Sunday, February 26, 2012

Another Trip Around The Sun

Birthdays are wonderful!

All of them.

I don't care if you are 1, our 21, or 51 or 101--birthdays are special and I'm all for embracing the number of candles on your cake!

I find it odd that when I was turning 30, there was the talk of it being a "big" birthday, or that I was turning "29 again". Ummm...all birthdays are big--just ask your mother. And no, I wasn't--I was turning 30, and this year I turned 32--not another celebration of my 29th birthday thank-you-very-much.

Youth is great and all, but wisdom comes with age, and I'll take all of the wisdom that I can get! I don't want to go backwards, or even stand still. Life is progressive and I want to live fully--which includes aging. And part of aging well is to accept yourself for who you are today, trying to better that person, but not trying to be someone that you are not, nor wishing that you are who you were in the past.

Silver streaks are beginning to weave their way through my hair, and I'm at a crossroads. I love beautiful, gray hair that marks a woman as dignified and distinguished. Especially when the woman is confident and comfortable in the gorgeous locks that God has graced her with, without apology. However, can I stand against a society that tells men that gray is okay, but tells women that the bottle of dye is their answer? I don't yet know the answer. Those lines around my eyes from years of laughter are starting to show, and while the woman at the department store wants to sell me her miracle eye cream, I'm still very content knowing that these are lines from a life full of joy--and I don't regret that for a moment! While someday I may feel differently, I know that I cannot turn back the hands of time, nor do I wish to. I'd rather age gracefully, instead of fighting the process and wishing in 60 years that I enjoyed my youth while it was still here and lamenting at that time how foolish I was to consider my 30's or 40's or 50's "getting older". While technically, it is--it's not. I have at least 30-40 more years of youth ahead of me.

This past weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to celebrate my 32nd trip around the sun with family and friends. All things considered (like, backed up plumbing and an emergency visit from a plumber on Saturday night as Jason and I were getting ready to go out for the evening!), the weekend could not have been more perfect and celebrated precisely in a manner that breathes life into me.

My mom came to visit Wednesday and Thursday, and between going out to dinner at one of our favorite local joints, a few rousing games of Bananagrams and introducing her to the TV show Hoarders, we had a fun evening. Thursday she helped me get the kids to school before heading back to her home in Ohio.

Friday started with a playdate at the Rhythm! Discovery Center in downtown Indianapolis with my MOPS group. We had a blast playing drums and other percussion instruments all morning. Afterwards, a few of us went to the Weber Grill restaurant which is upstairs from the museum to have lunch together. I've never been there with children before, but Weber definitely earned a lot of child-friendly points and may be my new favorite child-friendly restaurant downtown! With a table of 7 children under the age of 5, they had their work cut out for them to keep chaos at a minimum and they not only hit the bar, they far exceeded my expectations!

Friday night, our kids went to the babysitting co-op that our family is apart of. Now, let me follow a rabbit trail and tell you right now that the babysitting co-op is the best.thing.ever. for our family! With 4 kids and no family in town, cost becomes prohibitive for Jason and I to make regular date nights a priority. Especially if we want to go out just for coffee and a walk through the park, when we factor in an extra $40-50+ for a few hours of childcare, suddenly coffee on the back patio sounds more appealing. With the co-op, we pay a nominal fee for snacks for the semester, volunteer to provide childcare for 2 nights, and then have 8 scheduled date nights where other couples provide the childcare. For 3.5 hours, we are child-free to sit at the bookstore and browse, or take a leisurely walk along the canal downtown, or come home and have dinner in a quiet house with no children. The things that we would likely decide aren't big enough plans to hire a sitter for, but are invaluable to our marriage. This week, while the kids played with their friends at the co-op, we went to the State Fairgrounds to to Boat, Sport and Travel Show and the Motorcycle Expo. That's right--nearly 3 child-free hours of RVs, back-packing/camping, and Harley-Davidson goodness! It was glorious!!!

