It's okay. Just recycle it.
I manage our condo's community library. Once a week, I review all the books and magazines that have accrued since my last check. Most of the material is great stuff worth leaving for others to view. Sometimes, however, I collect a big stack of stuff to chuck in our recycling bins. Usually, it's just a few outdated magazine issues or paperbacks in awful shape. Occasionally, however, someone will drop off a massive stack of material that has no purpose in being on the bookcase.
Those stacks are often composed of one of the following:
I've lost count of how many times I've had to lug twenty pounds of back issues of a single magazine title to our trash room. There is something in particular about the readership of these two magazine titles - they seem unable to just toss them in the recycling bin. It's always these two titles that are donated en masse.
I am here to tell you, as a former preservation librarian, that it is okay to recycle these items. Really! I mean it!
In my day job as an academic librarian, we often get calls asking if we take donations of these items. We don't. We don't want them. No library wants them. One of my former library school professors worked at National Geographic. They got calls regularly where people wanted to donate an entire archive of issues of their own magazine. Trust me when I say, they already have plenty of copies.
When unsolicited donations of these materials show up, it actually costs a library money to weed through and dispose of them. Donations are not free. It takes not only staff time and work space but also funds to recycle or trash large amounts of material. Even great items are not cost-free. Material must be sorted to see if it's friend sale worthy or, rarely, worth adding to the collection. If an item is to be added to a library's shelves, it has to be cataloged, barcoded, labeled, and, finally, placed in the stacks.
As a fellow book lover and reader, I understand the fear when it comes to tossing out books. We attach emotions to these items in our memories of reading them. We want to share those memories with others. We don't want to dispose of them like regular garbage. It's just so hard to do.
But, as a librarian, I'm here to tell you that it's okay. It's okay to throw away damaged, wet, or moldy books. It's okay to recycle old paperbacks, magazines, and outdated manuals.
Really. I promise.
The librarians will thank you.
The Weekly Wrap: February 26, 2023
The Husband and I both have a habit of starting conversations when one of us is trying to go to bed. Something about the clock striking 11 PM drives us to have these deep and productive exchanges. We could have said nary a word to one another all night and - BAM - I start brushing my teeth and we decide we need to talk.
This week, just as I was starting my bedtime process, the Husband brings up a "homework" assignment he has for a work event. He needs to list the top three people he sees as leadership models. That led to us chatting about possibilities and me Googling many ideas. We discussed pros and cons, how options could be perceived, and which leaders actually "felt" like my husband. Before you know it, it was midnight and I really needed to go to bed.
This happens about every two weeks. We've discussed work, parenting, politics, local happenings, travel, emotions, and just life issues. I have no idea what causes us to wait until bedtime to hold these conversations, but I kind of love them. It's when we connect and communicate on a deeper level that goes beyond, "So, how was your day?"
Maybe there's something about the dark quiet hours that keeps this time sacred. Whatever the reason, I'm just glad we talk.
I keep a candy bowl on my desk. It's there for anyone who needs a little sweet treat. I've noticed that the supply has been dwindling faster than my sole intake. I'm not sure who is having nibbles, but I'm glad they are. It makes me happy to know that others are getting enjoyment out of something so simple.
Here's what else made me happy this week:
The Now: February 22, 2023
I had several meetings and webinars I needed to attend today. They were scattered all over my calendar. The gray weather also meant that my brain just didn't want to work. That made it hard to concentrate on anything in particular. By 9:15AM, I declared today to be a "clear out tasks" day. Those days are when I focus on the tiny little things I've been putting off. They don't take long by themselves but, together, they fill a work day without requiring me to use too much deep brain power.
Here's what I've been focusing on when my brain is working:
Now On My TBR
I cannot wait for September so I can read the last book in this post.
You can see my complete TBR list on Pinterest.
*Items featured here are Bookshop.org affiliate links.
The Weekly Wrap: February 19, 2023
One thing I'm trying to do this year is simplify. That means unfollowing and unliking things on social media, reducing the number of newsletters I read, clearing out the list of websites I check daily, and other "reduction" activities. It also means trying to care less about certain things. Unfollowing something is easy. Not caring is much harder.
For example, my pictures auto-backup to Amazon. It's a great service that preserves my images if I lose my laptop. Plus, I can share things with family. Occasionally, however, photos get duplicated. When I got a new laptop and installed Amazon photos, almost everything duplicated. In the past, I would go through and dedupe everything. Now, I'm trying to ask myself, "Why? What is the purpose and benefit of doing it?" The purpose is that I like things neat and tidy. Duplicates make me itchy. But, the benefit? There is none. Now, instead of systematically removing duplicates, I'm trying to just let them be. It's hard, but it's saving me so much time. I expect that I'll get used to the new way of doing things over the coming months.
Another example is in my Mint account. Every quarter or so, my husband and I balance our books. That usually means I send him a few lump sum payments to cover shared expenses. In Mint, I used to split those payments out by budget categories. It would take some time to do correctly. Then I asked myself, "What is the benefit of doing this?" There wasn't any! We don't do budgeting by category. I was just making more work for myself. So, I stopped.
On my simplification journey, letting go is hard. It's really hard to stop doing things as they have always been done. In asking myself to find an actual benefit, it has become easier to start saying no to myself.
How do you stop doing things?
My colleagues and I had a grand time on our internal chat this week. The conversation was witty and hilarious. One bit included someone sharing an image of rubber duckies with evil mustaches. What did this have to do with work? Not a thing! But that's what made it fun. I work with a great bunch of people.
Here's what made me happy this week.
I am super excited to read this book every night. It's your basic YA fantasy novel but I'm loving it. McEwan's story blends a lot of Sarah J. Maas, some Suzanne Collins, and a bit of Game of Thrones. The lead character is a feisty young woman who could be TSTL if she didn't have the skills to back it up. Sadly, I spoiled the ending by reading the promo for the next book in the series, but I am still excited to see how the author gets there.
Earlier this week, I polished off Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien. Happy to report that it looks like the author will avoid the trope of a romantically indecisive heroine. I love this series so much that the next book is already available for me to pick up at the library.
The Now: February 15, 2023
Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Our kiddo came home from school with a small bag of delights from her her classmates. It was a mix of homemade cards, commercial valentines, and little toys. I remember the days of those little cardstock cards in school and I wish I had the forethought to give some to my colleagues. I think it would be fun to drop off a cheesy, mass-produced card for everyone. Maybe next year.
Here's what else has my attention:
The Weekly Wrap: February 12, 2023
Every now and then, I get the urge to rejigger some of my productivity methodology.
I've got the urge right now and I'm trying to take advantage of the fact that I am an Inbox Zero person. I can't stand when there are items in my inbox. I really can't stand when I "flag" those items as urgent.
I'm jumping on this reaction as a way to help me to tackle monthly tasks that I put off constantly. For example, cleaning my makeup brushes. That should happen monthly. (Probably a lot more often, actually.) But, I always put it off because it's one of those needle tasks that doesn't seem all that important in the moment.
Now, for tasks like this, I create a recurring calendar alert. Not only do I see the task on my calendar, it sends me an email as a reminder. I then flag that email as urgent. My itchiness at having things linger in my inbox has kept me on top of these small to do items. Plus, I get an extra burst of joy when I delete the reminder email once the task is done.
What productivity tricks work for you?