Leo Babauta says:
For each item in your house, ask yourself, “Do you love it? Do you use it?” If the answer is no, then why do you still have it? Really delve into that “why” for each item. Are you keeping it “just in case?” Are you putting emotions into that item? What does that item represent for you? Why? Why? Why?In his book Clutterfree and in his on-going blog, Zen Habits, Leo talks about the rewards of becoming clutterfree, both in one's possessions and in one's daily life. I have read through his book, The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential, in Business and in Life several times over the past two years and it is beginning to sink in.
Now that I have been clearing out the house in preparation for travel and relocation to a smaller place, I have committed to applying the quote above. To date, the books have been the most challenging. Five years ago in the last move, I culled many, many books, things like college textbooks and novels I would never reread. This time it was more difficult, as I felt every book had to find the right 'home.' Some were suited for donations to the public library, some to the local used bookstore, others to the Goodwill bookstore. A selected few were boxed up and sent to friends who could use the books as references in their work.
The books I wanted to keep fell into three loose categories: Zen, travel and entrepreneurship (with a sub heading of building community). I also couldn't part with the Puerto Rican memoirs since the trip home remains on my to do list.
Then there were the books I wanted to sit down and reread right away. Instead, I allowed myself a brief time to browse through a few paragraphs, then closed the cover with the conviction that this book needed to be close by for immediate future reference. Slowly, a pile of books manifested on the floor beside my bed.
Full disclosure, those books are still there and will remain until the moving begins. Then, I will decide which will be traveling with me and which will find a home in a box labeled important books and placed with care in the front of the storage space.