Top Social

How To Get Through A Bad Mental Health Day

I had a bad mental health day the other day. Like, really bad. As in, it was one of those ones where you hadn’t had one in a while and you almost thought you were done with them, and then out of the blue something happens and you’re literally just crying all day and wondering what you did wrong and you can’t identify your emotions because they’re just all one spiraling whirlwind that seems to have taken you like Dorothy to a very scary version of Oz (not that the one in the movie wasn’t scary at all! I mean, flying monkeys? Those are obviously different mental illnesses in disguise, trying to scoop you up).

Yes, I had one of those days. And to be honest, it really scared me. I won’t get into the details of what happened, but something really upset me, and even though I was trying to be strong, the depression, anxiety, and OCD, mixed with that low self-esteem and self-loathing came into play, and I felt worthless, and honestly, expendable. I pretty much just cried all day, with the thoughts of what happened repeating in my mind (thanks, OCD! You're the best! Not.) and the awful, negative thoughts that accompanied it. It was truly horrendous and one I don’t ever want to experience for a long, long time.

But the day after, when I’m writing this, and honestly, trying to recover and regroup from yesterday, it made me think: how did I get through yesterday? Because in all of it’s awfulness, it kind of seemed like a blur, and it made me wonder how on earth I got through it, and what I could have done to have helped myself out more. Yes, I was very upset and hurt and angry and depressed, which are all valid feelings, but how could I have helped identify my feelings and what I could have done calm myself so I could think and see things a bit more clearly and calm myself down so this one event didn’t take over my day (which it did) and I could have done a little less crying? (I am currently drinking lots of water in order to rehydrate myself. I lost a lot of water yesterday!)

So I’ve come up with my own plan (or tips or reminders, or whatever you would like to call them) for helping myself get through a bad mental health day (or a bad mental health moment or period of time. Like I said, you can call them what you like!). I hope I can use it in the future (though it can be hard to focus when you’re going through something that feels a lot like a breakdown), but I hope I can reference it in the future and that if you ever need some help during a bad mental health day, you can use some of these tips, too. I hope they’ll help us both! (Fingers crossed that we won’t need to use them very often!)

1. Talk To Your Support System, Whether That Be Friends, Family, Your Therapist/Mental Health Team, etc.
Just talking to another person about the things that have happened and what you’re feeling can be such a relief if you’ve been bottling it all up inside. You don’t have to suffer alone and you don’t have to get through this alone either. So please open up and talk it out if you can to someone you love and trust (there also shouldn’t be any shame in talking about what you’re going through!) and who can provide some love, support, calm, and good advice. (But if you’re feeling extremely depressed or like you could hurt yourself, please contact help right away)

2. Your Feelings Are Valid
Yes, it may seem like your emotions are out of control at the moment but all of your feelings stem from something that happened and you’re allowed to feel hurt, angry, upset, sad, anxious, depressed, irritable, or anything else. Try to identify what you’re feeling, and why you’re feeling that way. That will help break down the root cause of what caused you to get so upset. But remember, it’s okay to feel upset. You are human and that’s just how we feel sometimes. (Especially those of us with more sensitive mental health!)

3. But Your Negative Thoughts Are Not Valid (Don’t Believe Them!)
Feelings and emotions are different from your thoughts, especially your negative ones. Focus on your feelings and emotions, which are real, not your negative thoughts, which are not. Your negative thoughts can lead you into very bad places, so try as best as you can to battle these thoughts with reason and logic. Negative thoughts are just the bullies in your brain and they are not the truth. Ignore them and combat them by focusing on the good, including the good qualities in yourself and the good in your life. Kick those negative thoughts outta there! (Which I know I know can be difficult if you’re like me and have OCD, but try your best! I know you can do it!)

4. It’s Okay To Retreat and Cry It Out
You may not want to cry and explode, but sometimes that’s what your body needs to do to get all of this built up tension and frustration out of your body. I hate crying (yet I do it often), but I have to admit, sometimes if I let it all out, I feel really good afterwards. It also clears my head (although I do get a headache from all the crying, so please remember to drink lots of water if you do end up going on a crying spell) and I can start to think more clearly about why I’m so upset and what I can do to calm myself down so I can focus on either fixing the problem or, in some cases, just moving on from what happened.

