It’s not that an empty bookcase is a scary sight…the scary sight for me are sealed boxes of books. I’ve been pretending to be a book dealer for about 35 years now and i know a LOT of book dealers with sealed books of boxes. A friend of mine who just passed has sealed boxes of books decades old and even some from HIS father’s bookstore older than that. I suppose if you have a big enough going concern, than a few dozen boxes of books don’t matter. But over the last 15plus years in this apartment i have slowly whittled away at my collection both personal and for sale until i have only a fraction of what i used to. Anything that for sale isn’t even IN the apartment, its down in the workroom along with the Sicpress supplies.
What’s freaking me out about packing to move isn’t the idea of packing the books in my apartment away…it’s the idea of doing it so far in advance knowing that the LONGER books stay in boxes the greater the chance they may never be released again. In my head i know i am working towards a goal of moving into a larger location, one with more built in bookcases and space for not only the books i have kept after many many culls over the years, but hopefully room for MORE books.
The bookcases i CAN make with my eyes closed is the standard unfrills unfinished pine with 2″ wood screws, backs are optional depending on whether i have access to a table saw. Essentially once i have a space painted, papered, or plaster stabilized…as long as i have a wall to attach it to, it can go up in an evenings worth of television. So once i relocate i can unbox fairly quickly.
In the meantime, once i make boxes of books, where do they go? out of the apartment? into the basement? into the carriage house? Knowing what i know about books and boxes…and about that i am an expert…i can say with certainty, once the books are in storage, bad things can happen and usually do. I sell book deodorizer for a reason…because books and boxes absorb odors…and moisture when its available. In my apartment that’s never going to happen but moved into a NON living space, even one considered secure, adds to the risk. And I just can’t get over that feeling that something bad will happen to them if i look away.
When i moved into the apartment i came from a larger space and for a lot of years i had boxes of books and vhs tapes… in the end the vhs tapes got thrown en masse. As i whittled away at the boxes of books, i learned a lesson that cardboard boxes are evil. They become damaged when used in a living space, not just absorbing all the moisture out of your air and causing your skin to dry out, but they unless they are fully packed they dent and collapse and make excellent scratching posts. I don’t want them to be in boxes longer than they have to be.
If i thought they would stay in boxes for many years, i would cull the collection over and over again until it was down to the books i wouldn’t be able to replace. I would sell or give them away and they replace them when i wanted to see the book again. When i culled the books the 1st time after i moved, that was a rule, if the book was common as dirt and i didn’t NEED to have it in the house.. like Moby Dick and the dictionary, then out it could go..i fact i don’t think i have a dictionary younger than 1780.
As the internet has grown and the value of books has dropped, i am certain i could cull my collection down to a couple of bookcases. Even though comparatively i own very few compared to other book people…like the rest of my possessions, when i thought i would spend the rest of my days in these three rooms i cut everything down to what would FIT neatly in this apartment. And even then all the books are neatly in shelves in the bedroom and the 2 glass bookcases in the living room. If i didn’t have my roommates, i would probably have a lot more open bookcases in the living room, but i found it was cleaner and easier to just keep culling the books i didnt need to own.
In a new space, the same rules would apply, everything for sale would be in a pet free room and not exceed that space. Instead of keeping books for decades hoping they will sell, i prefer to rotate the stock out. reduce the price to $5 and after a year donate it. I’d rather sell a small number of GOOD books than a barn full of five dollar books. I suppose if that was the only thing that provided income i would feel differently, but like a lot of us, i have learned not to rely on books to make my living. i have to bring in money from many sources. When i buy a book for resale NOW, which is rare, it’s something i know will sell for at least $20 more than i paid for it. If its a 10 dollar book worth 20 dollars, it’s not worth my time to bring it home and enter it in the computer. I say that now, but i haven’t actively bookshopped for years, where i live there is nothing to buy and most of the books in shops are already listed online. If i buy something to resell its usually off the internet. And i look forward to having a small fund dedicated to doing just that. Another starving child the house sale will have to feed.
Watching either of the hoarding shows on television is a great motivator to cause you to tackle something you don’t want to do. I understand the schadenfreude in america which makes us watch Hoarders, and Hoarding! and even Extreme Couponing which is just another puppy in that litter. It makes us feel better about our own nests. But on the flip side it also gives us a scale that homes with a normal amount of stuff in their living space don’t look all that bad.
Many folks have the assumption that if you do any sort of rescue that your home must be unhabitable. Which is not the case, i know a lot of rescuers, dogs, cats, wolves, birds..it’s about evenly split between homes you want to visit and those that are shelters people live in. It always comes as a shock when people do visit and find this particular hobbit hole is not like that. It takes a lot of planning and daily maintenance but you can keep them in their place.
Books on the other hand will self replicate and take over your house if you let them…i can’t say just like cats, you can actually control the cats. Inky and Buttons, like all the kittens before them are NOT here for long term storage. They are here until they are ready for adoption. Right now they are shy and need to come out of their shell, they live in a cage i just handle them as much as I can. I devised a fabric sling so that i can type while they are being against my chest. The rescue group gets them back, they don’t STAY.
I didnt want to post this part i deleted it once already.
Cats in long term storage are ones that aren’t adoptable, of those i have three ferals who have a place elsewhere, aside from them i have 3 that are semi feral, which means they aren’t lap kittys but don’t want to live outside and would not do well. These guys just need a warm safe place to live. I’d love to get them into a sanctuary and perhaps once i have some money to throw around I can buy them into one. At least three of the others are suitable for adoption, two guys whose owner moved to another country and left them with me intending to send for them and one whose kittens all got adopted but she was passed over. That brings me down to 5 – yes i have five personal cats, get over it. Folks who come in won’t see more than two or three at any one time. And if i didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know who was here at all. When i move i will be moving with 10, but that’s not a permanent state. And those that do make the trip won’t have an all access pass to the entire place. The office and the guest room will be pet free and they will have their own cat porch where i am sure most of them will hang out, especially if i give them some chickens to watch.
There, now if you can add…the four of you know how many cats are in my house. Right now they are all asleep in their respective sun spots. And when covered with towels the cardboard boxes make excellent cat beds.