Saturday, we capped off the celebration with our family tradition of sharing the homemade birthday cake that Jason made for me, then (after dealing with explosive plumbing problems!) as the kids were getting ready for bed and our babysitter arrived, Jason and I slipped out for a few hours for a dinner date to Maggiano's. I've only been there one other time, and it was for appetizers only, so I was unfamiliar with how they serve. When you order a pasta dish, they serve one (huge!) portion to the table and the chef boxes a second (different, if you prefer) portion straight from the kitchen and ready to refrigerate and reheat the next day. Needless to say, we have continued the celebration today, as well, with reheated Maggiano's for both lunch and dinner. Reheated in the oven, of course!

I give most of the credit to Jason for planning most of the weekend for me, knowing what I love to do and how I prefer to celebrate--a little on the quiet side, with family and a few friends. I feel very loved and refreshed, and am eagerly looking ahead to what my 33rd trip around the sun holds!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Streamlining Our Kitchen & My Online Pampered Chef Party

As we're moving through our home and belongings, downsizing and simplifying, we've been zeroing in on our kitchen for the past week or so, and are in the midst of an overhaul to make life simpler, more streamlined and practical for us. As I've mentioned in the past couple of posts, we've sent our microwave to Appliance Purgatory (aka the garage) and sold our large hard-anodized aluminum cookware set to purchase a few cast iron pieces. We've edited other small appliances such as the toaster oven, a small food processor and a few other single-use appliances. At this point we are only keeping the toaster, waffle iron, food processor, hand mixer and stand mixer--although one or more of these are still up for further review. (Oh, and the crock pot and bread machine, which are as much permanent fixtures in our kitchen as the oven and refrigerator.) We've boxed up 2 sets of glassware and have 3 sets of dishes set aside to sell. We're also paring down our gadgets and utensils as well as trying to eliminate as much of the non-stick-coated and aluminum bakeware from our kitchen as possible.

One thing that I've noticed as I have made my way through my kitchen is that what we are committed to keeping are the items of quality that have and will stand the test of time and will serve multiple purposes. The bulk of what remains are our Pampered Chef items, which I love for their quality and design. As I am planning to purchase some stoneware bakeware to replace items that do not work for our family, as well as a few kitchen prep tools, I decided to team up with my friend Alison to host an online Pampered Chef catalog show, so that anyone else that is in the market for quality kitchen items can also do so.

I'd also like to open up my show to our readers, as well. I'm seriously a very non-sales-pressure kind of gal, so no worries if you aren't in the market. Let's be real. Our family is buckling down and focusing on stewardship and simplifying, so you know I'm not trying to talk you into buying something that you don't need or won't be useful to you! However, I have found almost every Pampered Chef item that I have owned to be both quality pieces and useful to me. Additionally, the special for the month of February includes all metal and unglazed stoneware bakeware at 20% off--which is totally why I'm doing the catalog show until the end of the month!

If you are interested in browsing the products, you can check out Alison's Pampered Chef website through this link to my show:, click on "shop online", and enter my name, Stephanie Simpson, to shop.

If you are in the market for great kitchen items, I would love if you place an order through my show, as it will help me to also get a bit of a discount on the items that I'm planning to purchase as I streamline my kitchen. The show will close on Wednesday February 29, so it's just for this week!

We had a Pampered Chef wedding shower before we were married as well as a Pampered Chef housewarming party when we bought our house, so if you are interested in some of my personal favorites and what has withstood the test of time, I'll fill you in on the top 10 Pampered Chef pieces that we love around the Simpson Six kitchen!

These are gorgeous, simple serving pieces that are very modular for a multitude of purposes. We've also recently transitioned to using these as our everyday dishes and they are a striking background for meal presentation.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Taking a step back: why are we doing what we are doing?