5. You Will Be Okay
I promise you. It may not seem like it in the moment, but whatever upset you, or triggered you, can be dealt with or moved past. It just takes effort and time from you to get through this to the other side. These feelings and emotions aren’t forever! It just may not seem like it at the time, but I promise you that you will get through this.

I know I’m not a mental health professional, so these are only my suggestions, not professional advice (so please don’t take this as gospel, but talk to your own mental health provider about a specific plan for you during these bad days), but these tips really helped me and even writing them down and being reminded of them are reassuring to me for if/when my next bad mental health day comes (which I hope it doesn’t come for a long while! Fingers crossed, knock on wood! This one was enough for at least six months! Or longer!). I hope some of these tips/tricks/reminders/ideas can help you out if you’re going through a bad mental health day. Remember, you can and will get through these tough moments, and they do not define you. You’re stronger and braver than you realize. You may not think of it at that moment, but I hope you realize that it’s true.

And these were just a few ideas for getting through a bad mental health day (or moment or whatever you want to call it!). What do you do to get through these tough times? I know I could have included a lot on this list, from breathing exercises, to distraction (I’m all for distraction for a bit if it helps with the whirlwind of emotions/bad thoughts), but what would you recommend for a bad mental health day/moment? Let me know in the comments and let me know what you thought of my list! And thank you for reading and if you’re struggling, stay strong! You’ll get through this!

Pin It!

10 Nonfiction Books That Read Just Like Fiction!

Photo by Matias North on Unsplash
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through one of these Very Special Links, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Just a head's up!

In a world of nonfiction, I am, at heart, a fiction loving girl. I know, I know! But as much as I love fiction, sometimes there are some nonfiction books that are so interesting and absorbing, they read just like fiction. And the crazy part is, nonfiction books are true. No need for a made up plot twist because all of the things in these books actually happened. (Though you have to take into account the bias of the authors, etc. but still. The things in the books happened in real life, the authors just may portray it or explain it a different way, all depending on who’s telling the story) So it’s true what they say that truth is stranger than fiction. Or sometimes more fun! I’ve compiled a list of ten more of my favorite nonfiction reads, from the scary and serious, to the quirky and fun! If you’ve been waiting to dip your toe into the nonfiction pool, then I’m sure there will be something on this list for you. Give it a try, you never know what story from one of these books might affect you and interest you in a certain topic!

(Also, I am adding some trigger warnings before a couple of books that deal with difficult subject matters. While I highly recommend all of these books, if you are sensitive to any of the subject material mentioned, I would advise you to skip that book and read another one of my suggestions instead!)

If you haven’t read my first post about some of my other favorite nonfiction books that you should totally add to your reading list, you can read it here!

Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore

This book tells the untold stories of a group of girls from the 1910's and 20's, who worked at various watch dial painting factories, where they had to paint the dials with a glow in the dark paint made with- radium. At the time, radium was thought to be safe and a miracle cure for everything, but by constant exposure (and ingestion through the licking of their paintbrushes to keep the tips pointed for accuracy), the dial painters, who were all mostly young women in the prime and start of their lives, suddenly became stricken with horrible, unknown illnesses and painful death- all due to the deadly nature of radium. This book tells their story, the girls who are just spoken about as a collective of the casualties of the danger of radium, and breaths life and individuality into each and every woman. It also records the fights and lawsuits (that spanned years) that the girls, their families, and lawyers raised against numerous watch dial companies, who did everything in their power to deny these claims (and lie) and let woman after woman suffer and die, just to keep making money. A true story of science, injustice, history, and greedy business, mixed with courtroom drama, this book will engross you from start to finish.

