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Getting to “Bookshelf Zero” During Quarantine

How’s everyone holding up? I figure a global pandemic is as good a reason as any to get back into blogging, so here goes it.

We’ve all heard of “inbox zero” — the rigorous approach to email management aimed at keeping the inbox empty — or almost empty — at all times. While inbox zero isn’t something I consciously work towards (it feels a bit like playing a constant game of boomerang — every email you send, turns into an email you receive), a few years ago you may remember me mentioning something I called “wardrobe zero.”

When I moved back to the West Coast back in 2011, I went from having a large closet and an entire room just for my shoes, to a small free standing wardrobe + mini closet that rivals what you’d find in a New York City apartment. Initially, I stored extra clothes in large Rubbermaid bins in my Mom’s garage. But that gold old fast. For me, getting to wardrobe zero means having a functional wardrobe (including shoes) that fits entirely within my current closet space.

Well, almost three years later, it finally happened! I’ve always been good at pruning my wardrobe and consigning items, but over the summer I decided to take the challenge really seriously and sold over $500 worth of clothing, shoes and accessories using the Varage Sale app — a popular buy & sell site in Canada.

I sold approximately 1/3 of my wardrobe & it felt so good to let go of things I didn’t need anymore. While I still have a few items left to sell (when it’s safe to do so again), they fit inside my wardrobe in a way that doesn’t make me want to pull my hair out.

When I originally wrote this post, I also mentioned wanting to get to “Bookshelf Zero” but if we’re being honest, I didn’t take this goal seriously at all. I love to read and love to buy books — so much so, that I finally started a Bookstagram to document everything!

Last year, I did really well when it came to reading more from the library and buying less and ended up reading 62 books, total. With that said, I still have a whole bunch of books sitting on my TBR (to be read) shelf that I haven’t cracked open. So, in 2020 I’m going to focus less on numbers and more on getting through the backlog before I go out and buy a bunch of shiny new books.

I’m still reading a bunch from the library (a mix of ebooks and hard copies), but I’ve managed to make a dent in my TBR pile by shopping my own bookshelf. Here’s what I’ve read so far from my collection of unread books (not including ebooks):

  1.  Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce
  2.  Camgirl by Isa Mazzei
  3.  Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Diaz (mini review here)
  4. Highways and Dancehalls by Diana Atkinson
  5. The Pisces by Melissa Broder
  6. You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian
  7. A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley
  8. In My Humble Opinion: My So-Called Life by Soraya Roberts

…and here’s what still needs to be read.

  1. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
  2. The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
  3. The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai
  4. The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner (signed by author!)
  5. The Girls in my Town by Angela Morales
  6. The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Weijun Wang
  7. The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Mara
  8. Among the Wild Mulattos by Tom Williams
  9. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  10. Women Talking by Miriam Toews
  11. Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya
  12. Ordinary People by Diana Evans
  13. Know My Name by Chanel Miller
  14. The Skin Above My Knee by Marcia Butler
  15. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  16. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
  17. Logical Family by Armistead Maupin
  18. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  19. The Newcomers by Helen Thorpe
  20. Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: a Memoir by Anya Von Bremzen
  21. The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar
  22. Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick

Stay tuned and check Bookstagram for mini reviews!

While I generally read a lot digitally (my local library is great for new release ebooks), there’s something about reading from a paper book that I’ve found especially calming right now.

Whatever I read and don’t want to keep, will be passed on to a new home (once again, when it’s safe to do so). I’m hoping this project will help keep my book hoarding tendencies at bay.

Do you have a “to be read” shelf or pile? What do you do with books you’ve read and don’t want to keep? Do you have any quarantine reading projects? Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything from the links, I may receive a small commission that I will probably use to buy more Cadbury Cream eggs and gadgets for Joe the Intern. Thanks for supporting the blog! 

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