02 June 2024

Three Skips

I started accruing my book collection in my late teens.  Not too many early on, since I moved house a lot.  A couple of shelves of books.  Then a full bookshelf, multiple bookshelves, double-stacked bookshelves.

Since I moved house every couple of years, this made for a major undertaking in moving, so finally reaching the financial point of being able to put a deposit on a house (and starting the decades-long process of actually buying it) meant I no longer had that regular struggle to get all the books wherever.

Ironically, once I settled in for what turned out to be a sixteen-year stay, I switched to audio and ebooks and hardly bought any new physical books at all.  This precious hoard became decoration and dust-collectors, and when it came time to move once more, I bit the bullet and gave away all the books.

Well, I kept Diana Wynne Jones, Calvin & Hobbs and Ruth Manning Sanders.  And my own books, of course.  One bookcase worth of books.

Since I've moved into a place that was fully furnished already, I had to do some severe downsizing.  Donated clothes to the clothes charities, towels to the RSPCA, and the contents of my kitchen to a lady who had just separated from her husband and had literally nothing but her kids and a car that would not fit all the things she'd like to take away.

Furniture seems very difficult to sell these days, even at nominal prices.  I gave away most of it, and the rest went out onto the curb, for the opportunistic passerby, or the couch-munching crusher truck booked with the local council.

Everything else went into three skip bins, in a neat illustration of how much junk you can accumulate in sixteen years, or how something quite useful becomes junk when you have nowhere to put it, and no more time to get it into the hands of those who would be glad to have it.

I'm still a little confused about the furniture.  Last time I had a garage sale, the furniture went first, to professional resellers.  Now, it seems no-one wants it.

Anyway, this took up all of my head space, especially since I was also arranging for a cat enclosure and dividing door to be built at my new place (to separate my cats from the resident dogs, and all the local birds).  I'm somewhat more rural now (outskirts of Sydney rather than in the Bankstown area), and have a slightly longer commute in which to do some quality writing.

I haven't written a word for nearly a month.

This is pretty amazing for me, since writing is what I do for enjoyment, and I like the stories I'm working on, but moving stress ate up all my mental energy.

I'm looking forward to getting back into it.  Last time I worked on Tangleways, I'd just put Eluned into the infirmary. :D


  1. That is so fascinating to read. I thought I was the only one who couldn't find the time, energy or headspace to get rid of the stuff that has become detritus. I'm glad to hear you were able to at least not have the books land in the skip; I haven't managed that. On the other hand it feels like a weight off my back whenever I manage to organise a purge in summer, I've done it twice so far. My brother and I have to dissolve my parents' household currently and it really makes me aware of how little some things will mean to whoever has to deal with it eventually. The few bits we wanted for the memories we took and a lot we were able to give to cousins who associate only joy with the household. Hope you will have a good stay at your new place and find lots of health and good headspace for whatever you want to do ^^

  2. I recognise your situation with owning -and then culling over successive relocations - bookshelves of books. The effort and financial cost of moving interstate and internationally multiple times has toughened my book culling sensibility...or maybe not....because in the past decade I've moved almost completely to buying ebooks, so I don't cull anymore. The vague idea of an EMP-world war motivated me to buy physical copies of the Touchstone and Medair series, but TBH I only re-re-read the ebook versions.

    I think a lot about Cass's ordeal on Muina before she was picked up by KOTIS. If I were caught out like Cass was, with no warning, how would I fare? How situationally resilient are the outfits in my wardrobe? (My policy when buying clothes is to evaluate whether I'd be happy with my outfit if Dr Who were to pop out, grab my hand, and say "run.") Similarly, If I were to do a survey of the stuff I usually carry in my bag when I leave my house, would I be any better off than Cass was with her school bag when she found herself in the bush? [ BTW I *love* the "pencil case of doom" and now refer to my daypack's utility-pocket-of-doom]. Owning and carrying just-in-case stuff is convenient but also burdensome. Pinterest's fashion boards are full of pins about choosing a capsule wardrobe, but how would you go about selecting a capsule bookcase or a capsule utility pocket of doom?

    Isn't a break from writing also a bit of a mental holiday? Doesn't it provide time and opportunities for experiences and mental meandering that, in turn, allow new/creative bubbles to come to the surface of your thoughts? Do novel-sized writing projects energise you or does it become a chore?

    1. I used to have a giant pencil case, but perhaps not so impressive as Cass'. My evaluation of clothing tends to start with pockets. :D

    2. Novel-sized writing projects are generally enjoyable for me, though having readers does make me feel I shouldn't faff around as much as I usually do. [Not that I actually faff around less.]

  3. Glad you are back to writing-waiting for your books🤗furniture is cheaper than it used to be so no one wants second hand

  4. When I was younger, cause I roomed with one of my siblings always and prioritized ensuring their stuff was kept (I could go to the library and borrow books, there is no toy lending place) I kept only the books they enjoyed me reading to them. As one can expect that meant only children titles. It was hard to keep up with authors or series this way, but there was always someone new to read after all.

    After I moved in with my dad for college and beyond I went a little crazy. Every used bookstore I'd walk out with bags of backlist books. Goodwill I'd organize as I dived into the stacks. Seasonal Charity book sales I'd walk out with boxes on box day. i had my own room, I could have bookcases these books were MINE. I read everything I got, but when I moved out with a friend, I couldn't take them all. The ones left behind sat unread. When I moved back the books got read. When I moved out they got boxed up in storage. Over and over.

    Its only recently I'm purging heavily. I don't need three copies of this. I have the ebook for this series, etc. still have so many, but I'm saving what I love and happier for it. (Incidentally I never left your physical copies behind, they always come with me despite ALSO having digital and audio in some cases).

    Moving is hard. Mentally and physically. No matter how many times you do it, but its good you can get back to writing!!


Unfortunately the blog sometimes eats comments. I recommend copying to your clipboard before submitting.

Three Skips

I started accruing my book collection in my late teens.  Not too many early on, since I moved house a lot.  A couple of shelves of books.  T...