Very Special Link: Buy Radium Girls on Amazon

*Trigger Warning for Mindhunter: Very violent and disturbing topics discussed throughout the book*

Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker

Gallery Books
Don’t read this when you’re house-sitting by yourself. Trust me. I know from experience. A true story by one of the FBI’s first psychological profilers of serial killers, this books the story of John Douglas, from his childhood, his interest in psychology, his career in the FBI, and how his and other's efforts to profile murderers who killed again and again (finally dubbed “serial killers”) and how they helped profile and help track down other serial killers (and hopefully help in the effort to prevent killers from killing. Nature vs. nurture, right?). With portions of the book dedicated to interviews and meetings with well known serial killers like Charles Manson and Ed Kemper, Mindhunter offers a disturbing but intriguing look at serial killers, their minds, and the hard work people at the FBI and law enforcement get into to protect the public and catch some seriously disturbed individuals. (Again, don’t read this when you’re house/dog-sitting and all alone. I learned that the hard way!)

Very Special Link: Buy Mindhunter on Amazon

*Trigger Warning for Boys and Sex: Topics of r*pe and s*xual assault discussed throughout the book*

Boys and Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, P*rn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity by Peggy Orenstein

If you haven’t read Peggy Orenstein’s fantastic book Girls and Sex, all about girls and the new lifestyle of sex and dating in the digital age, it’s a must read for every parent, and frankly, any person living in this modern technological world (aka right now). Ms. Orenstein is back with the male version of Girls and Sex, where she interviews boys this time, about their feelings about dating, sex, and more, but offers incredible insight into what it’s like for teenage and college age guys in today’s hookup culture. At times incredibly hard to read, but also incredibly important in this day and age, Boys and Sex is one of those books that has some very hard truths and stories to read but is so relevant and essential in this technological world where literally everything is constantly changing every part of our lives and the lives of the new generation too.

Very Special Link: Buy Boys and Sex on Amazon

Check out my review of Girls and Sex by Peggy Orenstein here!

Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garment Throughout History by Jennifer Wright

Andrews McMeel Publishing
Want to read a fun book about the deadly ways fashion could kill you back in the day, complete with illustrations and fun limericks? Then do I have the book for you! Killer Fashion is the perfect book for the fashionista/history buff who also has a morbid fascination with...well, things that could kill you. It’s a win-win-win! (For us fans of the strange, anyway!) Plus, it’ll give you a good jumping off point to any of these deadly fashions in history that you may want to learn about further! (I always knew scarves were suspicious and should not be trusted.)

Very Special Link: Buy Killer Fashion on Amazon

Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come: One Introvert's Year of Saying Yes by Jessica Pan

Andrews McMeel Publishing
Are you an introvert, like I am? Or are you an extrovert who just doesn’t understand what being an introvert is about? Well, I have the perfect book for all of you! In Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come, Jessica Pan decides to take her introverted ways and see if she can come out of her shell and live like an extroverted person (meaning saying “yes” for a year. Literally my worst nightmare). In a brand new city, she takes improv classes (so awkward), hosts a dinner party with new friends (terror), and even does stand-up comedy (the horror!!). In her book, Jessica writes about the triumphs and the failures of her adventures, and how they brought out new sides of her she didn’t even know she possessed. A truly inspiring tale, says me, an introvert who doesn’t have the courage to do most of the things Jessica did! (Stand-up comedy?? She is literally an introverted superhero! I could never!)

Very Special Link: Buy Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come on Amazon

Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen

Workman Publishing Company
Everyone hates taking medicine. But you know who had it way worse than you? Literally everyone before the 20th century! (And some may argue with that claim!) This book gives the history of some very strange, disgusting, odd, and just plain ol’ dangerous “cures” and medicines that doctors and physicians (and just random folks) throughout history have used to try to treat everything from colds to venereal disease. Both terrifying and fascinating, you’ll feel so grateful you live in the modern age and don’t have to be poked with lancets and have leeches stuck to your skin. Taking a pill doesn’t seem so bad compared to iron hot pokers and leeches, am I right?

