In Celebration of Saying No

Surely I can’t be the only one who has a TBR that seems to be endlessly overflowing. There are so many amazing books out there just waiting to be read and I can’t help but accumulate books to read. They are my favorite sort of souvenir while traveling and I love to see them all lined up on my shelves. I love to find good deals at thrift shops which also doesn’t help my numbers. But lately, the sheer number has been stressful rather than exciting.

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I’ll be completely honest. I started my bookstagram account a little over a year ago and quickly started accumulating books faster than I can read. I don’t mean that to sound ungrateful or prideful in the slightest and I really have loved working with publishers. However, with the free publisher copies, came the self-imposed expectation to read and review them as quickly as I could. I quickly started reading mostly newer releases and reaching for whichever title had the most buzz. For me, that was a quick way to burnout on reading. I'm learning the hard way that super buzzed about books are not always my favorite and I never make my way to the backlist books I've been meaning to read. Now let’s factor in moving 2,000 miles away, packing up books, and losing storage space. I thought that I had majorly purged before we moved but upon seeing how much shelf space I actually had in our new apartment, I’ve had to purge even more. And we STILL have books overflowing in every room.

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The sheer volume of unread books has started to make me feel anxious. The last few years I’ve tried to pare down the possessions we own - not in an attempt to be a minimalist but rather to feel like there’s breathing space and less clutter in my life. Books have always been the exception but now it just feels out of control. And so I’ve been ruthlessly purging my books and trying to find as many Little Free Libraries as possible. I thought it would be sad but more than anything, it has been the most refreshing. I’m cutting down the number of unread books so that the titles I still have are ones that I’m TRULY excited to pick up and read. If I've owned it for more than two years and not once picked it up, that means it needs to go. I love having options but too much of a good thing has been getting me down. I’m reminding myself each time I grab a few more to pass along that if I ever want to read it again, I can get it from the library or buy it used. I'm slowly getting better at saying no; no to the thrifted books as well as publisher copies and to all of my unread books I tell myself that I might read one day but have never wanted to pick up. I've stopped requesting books unless they're titles I would start reading immediately and I'm trying to really make a dent in my unread books. I realize this isn’t true for everybody and in no way is this meant to be shaming. It’s just something that’s been rattling around in my head the last few months. I’ve been inspired by posts from Madeleine at TopShelfText as well as Anne Bogel about margin and self-care. Purging books, making space, and saying no have been forms of self-care for me in the last few months and I am loving it. I hope you find what works for you and OWN it. Happy reading!