So I realized after posting last night about kicking the microwave out of our kitchen--which conveniently saved me from making an impulse cup of chai tea today, because it was "too much effort" to pull out a pot to heat the milk on the stove (lame, I know...hopefully I'll get past that soon)--that we may need to clarify for our readers exactly what we are doing and why we're doing what we are doing.

We've been living in our current home for almost 8 years. When we moved in, it was just Jason and me, our cat, a few hand-me-down pieces of furniture and 27 boxes full of everything that we owned in the world--in impeccably labeled and inventoried boxes, no less--because Jason totally rocks the packing and moving thing!

Fast forward seven-and-a-half years and we have added 4 kids, subtracted a cat, added a house full of furniture, rooms filled with "stuff", and built a storage shed which is full of what doesn't fit in the garage. While I recognize that we are nowhere near the "Danger Zone" of becoming hoarders, and by American standards we already live pretty simply, we had become lax with living our value of stewardship and were uncomfortable with the level of consumption that we had reached.
1200 cubic-feet of fabulous "extra" storage space!
While child-bearing years and the sleep-deprived haze of the past 7 years do explain part of how this has happened, it's not really an excuse for us. We are responsible for our actions and decisions, even those made on auto-pilot. We have acquired more than we have mindfully decided to bring into our lives, and have added people to our home--who we deliberately chose to add and love with all of our being--that also bring in "stuff" without consciously thinking about it. When we looked around and saw what was happening around us, this past autumn we decided that it was time to take a step back, re-evaluate our priorities and shift gears so that the life that we are living is the life that we are choosing. It was time to move from living on the default setting to deliberate living.

It's amazing how that becomes so much more possible when you are neither preparing for nor adjusting to life with a new baby, as had been the norm for us for the past 7 years. We

Monday, February 20, 2012


We've been making some significant (at least for us) strides toward simplifying and downsizing our stuff in order to super-size our lives and live more fully, more intentionally, and better overall. Today we took the next big step.

We removed the microwave from our kitchen.

Now you see it... you don't!
This is a move that I've been pushing to make for at least 6 months, but we decided today to just go for it. The microwave's only purpose is to make food preparation faster, not better. Fifty years ago a microwave was not a staple in American kitchens. Is the overall health and quality of the food we eat today better or worse, on a whole, than the food our grandparents prepared? We may be more efficient, but in this instance, efficient does not necessarily mean better.

Bear with me for a moment as I rant crazy--I'll try to bring it back around. I first became suspicious of the microwave when I learned what you can and cannot cook in a microwave, and the types of dishes that you should and should never use in a microwave. Then there's the whole "I just don't get how it works" part that makes me skeptical. I understand how and why my oven, stove top, grill, and even my toaster work--but I just don't understand how the microwave works. And I like to know how things work--especially things surrounding my food and what my family consumes. So, after a few months of non-scientific research and taking mental stock of what and how often I use the microwave, I realized that I primarily use it for 3 things: boiling water, melting butter, and reheating leftovers.

Since we conveniently have a tea kettle to boil water, saucepans to melt butter and a stove/oven to reheat leftovers, I determined that I could easily live without the microwave and enjoy the extra space in my kitchen instead--with the added bonus of being forced to live a little slower. I just needed to convince Jason that we can do it.

Lucky for me, he's really getting into the whole purging part of down-sizing, so he was game to give it a try. This morning he wiped it down and relegated it to a newly-opened spot on the garage shelf where an item we recently sold had been sitting.

What was this other item, you ask?
Well, I'm sooooo glad that you asked. It was our spare microwave, of course! Sold last week for $10 on Craigslist.

So, when it came time to make lunch, our adventure began. We were re-heating some taco meat for taco salads for our lunch today, and instead of instinctively plopping the dishes into the microwave and waiting impatiently for 90 seconds for them to be heated, we pulled out a pan, fired up the stove, and waited almost 5 minutes for the meat to reheat while preparing the rest of our dishes and playing with the kids. All at once. Like it was a real meal or something. Crazy, I know! It was a welcome change to treat reheating yesterday's dinner for today's lunch as a proper meal instead of a fast food experience.