Very Special Link: Buy Quackery on Amazon

*Trigger Warning: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes deals with subjects around death and trauma*

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

W.W. Norton & Company
Have you ever thought it would be like to work in a crematorium? Me either- until I read this book! You may know Caitlin Doughty from her YouTube channel, Ask a Mortician (which you should totally check out!). In her book/memoir, she talks about her job working at a crematorium, her thoughts and feelings about death (because you experience a lot when you’re incinerating dead bodies for a living), and how it led her to be the mortician she is today (with her own company that specializes in eco-friendly burial options, and personal and honest information for her clients in her own mortuary business). Not only is Caitlin an advocate for destigmatizing death and how we view it in its current funeral practices in Western culture, but she also is so personable and knowledgeable and frankly, funny, you’ll also want her to be your best friend. Read her book and you’ll know why! (Plus, you’ll probably start thinking about death in a more accepting, and less scared way. Which is a good thing overall, I think)

Very Special Link: Buy Smoke Gets In Your Eyes on Amazon

Bonus Caitlin Doughty books that I also highly recommend (also Very Special Links):

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions From Tiny Mortals About Death

Check out Caitlin’s YouTube channel Ask a Mortician, too!

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill

Back Bay Books
Have you ever wanted to time travel and live in another time? Time travel isn’t really a thing (at least not yet, according to some people), but if it was an option and you wanted to live in the Victorian ages and you are a woman, Unmentionable is the perfect (and historically hilarious) guide book for you! From how to be a proper lady, to the garments (under and over) you must wear, and how you must conduct yourself as a wife (most important), mother (next important), and woman (least important), this book will have you ready to time travel and be the oppressed, Victorian woman you know you always were deep down. (I mean, aren’t we all?)

Very Special Link: Buy Unmentionable on Amazon

This Is Gonna Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Medical Resident by Adam Kay 

Little, Brown Spark
Despite being incredibly squeamish about blood and gore, sometimes I just love reading about all things medical. And This Is Gonna Hurt, about a former physician in the U.K., is both fascinating, medically, but also incredibly hilarious and heart-felt. If you want to know what it’s really like to be a doctor, from school to officially saving lives in a hospital, and the toil and the heartbreak it brings upon you (but also the very funny stories. Human beings are incredibly stupid/hilarious), then this is the book for you. One of the best and funniest and deepest memoirs I’ve read and can’t recommend enough! (I even forced my dad to read it and I heard him belly laugh multiple times)

Very Special Link: Buy This Is Gonna Hurt on Amazon

Alphamaniacs: Builders of 26 Wonders of the World by Paul Fleischman and Art by Melissa Sweet

Candlewick Studio
Are you a lover of language? Do words, literature, and books amuse you and fill you with wonder? Then you need to read Alphamaniacs! It highlights 26 (as in how many letters there are in the English alphabet) people who have made their mark on language in all sorts of ways. From coming up with a less complicated alphabet to an even easier universal language (plural! People have come up with multiple universal languages that they thought could replace the complicated English language), history is full of industrious and witty people who love the written word and celebrate it by making it into complicated codes, the world’s smallest books, and more. Who knew that a mere 26 letters could create so much creativity, communication, and community? I didn’t! But I’m all the better now for knowing it!

Very Special Link: Buy Alphamaniacs on Amazon

And these were just some more of my favorite nonfiction books! I know they ranged from the very serious to the very frivolous, but I learned so much from all of them, and I hope you do too! (And that they entertain you, like they did for me, of course!) So if you’re a fiction lover who wants to get into nonfiction, maybe give one of these books a try! You could find your new favorite book right here on this list! (And if so, you’re very welcome!)

What are some of your favorite nonfiction books? Do you lean towards the serious and scary, or more of the fun and quirky? Let me know in the comments, and also what you thought of my suggestions! I’d love to hear from you!

Pin It!

The Liebster Award!

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash
I am so honored (and humbled and privileged and all of the fancy synonyms that one puts into their award acceptance speeches) to be nominated the Liebster Award! Out of all of the awards I’ve been nominated for (I know, I’m quite distinguished), this was one of the popular ones that I had always seen other bloggers be nominated for, but never myself. Always a bridesmaid and never a bride, right? (Which is literally true- I’m not married and I’ve been a bridesmaid four times. Ah well. Either I’ll get married someday or stay single forever. Which I’m cool with because I love cats, so don’t you worry about me!)

