ever use the insulated picnic bag, complete with dishes and tableware, that I got as a grocery store bonus?  And so on.   

For packing and shipping books, having everything in its place and easy to access is important.  I like having natural light, too, while I work.

For packing and shipping books, having everything in its place and easy to access is important. I like having natural light, too, while I work.

Nevertheless.  My life is simpler than it was two weeks ago. 

It’s a lighter life, and I feel a little bit more in command of it than I did with the weight of 4,000 unwanted books on my upstairs floor joists.

I am not finished with this awkward journey toward simplicity, but I feel as though I am on the way. 

Having less makes me feel as though, somehow, I have more.

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