The Chancellor and I have just about finished moving in together. The wedding gifts have been opened, put away, and all thank-you notes are written (save one for a present received on Thursday–huzzah!). My clothes are put in their new dresser or hung up in the closet. Both of us can fit desks and computers in the office. All boxes (save for a few in the dining room) have been broken down and put into the recycling bin.
The books, movies, and CDs, however, have proven to be a bit more challenging. The problem is threefold: (a) I have a lot of books and movies, and a modest amount of CDs; (b) The Chancellor has a lot of books, movies, and CDs; (c) and we live in a two-bedroom townhome with no basement. I brought two bookcases into the house, and we bought The Chancellor one, as well as two media towers, from IKEA. As it turns out, all of that furniture, combined with a wire DVD tower, was not enough to hold everything. My books are double-stacked. Our movies could fit in all three towers, but there was no room for the music. The immediate solution seemed to be: purchase another bookcase, fill up, squeeze in between all the other furniture.
Then, as we discussed storage, a realization dawned on us: we both want to live in an urban/suburban area for as long as we possibly can (our large Midwestern city would suit us equally, but I definitely need a good tenure-track job, so there may be limited options on that front). Therefore, we are not going to live in large, country homes that will generate a mass of space for us to accumulate more stuff and display it all. It’s a very Midwestern American mindset, one that my family has espoused. So, if I want to be able to enjoy city living, I have to think with an urban mindset. One that declares, “Less is more.” A family friend listed his solution for DVD storage: all DVDs go in a special case, where you can store both the cover and the DVD in a sleeve. That way, you see the movie cover, but can recycle the box. We went to an electronic store, found the case, and went to work. We did stash our favorite DVDs, TV shows and “pretentious movies” (as I declared them) in the wire tower and one of the IKEA towers, just so that we could have a few things on display. It feels nice to have made more room for The Chancellor’s books.
And yet, as we’ve brought all his books down into the shelf, we’ve recognized another problem: we have so much. There are several duplicates of movies and books (after all, English folk do have similar tastes). We first pared down the DVDs so as to avoid the multiple copies. But as we’ve begun to eyeball our bookshelves (my sacred spot, I’ll admit), we realized that over the years, we’ve needlessly acquired so much. So many books we’ve planned to read and haven’t. So many books we bought specifically to read but didn’t care to keep. And for what?
The second epiphany is one that I’ve been pretending to ignore, but become increasingly more urgent: I need to find a better way to read. Already, I’ve begun utilizing my local library more. It has a terrific Inter-Library Loan system, and even has an increasing number of e-books you can “borrow.” Which brings me to the second part of the epiphany: it’s time for an e-reader. My dear mentor and friend GAT has showed me her Kindle and all its uses, but I’ve put up a fight. I love the feel of a book between my palms. And yet: an e-reader would enable me to carry more reading material with me, read more unfamiliar texts and genres with relatively little expense, and enable me to store said books without taking up room on my shelf.
So: The Chancellor and I vow to buy less, rent more, and be responsible in what we do purchase. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in mid-year resolutions. I will start bracing myself for new mindsets and a reading paradigm shift. One last question: Nook or Kindle? Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section.