The 7 Emotional Stages Of Parting With Books

by Amy Sachs

The season is upon us: baseball's Opening Day, flowers blooming, and, after many false starts, the nice weather. Spring is here and it looks like it's finally here to stay. Of course, with the entrance of April comes the age old "April showers." We finally get the warm weather we've been craving and we're forced back inside that fast? It doesn't seem fair, if you ask me. We survived the endless winter, it's time to grab spring by the blooms, so to speak, and run with it!

But, never fear, there are tons of ways to spend the time waiting for your May flowers. There are books to be read, drinks to be made, and of course, slightly less fun: spring cleaning to be done. Spring is the one season that welcomes cleaning and organizing, and you might as well embrace it! Clean out your drawers, your desks, and don't forget your bookshelves.

You read that right. I know, I know, parting with books is terrible. It's like taking away an old friend and wishing it farewell forever. But when you get right down to it, did you really love all of those books? What about those textbooks you've been holding onto for years now, just in case? Does "just in case" ever roll around? It's pretty unlikely.

These things take up space you could be putting to better use like getting new books. Or giving some of those piles of books around your room an actual home. Regardless of your plans, I know that going through and getting rid of books can be quite the emotional process, but we can get through this together, I promise.

Step One: Denial

Your bookshelves might be sagging, but it just shows that you've read a lot, right? Right. You could probably get away with moving a few things around. Surely you can squeeze a few more books in here and there? See, No problems here, nothing to see.

Step Two: Fear

This is a real thing you have to deal with. Pretty soon, there'll be nowhere for you to go. The books tend to pile up faster than you can read them, and the bookstores are so tempting when you pass them.... it wasn't your fault, really.

Step Three: Sadness

You've conquered the fear. You've accepted that this is happening. The spring cleaning bug has bitten you, and you're running with it. When suddenly... WHAM. The feelings. What if you want to re-read these some day? What if you need to refer to them for some reason, some day? You just never know. And sure, that's what libraries are for but it's not quite the same.

Step Four: Determination

You're committed now. You're going to be ruthless. Anything that's been sitting on these shelves collecting dust without getting read it going. And anything you didn't really love. You're an adult now, you can do this.

Step Five: Regrets

Just as you're about to bring the bags out to your car, you start having second thoughts. Before you know it, the entire contents of the bags is back on the floor somehow, and you're back where you started. But what if your mom wants to borrow this one?

Step Six: Relief

It might just be in your head, but it feels like a weight has been lifted. There's so much space on the shelves now! You donated books to a great cause! New readers will be brought to these books, it's like a circle of life in a way. Almost.

Step Seven: Acceptance

This is also known as the "I deserve a trip to the book store after all my hard work" stage. You earned this. And, I mean, there's all that space, and you can't just leave it empty.

Image: Pletro Bellini/Flickr