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Blog: The Pile High Club--how NOT to become a member
An Organizer Takes Her Own Advice

A very good Baby Boomer friend of mine is in the midst of downsizing. She has been divorced for quite some time, but is still living in the 4,000 sq. ft. home in which her family started.  Her eldest daughter is a senior in high school and will soon be leaving the nest (her son is already gone to Wake Forest).  She finally sold her home two weeks ago and began packing to move into a 2,100 sq. ft. condo.  Did I mention my friend is also a professional organizer? Well she is, and even SHE could not believe the amount of things (though very organized things) she found in the back of all her closets, drawers and cabinets.  She has had one heck of a time making decisions, purging and just going through it all.  Even though she is ridiculously organized by trade and habit, the stuff still adds up over the years.
Her stress in the last few weeks has inspired me to once again go through my own closets and find even more things I can purge.  In doing so, one area in which I think I can make tremendous improvement is with books.
I don't have a huge library, but I do have two small bookshelves full of books for professional development, reference, pleasure and display (coffee table-ish books). I keep very few books once I've read them. I use www.paperbackswap.com to "recycle" them back into the book-readers' universe. My problem comes from the books I own that I've bought (or received from PaperBackSwap) that I haven't had time to read yet.  I currently own 43 books that I have not yet read. What's worse, I have 110 books on my Amazon "Wish List" that I someday want to read. Will I really ever have time to read 153 books (not to mention the future books I discover that I'll want to read)?  Doubtful, unless I stop watching must-see TV or reading magazines and the New York Times (never gonna happen!).
Actually, I think The Times might be part of the problem. On Sundays they have the Book Review section, and there I find even more stories I want to read someday (and add to my Amazon Wish List). I amólike many of my clientsóan information junkie. I have a B.A. in Journalism and I am a researcher at heart. I love to hear and read people's stories (be they true or imagined). 
That said, though I enjoy reading, I often cannot remember the title or author of the books I read, just the gist of the book and whether or not I liked it.  I felt alone in this for so long until I read this recent, clever, and oh-so-true New York Times Book Review essay titled The Plot Escapes Me.
The author asks, What is the point of reading so many books when I can barely remember what's in them? I take this a step further and ask, What's the point of acquiring and storing all these books I might have time to read someday if I won't remember them anyway?  (NOTE: You should read the article because it turns out there IS a point to reading books, even if you can't remember them.)
So what's an information junkie/organizing professional to do? Well if I took my own advice, I'd let go of the things (books) that don't suit my life nowóthe things I just don't have the time or space for.  I should not save or acquire things for "someday." It goes against everything I preach.  So. I pledge to post all my unread books on PaperBackSwap.com and get rid of them one by one. I will attempt to read them until they get requested, but once they are sent to another reader, that's it. I will purchase no more books. No, I won't stop reading. I'll just ask Santa for a Kindle and forgo space-hogging paperbacks and hard covers altogether. Problem solved!

posted on: 10/4/2010 10:30:00 AM by Heather Lambie
category: Paper

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Discuss This Post

by Martha on 10/25/2011 9:08:43 PM:

I cannot tell a lie, that really heelpd.

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The Pile High Club--how NOT to become a member

by Heather Lambie

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About Heather:

My Husband - "Honey, how thin can you spread yourself before you're no longer there?" Me - "I don't know. But I'm in it to win it, so we may have to find out."

Heather's Website:


Favorite Websites

  • The Sartorialist
    This site appeases my hunger for all things New York, reminds me of my time there, and gives me great ideas for unconventional looks.
  • Toffee To Go
    They are located in Tampa, very near me, but they deliver/ship nationally. They have THE BEST toffee EVER. It's buttery, salty, sweet--all my favorite things in one bite.
  • The Container Store
    I know this is a no-brainer for an organizer...but this place really turns me on!
  • The Poetry Foundation
  • Because I Said So (blog)
    As a mom myself, this mom of 6 (!!!) has me in stitches.
  • Michael Buble
    If I wasn't happily married, I might be stalking him. Bar none, the best voice and best sense of humor!

Quotes That Move Me

  • General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
    "The truth of the matter is, you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it."
  • Ivern Ball
    "Most of us ask for advice when we know the answer but we want a different one."
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    "The secret of education is respecting the pupil."
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    "Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen."
  • Abigail Van Buren
    "The best index to a person's character is how he treats another person who can't do him good, and how he treats people who can't fight back."
  • Dorothy Galyean
    "Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere."
  • Aristotle
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
  • Mark Twain
    "To be satisfied with what one has; that is wealth. As long as one sorely needs a certain additional amount, that man isn't rich."
  • Jackie Kennedy
    "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much."

Places I'm Dying to Visit

  • Hawaii
    Any how, any way, any time.
  • Los Cabos, Mexico
  • China
  • Japan
  • Alaska (via cruise ship)
  • Marbella, Spain

Places I've Already Been

  • Australia (Sydney)
  • New Zealand
  • Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora
  • London
  • Paris
    Spent only one day here (took the Chunnel from London when I was there) but it was one amazing, beautiful day where I walked the flea markets, visited the Louvre, people-watched and used all 6 senses to experience it.
  • Trinidad & Tobago
    My husband is from here, so we go several times a year to visit family.
  • Italy (Milan, Vicenza)
  • Jamaica

Things I'd Like To Do Before I Die

  • Run a leg with the Olympic torch before the games begin
  • See the monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico
  • Ride a horse on the beach (in the water)
  • See a prize fight (boxing) in Las Vegas
  • Run the NYC Marathon
    I ran the Disney Marathon in 2000 (pre-kids). Would love to run another post-kids, to prove I can.
  • Have washboard abs.
  • Eliminate self doubt.
  • Own an apartment in Manhattan.
  • Watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Year's Eve.
  • Take an RV trip down the coast of California.

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