But now, my time has come! (Not for marriage, but for this award) Much thanks to my good friend Julie over at Dark Blue Journal for nominating me! If you haven’t heard of Julie and her amazing blog, she writes about sustainability, minimalism, the environment, and so much more! She writes in such a knowledgeable, yet eloquent, but also easy to read way, all at the same time that it’s kind of insane. So if you’re not reading her blog, you should! You’ll learn so much! Plus, she’s opened up her own Etsy store selling sustainable crocheted jewelry and it’s the prettiest eco-friendly accessories you’ll ever see. Check it out at Sattvic Arts!

So now, without further ado, is my Liebster Award blogging tag! I can’t wait to answer Julie’s (always) thoughtful and insightful questions and then nominate some people of my own and ask them my own (not so) thoughtful and insightful questions! Here we go!

If you haven’t read my previous blog post where I was nominated for The Real Neat Blogger Award, you can read it here!

Julie's Questions:

1. What’s your most philosophical take on life? Go crazy with it.

Ooh, this is a tough one! I think my most basic philosophical take on life (since I’m not really religious, more agnostic), is the golden rule. Treat others as you would want to be treated. I don’t know if karma is real, but I’d like to think that those who act out of kindness will somehow be rewarded for all of their good and selfless deeds (though it really doesn’t take much to be nice, in all honesty). Hopefully in this life, but if not in this one, maybe the next one (or the next and next after that if you believe in reincarnation. Again, I’m agnostic, I have no idea what’s going to happen after death!), and if not in any of those, maybe their good deeds and the wonderful memories of these people will be remembered in the hearts and minds of the people who knew them throughout the years, and will inspire others to be nice and spread that kindness around without wondering what’s in it for them. (But I seriously hope karma is real because I’d love to see all of the goodhearted people I know just be showered with an abundance of cash.)

2. What’s one good thing about the pandemic in your opinion?
One of the only good things I can come up with about this pandemic (because I can think of a lot of bad things about it!), is that it’s really made me appreciate what I have. Not only my physical things, like essentials, a roof over my head, food, Netflix, etc. But also more simple things, like my family. I’ve always whined and moaned because I’m not where I want to be in life right now (aka still living at home) but I’ve started to take it (“it” meaning being stuck at home because of a worldwide pandemic) as a sign to enjoy where I am in life, even if it’s not exactly where I want to be at the moment. So I’ve started really taking the time to… well, spend time with my family, because this pandemic has reminded me that nothing is forever and the time we have is precious. If I’m going to sit with my family and enjoy a movie, I am going to be present, not on my phone, and make some memories. Since we’re stuck at home, it’s the little things that count, the things that make us laugh, like watching the cats or a silly movie, or just chatting and telling stories, that makes me really appreciate having this time with them. Because right now life is uncertain, and my family, for all of its quirks and annoyances, are always those crazy people I can rely on and take comfort in during these difficult times. (Though I could really use some space from them right now. Love them so much though!)

3. If you can go anywhere right now, where will it be? Why?
London, England. Always London! (Or just England in general!) In case you didn’t know, I’m a bit of an Anglophile! (Blame the Harry Potter books for starting it all) I had always wanted to go to London and when I finally went four years ago, it was just a magical experience. I think I really just love the history of the country. It’s so old and history is literally just oozing out of every building. I also love the accents and the fact that it’s such a rainy country (I live in the desert, so, can you really blame me for wanting what I can’t have?). If I had the chance to be in London right now (minus the pandemic!), I would be going to all of the museums, tea shops, parks, country towns, historical sites, and taking all of the tours! It’s a city where there’s so much to see and do, you’ll never get tired of it! (Plus, easy access to the rest of Europe, so England is kind of a wonderful gateway country)

4. If I tell you that you’re perfect the way you are and you should accept yourself, warts and all. What will you say to me?
I’d say shut your mouth! I’m just kidding, Julie! But in all honesty, I’d have a very difficult time believing that. I’ve always suffered from low self-esteem, so hearing that from someone and then trying to accept it, would be so mind-boggling for me. I think if I heard someone like Julie say that to me, knowing that she wouldn’t lie and say that to just be nice, I’d actually have to mull it over and really think: “am I perfect the way I am? Should I accept myself?” It would definitely make me think and I’d probably answer with: “Thank you for saying that. I’m going to make an appointment now with my therapist because this has sent me into a weird mental state that I really can’t make sense of and is making me question everything I’ve ever thought about myself.” Just being honest! (Though I really would love to accept and believe that one day!)