I know that I'm in the honeymoon period right now, and I know that I will be so mad that I will want to scream bad words (yes, that's actually what I shout when I'm mad--"Bad words, bad words, BAD WORDS!!!"--try it sometime, it helps a lot more to bring you back around than actually cussing) when I'm hungry right NOW and have to either practice patience or choose something different. But, that's part of the process. That experience will help me to live better and grow my character, and teach me more fully to live as I want to live.

The microwave is still hanging out in the garage, in case this experiment appears to fail. I say appears, because if we do bring it back into our home, it means that doing without, in this instance, doesn't contribute to a better life. And maybe it won't. Who knows--that's part of the mystery of experiments. You never know until you try. I'm certain that the experiment will succeed, and I'm hopeful that success also means one less non-essential "thing" in our lives that opens the door to a richer, better life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The World Is Not Your Trashcan
Look closely at the photo above. Yes, that really is a dirty diaper laying on the line between the minivans in a parking lot. Gross, no doubt, but the symptom of a much bigger problem.

First of all, this is at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis--a place where thousands of parents bring their children each day. A large number of these children wear diapers. A place where there are trashcans all around for rubbish such as this to be deposited in a sanitary manner. Not to mention, this diaper belonged to a child who was taught today by their parent or caregiver that if you don't feel like throwing away your trash where it belongs, just anywhere is fine. But again, this is simply a symptom of a much greater problem.

As a society, we're really numb to the effects of our trash. As I drive through my neighborhood on trash day each week, I imagine the lives that my neighbors live. Clearly our lifestyle is not the norm. When I see 5 trash cans regularly on some curbs or 7 big black bags stacked up on another, my mind wonders how one household can regularly produce this much trash. Our family still has a long way to go to reach my goal of less than 1 kitchen-size bag/week, but our 2-3 kitchen bags/week seems excessive to me. I try to think of how the six of us could regularly fill 5 trashcans and am lost.

Now, while it's hardly an excuse, because it's still trash that has to go to the nebulous *someplace*, there are times of purging that we've filled 2+ trashcans in a week. However, once I realized that the refuse workers don't just make the trash disappear, it's impossible for me to not analyze every item before it goes into the kitchen trash bag. There are several categories of places where unwanted items in our home go before something reaches the trash, and even our 3-year-old knows these procedures--and our 15-month-old is learning.
  1. Is it something that's in new or great condition and someone else could use? If so, we sell it, either on Craigslist, consignment, or set it aside for a garage sale (only saved for a garage sale if we have one scheduled), or give it to a friend that we know could use the item.
  2. Is there still some life in something that someone could clean up, fix or re-purpose? If so, we set it aside to re-purpose if we have an immediate idea that we will promptly re-use it for, offer it on Freecycle or donate to Goodwill or another similar agency.
  3. Is it broken, used up, or otherwise ended its life in its current state? If so, there are a few options before an item hits the trashcan:
  • Recycle Bin: We don't pay for curbside recycling, but several Indianapolis parks have recycling bins that accept ALL PLASTICS #1-7!!!, glass, steel, aluminum, empty aerosol cans, phone books, magazines and newspapers.
  • Paper Recycling: Indianapolis also has paper recycling dumpsters around the city that are fundraisers for the facility where they are located. These dumpsters not only accept newspapers, but also office papers, magazines, junk mail and some even accept cardboard.
  • Compost: Food scraps are put into the compost pail and are dumped onto our compost pile to be added to our garden during growing season.
If an item gets past all of these check-points and still doesn't have a better place to either be reused or recycled, then and only then does it find its way to the trashcan.

