Living – Cookbooks
My bookshelf is comprised of 8 deep shelves. That looks nice but leaves a lot of space to collect clutter in. Books are never as deep as the shelves, so I tend to fill each shelf with books standing upright and create piles of more books in front of them.
The upper 4 shelves were originally reserved for cookbooks and the lower 4 for fiction. Last I looked a few weeks ago, the fiction had spread to the cookbook section, and it all looked a right mess.
I can live with such messes for quite a long time, then – as happened the other week – I see it and have to do something about it. Right away. The danger here for me is that I pull it all out, realise it’ll take a while to sort through it, do a bit and then leave it all lying around for another day. That was not going to happen this time.
I started with the fiction – I never read a book twice, because on page 3 at the very latest I remember everything, so it’s boring. I do keep books from two or three authors, though, and those would stay. The unread ones would stay as well, of course, the rest was to be split into 2 piles: one for my friend and one for the library. This task was pretty quickly done, I cannot say the same for the cookbooks, though.
Most of my cookbooks serve as inspiration. I very rarely use the complete recipes from them. I also realised that it’s always the very few same ones I go back to. In the end, I had to make 3 piles: The ones I really use as well as newer ones I haven’t had a chance to use yet would stay. The second pile was for very old ones that I either never used or contained only 1 or 2 recipes I like to use; I ripped out those recipes and the books went into the recycling bin. The ones that were still good went into another bag for the library. That left pile number 3, which would be the most difficult one.
This pile contained books that had tons of post-its stuck in them. I went through all the post-it pages to see if those recipes still spoke to me; if in the end no post-its were left, the book would have to go. I ended up with quite a large number of books I still wanted to try recipes from. They went back on the bookshelf on the condition that I have to work through the bookmarked recipes within one year, and if I still haven’t made those recipes by then, the books will have to go as well.
It feels really good to have a well stocked but uncluttered bookshelf. The challenge will be to keep it that way…