Whew, Julie’s questions were so good! I know my questions can’t be as great as her’s, but I’m definitely going to try to make mine a bit interesting and fun to answer, as best as I can:

My Questions:

1. What is the first fun thing you want to do after the pandemic is over?
2. If you became famous, what would it be for?
3. A genie grants you three wishes (lucky you!)- what are your wishes?
4. What’s one quality you like about yourself and why?

My Nominees:

Camila @ Plaid and Sugar
Anne @ Rooting Branches
Deandra @ The Black Princess Diaries
Payton @ In the Flux
Ash @ ThisDreamsAlive

(As always to the bloggers I've nominated, if you're not into tags, or have already done this tag before, don't feel any pressure to do it! I just nominated you all because I think you're all amazing! Also, to anyone reading this, please check out all of these amazing people's blogs! Trust me, you're going to love them!)

And that was my Liebster Award blog post! It was so much fun to write and very, very thought-provoking! (Thanks for that Julie! I don’t think my questions quite measure up to yours, haha. But I tried! I want that written on my tombstone: “She tried.”) What did you think of Julie’s questions and what did you think of my answers? How would you have answered them? Also, have you ever been nominated for the Liebster Award? Let me know in the comments!

Pin It!

A Bookworm’s Whatever Is The Opposite of a Book Haul - My Minimalism Journey, Part 3

Photo by That Weird Girl Life
You may think that as a bookworm, that I’m also a book collector. And in the past that’s been true. But as I’ve been trying to be more minimalistic and less materialistic, I decided to take a look at an aspect of my life which I love and apply minimalism to it: books!

A Bookworm Waxes and Wanes About Their Love of Books

If you know anything about being a book lover, books are everything. Some people have switched to e-books or audiobooks, which is just fine (whatever keeps you reading! You do you, fellow bookworms!), but for me, there’s nothing like the feeling of opening up a book you’ve never read before, or smelling the pages of a brand new book, or even an old one (so musty and full of memories of the readers that have come before you and have turned those pages and discovered the story just like you are now!). Even seeing the spines of my books line my (multiple, but small) bookshelves brings me joy, knowing that stories I love or have yet to read are all there just waiting for me, to take me on adventures and stories well-known, or untold..

Have I convinced you that I’m an avid book reader yet? If so, then if that last paragraph didn’t convince you, I’m not sure anything will.

But moving on!

To Keep These Books Or Not (THAT Is The Question)

As a bookworm, you may be wondering why I want to start going through my books, to see what I want to keep and what I want to give away. And the answer is simply this: I’m running out of room.

I’m kidding! (But not really!) I really wanted to take that aspect of minimalism that by having less things, makes you appreciate them more, and apply that to my book collection. So I started asking myself those questions that one always asks when you’re thinking about getting rid of stuff (but this time applied it to books):

Is it a favorite book?

Am I ever going to reread it again? (Very important!)

Would I recommend it to someone else and let them borrow it? (But they better effing return it or else! I still remember every single person who hasn’t returned one of my books. Sigh. They know who they are!)

Am I keeping a book out of nostalgia (not because it was good) or because it was a gift (aka because I feel guilty about giving it away)?

My goal for asking all of these questions was to figure out: which books mean the most to me and which ones do I want to keep? And which ones can I say goodbye to?

(Also, please don't think that getting me rid of books makes me anti-book! I still love books, I just don’t want to be an endless collector of ones that I don’t love and don’t ever read. I’d hate to think that I’m keeping books that I don’t read that someone else could be reading and enjoying! Hence why I’m giving them away to people who will hopefully love them better than I do/did! Books are so wonderful you just gotta sometimes share them and give them a new home!)

Also, these questions led me to my favorite part of the decluttering process: going through my books and reading them (or rereading in some cases)!