Now, if you were in elementary school in the 80's or 90's, you surely learned the 3R's in science class or at least on Earth Day. If you notice, I've covered the re-use and recycle options of the 3R's, but the first and probably most important R is to reduce. Reducing our waste starts with the point of purchase. Do we buy what we need, or what we might need someday? Do we buy the plastic-wrapped "perfect for baking" potatoes, or the loose russets from the produce bin? Do we purchase the toy that is hermetically sealed with its plastic ties in the box that is 3-times the size of the toy, or do we purchase the toy that is in no package at all from a resale shop? All of these decisions add up and even a few minor changes can really make a difference in our ability to reduce our overall trash consumption.

Something else that makes a huge difference that takes minimal effort is to actually use those reusable shopping bags. We all have a surplus, after the deluge of every store and every group handing them out over the past few years, but what if we all used them?

I rarely shop without mine and have eliminated plastic grocery bags from coming into our home. I'm starting to make the move to try to remember to bring them to other stores when I'm shopping, and have noticed a significant difference in our surplus of other shopping bags around our house this way as well. Again, I have a long way to go in this area, but it's a start. I know most grocery bags can be reused for dirty diapers (see above!) or mini trashcan liners, or recycled, but if we reduce our consumption in the first place, we'll make an even greater impact on our environment.

So, while it was definitely gross to step over a dirty diaper in order to load my child into our van this afternoon, it made me more sad than anything. Sad that this was an acceptable act to the person who left it sitting in the parking lot. Sad for the disconnect between what happens to our trash after we are done with it. Sad that a child or children were taught that this is an acceptable way to live in society--the society that I'm raising my children to live in as well.

I did, however, try to give the benefit of the doubt that, perhaps, this diaper errantly fell out of the trash bag that was inside the van. So I did what any thoughtful citizen would do. I returned the misplaced item to its owner. I'm sure that they will silently thank me later for doing so. And if they don't feel particularly thankful, perhaps they will at least be aware, if only for today, that our trash does affect those around us, and ultimately it has an effect on our own quality of life as well.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Making space

I really don't have a lot to share at this moment.  We have been busy cleaning, clearing, de-cluttering.  I can't say that it has been the most fun activity selling our things.  It is hard to let things go, but I have gotten a few good Craigslist stories out of the process.  What has been fun to realize as I have removed items from my life that I didn't use, had no relevant purpose, or were under utilized, is that I have made room for things that I truly want or need.  I have been able to get a few new playthings recently because of now having a space/purpose for them as well as having the income to purchase them.  It is amazing how easy it becomes to get those few things that you have been pining for once you sell some other stuff.  I will admit, now that I have the taste in my mouth of selling things it drives me to keep it up.

Get rid of some things, create elbow room, and see how good it feels to stretch.

Now, if only there was a better way to deal with the flakes on Craigslist...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

There's no place like home.

A single word that evokes a spectrum of images and emotions within us all.

What is home?

The series of images that go through my mind begin with a Victorian tri-plex that my family owned and we lived in until I was 5. In my preschool eyes this home was huge, beautiful and all that I could dream of. I had no knowledge of the pain of the community that it was within, surrounded by transient drug dealers and mentally ill Vietnam vets, where my father was the one-man neighborhood watch association. This was home.

For the next 13 years, home was affectionately referenced by others as "The Highley Hotel"--the new home that my parents built out in the country. It was in the middle of 5 acres and where my brother and I could freely roam. We spent our spring, summer and autumn days exploring the woods and the century-old barns full of ancient treasures. We lived "on the compound" (think Kennedy family compound) with family as our next-door-neighbors and could throw a rock to many other family members' houses. Yes, this was home.

When I was in college, while home was still where my parents lived, home also became the dorms and friends that I lived with. The Second South Sweeties of Morrison Hall my freshman year were truly a family, and some of my very best friends to this day are SSS's. Myers Hall, which I loved so much that I spent 3 years there, then became my home. Again, some great friendships were forged in this place, formative conversations and events occurred within its walls, and it was home.

After college, a couple of girlfriends and I moved into our first apartment and home was now independent of my family of origin. Although I had not lived there in 4 years, home was officially no longer in Ohio. I became a Hoosier--whatever that is?!?

