Over the past several months I've been getting rid of books, DVDs, and other "excess baggage."
I took a look at all the "stuff" I had at the start of the process. I found that I'd accumulated a lot of things that I had only looked at once. Some were books that I had bought for one of my nonfiction projects. Some were movies that were replacements for ones I had lost in the Andover tornado way back in 1991. There were also a couple of shelves of contributor's copies of magazines I had sold short stories or articles to.
Deciding to get rid of the books and DVDs was pretty easy. If I wasn't going to keep looking at something, it had to go. It's easy to acquire things that you're partially passionate about. But if those things don't mean a great deal to you, what reason to you have for keeping them? My answer was "no reason," so out they went.
The decision about the magazines followed another line of reasoning. Many of them hadn't aged well over the years. I don't mean that they yellowed or had faded. I mean that they just didn't look very nice. Some had hand-drawn covers; some were stapled in one corner; many were laid out the old "cut and paste" way. Even some of those that did look okay still didn't move me to keep them. I chose to keep about a dozen that I felt were important to me, and threw out the rest.
I think I used to be a little bit of a pack-rat. I see now that it isn't important to keep everything associated with your life and projects. Memories will do fine most of the time. It's better to devote space to what's really important to own.
I have two cons on back-to-back weekends (!), so I won't be posting here until they're over. So, stay cool and keep in touch!