You may remember that in my first declutter/minimalism journey post (which you can totally read here), I went through my DVD collection and watched a few of the movies I was unsure of, to see if I really wanted to keep them or not. I decided to do the same for some of the books I picked just to make sure I wasn’t giving away a book I really, really enjoyed and then wished I should have kept. In a lot of these cases, I’ve had these books for years and haven’t read them in years. And for most of the books, I’ve only read them once, at different points in my life, and decided that I liked them enough to keep them. But much like my movie collection, where I also bought movies at different points in my life, my tastes and and even life experiences have changed what I liked or what I related to. It was now time to go back through some of my old favorites to see if they were still favorites or if they were just book phases I was going through.

Photo by That Weird Girl Life
Deciding What I Want to Keep Vs. What I Want to Give Away, Featuring An Example Or Two

One great example of this is when I was first going through my books and my eyes stumbled upon Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler. I remember reading the book years ago and being so affected by it. At the time, I had gone through a couple of break-ups as a young adult, and being young and hurt, Min’s letter to Ed spoke so true to me at the time. It was both painful and eloquent, as only the words of a teenage girl’s can be (as written by the fantastic Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket). For some reason though, when I decided to reread it, I was positive I was going to give it away afterwards. Why? I just figured that my young, love-obsessed teenage self was over all the drama of teenage break-ups and wouldn’t be able to relate. I’m an adult now, after all.

I then went on to reread the book after years of just remembering bits and little parts from the book. But what surprised me the most is how emotional I felt while reading it. I may not be a lovestruck teen anymore, but I felt and remembered how hurt you can be from a first love, that “us against the world” vibe every teenage couple goes through, and how much I could still relate to how much a breakup can turn your world upside down and also how much you can learn from it too. So, surprisingly, I decided to keep it! Even though I may not be that young heartsick Emily that I was when I first read the book, it still had an impact on me when I read it, just a different one now that time has roughened me (I kid. Or do I? I swear my heart is slowly turning to stone).

Another example of the opposite kind is when I reread I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. I actually read this book way before The Book Thief was popular (I’m such a book hipster!), and I remembered loving it. I thought it was so deep and different. So when I saw it at a used bookstore, I took that opportunity to pick up a copy. And then didn’t read it for years! Obviously it was time for me to reread it and see how amazing it was.

And it was... okay. Not as great as I remembered. The book had a great sense of humor to it, and was thought-provoking and could be quite poignant at times, but the overall story and then the end completely depleted the story for me, and I left feeling more meh than inspired than I had before. Into the give away pile it goes! (Sorry, Markus!)

A Brief Soliloquy About How Magical I Find Books 

But it really makes me wonder about the power of books: how they can make such an amazing impression on us at one time, and may still years later, but they could also fall flat on a repeated reading. It’s like the magic of the written word only works at one time, or else the magic stays with that book and person forever. Maybe a new way to think about these books should be One Time Books, books that leave an impression on you the first time you read them, at the right exact time, but you can’t relate after you’ve gone through what you went through, and Forever Books, books you read at the perfect time, and still continue to cast a spell on you whenever you read it, no matter how many times you’ve read it. (Can we make this a thing? I feel like I’ve discovered something and that this theory needs to be shared!)

Photo by That Weird Girl Life
(Okay, Now Back to Business)

But now onto the books in my collection that I decided to give away! This is only my first sweep (I’m sure there will be many more! I have quite a few books in my collection), but it took me a little bit. I mean, reading books takes a bit more time than watching movies! Most of these books I reread and enjoyed, but decided that I didn’t need to own them. They just weren’t going to be ones I’m going to turn to again and again to read out of comfort or nostalgia or adventure. But I know that I can always reread them via the library, e-books, or even by borrowing them from a friend. But I am grateful to (most of) these books for the adventures, distractions, and good stories and characters that they entertained me with. (Though some of these books were kind of stinkers and I don’t thank them for being sort of time wasters. Ahem. To each their own and they just weren’t my taste. And I will be nice and not point out the titles of the books I didn’t like! I’m very benevolent that way. You’re welcome, authors!)