A year later, my girlfriends had moved out to other apartments and Jason moved in after we got married. This was now our home together. My definition of home also became shaken up for the first time in my life. Within weeks of returning from our honeymoon, we found ourselves on the defensive against a landlord who had taken a quick dive off the deep end. To make a long--yet fascinating glimpse into mental illness--story short; after our door being busted in, receiving a series of threatening phone calls, making multiple calls to the police and ultimately learning how to serve a restraining order, this was no longer home. We moved to a new apartment and a year later moved to the house where we still live today.

So, this is home. Right?

Well, now that I should have a pretty straightforward answer, it's not so simple.

I've never really felt comfortable labeling myself by my occupation, feeling that while "teacher" or "Census representative" or "childcare provider" were/are things that I do, they are not who I am. However, now that I no longer am employed in an occupation beyond a very part-time basis, I've found that my answer to the question, "What do you do for a living?" is now something that I feel completely at peace answering.

I am a homemaker.

Ok, before your eyes gloss over and visions of June Cleaver dusting the knick-knacks in pearls comes to mind, that's not what I mean. At all. And if you know me, you know just how laughable that image is to me! I don't see the role of homemaker as a cook, decorator or laundress either. Yes, I do all of these things, but it's not what I do for a living. This is not what makes up my life.

I make a home by creating the space for my family to grow our relationships in breadth and depth. Part of that does entail doing the mundane of preparing meals and keeping (some semblance of) order in our home, so that we can maximize our quantity of time together, in order for quality time to emerge. I make a home by creating a space for my family to land after spending their days out in the world. For our kids, this is exploring new places, learning new things and building new relationships. For my husband this means building into the lives of students and staff at school and building into and onto the infrastructure of our society. They need to know that at the end of the day, there is a safe place where they can be who they are and recharge for the next day. This is why I make a home.

Home is also made by doing things we love, and learning new things together. It's being purposeful in the activities that we invest our lives into and being intentional about how we spend our time together.

Home has become less of a where and more of a who. I can be at home in any place, if I'm allowed to be free, and if I am with Jason and our kids.

Home is where I am free to be me.

Home is where you are free to be you.

Home means being known and accepted, safe and loved.

Home really is where your heart is, and once you find where that is, there's no place in the world like home!

Home with Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

Monday, February 6, 2012

Over looking the details

So I'm sure that some how you have learned that our clothes dryer went out for a few days recently.  I was able to fix it by replacing the heating coil.  Not a super difficult fix, it just took some time to learn how to completely disassemble the thing.  This of course falling in line with my philosophy of take care of what you have so it will last.  Don't throw it out until you know it is a lost cause.  So it works and the heat goes on.

Well, we bought the washer and dryer at the same time, you know, the whole 'matched pair' thing.  So the washer decides that it wanted to join in the fun and conk out as well.  Now I have a washer that refuses to do a final spin and drain.  So, thanks to some ingenuity on my part (and quite a bit of forearm strength), I wrung the towels out myself and put them through the drying paces.  [editors note: I was shown how some of the cycles function in different manners on the dryer so that drying time would be expedited.  Thanks wife.]

Then the fun part began: Troubleshooting.  Going off of some past experience, I started with the drain pump, figuring that if it could not empty the chute, that it would not activate the spin cycle.  Wrong.  The hose was free and clear and the pump spins great.  

Being elevated makes them easier to work on, just spin it around and have at it.
So, moving on, I locate the technical data sheets with diagnostic information that is taped to the inside of the machine.  Conveniently, I discovered this existed when ripping apart the dryer.  See, matched pair has similarities.  It's a good thing when you have to maintenance both of the them.   Running the machine through the paces, I get an error code of not receiving the signal from the motor or controls to spin.  Off we go to the back of the unit to check wires and voltage and resistance (o my!)  According to my findings and the tech sheet, the motor controller needs replaced.  Ok, makes sense.

