I hate domestic upheaval. A lot. When I was single I preferred, and mostly achieved, domestic organisation. Then in 1997 I went to live in the United States. Everything I owned was boxed and stored for twelve months. When I returned some of it was unpacked, but a lot of books weren’t. I got married in early 1999. This was a GOOD thing. My wonderful wife, Marianne, sent an entire ship full of stuff to Australia which was promptly unloaded into the garage of our rental unit at the time. It then went into the store room of the first house we rented late, when we first heard we were having a baby, and then into the room of doom when we moved again. In late 2002 we bought the house we now live in and it all went into the enormous room at the front of our house. For six years.
A sensible couple would, after three years of living together, have merged their possessions and culled the excess. We did not. Things were boxed; they went into what is now the lovely lounge in our front room. And during all this time, from 1999 to 2002 I was book reviewing. Free books rained down upon me in a way they no longer do. From 2002 till now the arrival of review copies has slowly tapered off, offset somewhat by Marianne and I continuing to buy books. Those books have gone into cupboards, on top of shelves, anywhere they could. They have not, since probably mid-2002 been integrated and Marianne’s books have never been fully integrated with mine. Now, we did do something of a cull of the books last year, around June. These all went to a friend who was starting up a second-hand book business, but we didn’t attempt organisation or anything like it, and there were still fifteen cartons of books stacked in the corner of my office (I will post photos later).
Well, yesterday at around 9am, filled with fear, Marianne and I commenced culling the book collection and organising it. We went through the six large book cases in the front lounge room, the four large book cases in the family room (two are full of kids’ stuff), the seven large book cases in my office, the two small ones in our bedroom, and the fifteen boxes in my office too. My brother came over to join us at around 7pm last night. By the time he left we had located all of the ‘A’ format mass market paperbacks, sorted them into alphabetical order, re-culled them, and then shelved them. We need to get some more shelving this morning, but that part is done. Today we’ll head over to IKEA for the additional shelves, then we need to integrate the hardcovers, re-cull them, and re-shelve them. This is made both easier and harder because about half of the hardcovers (mostly my old collection) are all alphabetised and shelved. We need to get all the others together, sort and alphabetise them, cull them, then integrate and shelve them. Yay.
To say this has been painful is an understatement. Just a day after the house was cleaned and we had the ‘appearance’ of order, we have relative chaos. We’re going to have chaos for at least another day or so. By Monday, though, we should have all of the books sorted, ordered and culled. We have friends coming over Sunday afternoon who might want to buy some of the books. After that they get boxed and stored until our second-hand bookshop friend has another look (that won’t be till June, though).
Oh, and the copy-edited manuscript of an anthology arrived in my email needing checking just this morning, I have a batch of Locus editing to do, and there’s taxes too. I guess holidays are over.