In which I downsize the collection.
Hello, my name is Rachée and I hoard cookbooks.
It started innocently enough; borrowing books from the library, drooling over the possibilities but never quite buying cookbooks for myself. Instead of buying a cookbook, something that seemed indulgent, I would download recipes that I needed from the web and that was that.
However, a trial experience with the Blue Apron service and the cooking classes I started taking made creating recipe seem possible. Instead of recipes with ingredients that felt so out of reach, preparing a meal didn’t feel like a chore. Knowing a little bit about the science of cooking and meal prep made me more willing to experiment in the kitchen.
That’s when I started acquiring cookbooks. Mostly through used books sales and garage sales. A quarter for a book felt like a deal. If I didn’t use the book, no big. If I tried one or two recipes, winning! Blogging allowed me some books and recipes that I would probably never think to buy for myself and by then, I was hooked. Everybody started giving me books. My family would gift me with books. Friends would pass on books they thought I would like. I was always grabbing books being weeded from the library and I would jump on offers of books from the Buy Nothing groups I belong to.
When Buffy and I were doing a food blog, you would have thought part of hosting a blog compelled me to have cookbooks. I didn’t use a lot of them, just grabbed them because I could.
Seeing all of the cookbooks lying about the house, piled up on the floor and cluttering the counter made me happy. I might not have cooked everything but the possibility was there. I was on a mission to collect all of the books!
But , lately I look at all of the cookbooks lying about the house, piled up on the floor and cluttering the counter and it’s overwhelming. Having so much stuff isn’t making me feel happy. It’s actually quite stressful. I look at the piles of books and feel like I should be making something BUT I look at all of the books and there are TOO MANY CHOICES!!
During lockdown, I had this idea of clearing all of the clutter but really couldn’t get it together to do so. Between work, family matters and, a got dang pandemic, well, I was a little preoccupied. Slowly, slowly, we’ve been revisiting the idea of clearing all of the things that are not sparking joy.
Today I spent several hours going through my books. Some were easy to say goodbye to. Others required a few flips through and input from The Bee or The Librarian as to whether we should keep or let go. The result: books to be donated to a local library book sale (circle of life and all that jazz), some local Little Free Libraries, and a few are being sent to new homes.
It’s a start. Tonight I did use a recipe from one of the books to make a cake (my baking skills leave much to be desired) and I have a menu for an upcoming Souper Sunday.
I used to think that having “the most toys” meant I would be happy but now I realize that too much stuff is too much. I usually spend hours thinking about what make for dinner only to make something from a recipe I’ve already memorized. Tonight I did use a recipe from one of the books to make a cake (my baking skills leave much to be desired) and I have a menu for an upcoming Souper Sunday.
Looking at the downsized cookbooks have given me some satisfaction. I have some favorites but also rediscovered a few titles that were lost in the shelves. I’m hoping to spend a few hours each week downsizing and decluttering. I want to create a home not full of chaos (can’t have anyone over syndrome) and be ready for family and friends to visit (Rachtober is coming!)
Tell me your tips for downsizing and clearing the clutter. I need all of the help I can get.