Fast forward to me at the appliance parts store buying said part.  $170 and a warning that electronics are non refundable, and I am back home ripping apart more of the machine so that I can access the controller to remove it.  This involves pulling off the belt, motor, and wiring harnesses so that I can undo the screws holding this circuitry down.

And then I saw it.  1 itty bitty 18 gauge wire severed in two.

Thanks Chuck.

Off I dashed to the store to buy some butt splices.  $.99 for 20 of them.  "Are you kidding me", I mutter to myself as I head home.  This would be great if this fixes it, but did I really have to buy that part?  Sure enough, after some splicing and putting everything back together, she works like a charm.

Today we learned that just because some diagnostic said a part was bad, make sure it is fully connected first.  The bigger picture, make sure that you look at all sides before rushing off for a fix.  Something easier and less taxing may be waiting around the corner.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It all starts with the first step.

Today I made the first hard step toward downsizing. Not just "de-cluttering", which I do at least semi-annually whenever the *stuff* starts to close in on me. That's just getting rid of useless stuff that I don't even notice when it's gone. The kind of paring down that keeps us from eventually appearing on an episode of Hoarders.

No. Today was the first step toward downsizing that will hurt, at least a little bit.

I love to read and I love books, but I don't need to own shelves and shelves of books if I never plan to re-read them. And I don't. That's just not the kind of reader that I am. With only a handful of exceptions, once I read a book, I will never pick it up again. I may skim through it to re-read a favorite passage or important anecdote from the text, but I do not read the same books over and over again.

Therefore, the first major purge of the books occurred today. I've done the cursory de-cluttering in the past, mostly getting rid of books that I didn't care for or weren't very good, or that I never finished reading in the first place. But after these purges I was still left with several shelves full of books that I loved, enjoyed reading and liked the idea of owning--even if I will never again pick up the book to read it again.

With Jason's help, last night we pulled off 2 diaper boxes full of books from the shelves to take to Half-Price Books to sell. Some great titles were in those boxes! Some books that I've held onto 10 years or more after purchasing just because I loved the book so much! But never opened the books a second time. I decided that if I really do want to read the book again, I can always borrow it from a library or buy it for my e-reader and not have the physical clutter in my life. And if I choose to re-purchase the book for my Kindle, then it truly is a work that I want in my collection forever.

So, 9:00am today I load up the little two kids and my boxes of books to take to the used bookstore. I knew that I needed to get them to the store as soon as it opened today, or else I would be tempted to go "shopping" in the boxes and choose books to put back on my shelf. Ian helped the gentleman at the store with opening doors and pushing our cart of books to the Buy Counter. I think he knew that I needed all the help that I could get to make this major step. I gave them my name, and then we waited.

Less than 10 minutes later, I was called back to the Buy Counter and given my offer:


That's all?

Since my only goal was to not bring any books back home, I accepted the offer and within minutes I was given cash in exchange for my literary treasures.

While I feel a lot lighter and more prepared for the next steps of downsizing after this small step today, it definitely stung a little. I had probably spent hundreds of dollars to purchase these books, only to be offered $27 when I was through with them. It has solidified that, for me, buying books is not an investment. They are a liability, not an asset. When I choose to purchase a book in the future, I need to keep today's events in mind and carefully weigh if I really plan to hold onto the book and re-read or reference it over and over again, or if borrowing it from a library is a better plan. With the advent of the e-reader, however, the physical clutter aspect becomes null. Even so, the financial component is still something to consider, since re-sale of e-books is currently non-existent. As a once-and-done reader, libraries were made for me.

I will have more literary purges in the future. There are boxes full in our storage shed that I need to take in for sale, once I can access them when the weather breaks for good. In the meantime, I will slowly whittle away at what remains until I am left with only the books that I truly love and wish to carry with me through life.

Oh, and one book did creep back home with me from the used bookstore. Upon seeing everything laid in front of me, I realized that I'm not quite ready to part with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Quite fitting, perhaps.