List of Books I’m Giving Away:

Winter Girls by Laurie Halse Anderson
I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson
Sold by Patricia McCormick
The Minister’s Daughter by Julie Hearn
The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Newt Scamander: A Movie Scrapbook by Rick Barba
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Wells
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crime of Grindenwald Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
Planet Cat by Sandra Choron, Harry Choron, and Arden Moore
How They Choked: Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg

Photo by That Weird Girl Life
And with that, I now have gotten rid of (or am going to get rid of) 17 books! I didn’t include a couple of advanced readers' copies that I received for free, since you’re not allowed to sell them (just donate!) and I need to find a good place to donate them where they won’t be sold. And who knows, maybe by the time this blog post is published, I’ll have added some more books to my “give away” pile!

For now, I have a solid start for going through my home library! I feel good knowing that I’m getting rid of books and that they’ll hopefully go to homes and owners where they’ll be loved and appreciated (as all books should be! I mean, not all books, but most books are good, with a few exceptions). And going through my books has also made me realize that in order to keep my collection nice and tidy and special, I need to stop my book impulse buying (as fun as it is!). A lot of the books I ended up giving away were the impulse buys I bought on a whim. Sometimes because the cover and description caught my eye, or maybe just because I was bored, had money to spend, and wanted something to read. Now, if I want to read a new book, I can always get it from the library (it’s free, baby!) or borrow it from someone else. And if I end up loving the book and feel like I can’t live without it until it’s in my personal library, then I can buy it! Plus, it’ll save me money and keep those times when I buy books special and a great moment when I can add a new book to my collection. I get so happy just thinking about it! Wheee!

My Tips For Decluttering Your Book Collection:
  1. Decide what books you want to keep by thinking about why you want to keep them. Also, are you ever going to read them again? (The answer should be yes!) Or are they just taking up space and collecting dust? Decide what you want your library to be like (aka filled with books you love and want to read) and then start decluttering!
  2. It’s okay to reread a book if you’re unsure about keeping or getting rid of it. I actually highly recommend it! Your opinion of it may have changed, good or bad, so it’s good to be reminded of the story, the characters, and the writing. You never know, a book you thought was so-so could be much better than you remembered! Or it could be just the opposite and you need to say bye-bye to a book you once thought was awesome but now just falls flat.
  3. Think about what you want to do with the books you don’t want anymore so they don’t pile up and gather dust (again). Consider all the options: donation (thrift stores, charities, your local library, schools, prisons), selling or trading them (online or at your local used bookstore), or even just giving them away to a friend or family member who’s going through a reading slump! A certain book may not be for you, but it could be the perfect book for someone else! (But remind your friend that if they don’t want to keep the books, to pass them along or donate them once they’re done!)
  4. Just because you decluttered your books once doesn’t mean that this is the last and only time you’re going to go through your books! You will most likely go through them several times over the course of your life, because if you’re a bookworm like myself, you’re probably going to acquire lots of books over your lifetime (from gifts, impulse buys, and when you buy a book you think you love but then you change your mind. It happens, trust me, I understand). So don’t be afraid to go through your books every once in a while and give your bookcase(s) a spring cleaning/decluttering!
  5. Beware of impulse buying! Try borrowing books from the library or a friend before you decide to buy a book. Knowing that you love the book and that you want to read it again before you buy it will definitely help keep your collection from getting too cluttered and filled with books you don’t really care for or will ever read again.
Photo by That Weird Girl Life
And this was my first foray into the world of decluttering my book collection! (Well, not really, but the first time I’ve documented it) Trust me, I still have a lot of books in my library (I know that 17 books doesn’t seem like a lot to give away considering how many books that I have left, but it’s still impressive to me!), but now I know that a lot of these books that I have left are still special to me and that I’ll still want to read them again in the future (or let others borrow them. Again, they better give them back! I forgive, but I never forget!). I can’t wait to do another decluttering book rereading session in the future. Basically, it’s just another excuse for me to read, and I’m not mad about that!

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever gone through your own library collection and how it went! What books did you give away and why? Did you reread any of the books to determine which ones you wanted to keep? Also, what tips would you give others who wanted to declutter their book collections? Let me know in the comments and what you thought of my post! (Aka my ramblings!)

Pin It!