About Melissa Schmalenberger

Posts by Melissa Schmalenberger:

3

Books Are Clutter Too

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on February 24, 2015 in Uncategorized |

 

I am a self proclaimed book lover. I was an English major in college. I belong to book clubs. I have a basement full of books. But my book shelves runneth over. Looking at my books I know I have to make another big sweep. I want to get rid of all of the bookcases in our basement and create a bar. In order to do that I need to make some tough book donation decisions.

 

I have gone through my cookbooks a few years ago and I only kept a few. This was an easy process for me as I usually find and store all of my recipes online. But now come the books. I have already pared them down over the years by getting rid of the paperback ones as that was an easy step for me. Now I recognize that I need to get rid of even more and make a jump into the hardcover ones.

 

The art of downsizing and becoming a minimalist isn’t always easy. I recognize the fact that I need to shed some books. I come from a family of book lovers. One whole wall in my parents house is bookshelves. I have a section in my basement dedicated to books. But I see my current habits of not returning to those books and they just sit on the shelves collecting dust that someone has to dust.

 

I am currently participating in an organizing challenge to get rid of 40 bags in 40 days. The time frame is lent and I am surprisingly having no shortage of finding a bag a day to get rid of. I think if my focus is on my books for the last two weeks of lent I could easily fill 14 bags.

 

But where do you start?

 

Books you will read again: These are the classics that you always turn to when you are in a reading slump. My husband has a whole set of sci fi books that he reads over and over again, or so he tells me. These are the books you keep.

 

Sentimental books: There will be a few books that you read to your children or were a part of your childhood that you can’t part with. Be mindful of the memory that they hold and keep only the very special ones.

 

Books you won’t read: Sometimes we have all the intentions in the world to read a book but it never happens. If you keep passing up the same stack of unread books, now is the time to get rid of that stack. Donate the stack without guilt, just get it out of your home.

 

Books you won’t finish: One of my New Year’s resolutions has been to read a book a week. So far I am on target but one of the ways I am making it through a book a week is I am going and reading books I haven’t finished. You know the ones that have the last 50 pages that you had the best of intentions to finish. It is surprising how many of those books I have. The good news is now I can donate those books when they are complete. If you look at those books and have no desire to finish, you now have another set of books to donate!

 

Donate all the paperback books: I did this a few years ago and it was easy for me to do as most of them did not hold sentimental value for me. I didn’t have to think emotionally about a book. If it was a paperback I donated it. I rid myself of a couple of boxes this way. For you it may be get rid of all the hardcover ones. It was a simple way to divide my books without thinking too much.

 

Visit your library: Chances are the book you are looking for can be found at your local library. Dust off your library card and start checking out your books again. Many libraries also allow you to check out eBooks so you can even check out a book in the middle of the night.

 

Limited space: Find a space to store your books and only allow what can fit in that space. Once it is full, some books need to go. You suddenly will be faced with making choices.

 

Pull out 20: If you could only take 20 books with you, which ones would they be? Start with those 20 books and work around donating the rest. When you have to choose your most favorite you will begin to realize that the rest don’t matter nearly as much.

 

Go on a book diet: Simply stop buying books. If I hear of a good book I download a sample to my Kindle. That is a way for me to remember the recommendation without purchasing the book. When I am ready for a new book I already have a list ready to go.

 

Give with purpose: I maintain that if you can find a donation place that resonates with you, you are more likely to donate. Find a school, friends of the library, assisted living facility or women’s shelter, that will gladly take your gently loved books and it will fill your soul up. I see “Little Free Libraries” all over my town. I may take a drive and start dropping them off. I just need to remind myself to not bring any new ones home!

 

So join me in sorting and donating your books. I realize books are like children and it is hard to decide to get rid of them. But remember they served a purpose one day and you read them. Now is the time to find a home where others can enjoy reading them.

 

To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,

MS. Simplicity

 

Serving the Fargo-Moorhead area as well as North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Also seeking new representatives for Clever Container in all areas of the country.

 

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Make Time

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on February 17, 2015 in Family, life, Moms |

  If I were to look at your calendar right now would I be able to figure out what type of person you are? When my kids were young my life revolved around theirs. My day started before they woke up and ended when they went to sleep. I was a school volunteering queen, because […]

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Use It Or Lose It

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on February 10, 2015 in Family, Food, life, Moms |

When did I become known as the handmade soap collector? I looked in my bathroom drawer the other day and I saw 9 bars of beautiful soap that I have received as gifts. I use the soap in my bathroom but one bar has lasted 6 months. At the rate I was going I was going […]

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The Perfect Client

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on February 3, 2015 in Family, life, Moms |

When I receive an email or phone call from a potential client I never know what I will get when I accept them as a client. My one requirement is that they must want to change. Usually by the time they contact me they are ready to change. If they are forced to contact me […]

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Evolution Of The Family Meal

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on January 27, 2015 in Uncategorized |

When we bought our house we were intentional by not putting a television upstairs. People visit and comment on the fact that the television is missing. We had three young sons and we wanted to make sure that family meal time stayed sacred. We knew that a television would be stiff competition for our attention. […]

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Leaving A Life Of Simplicity

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on January 20, 2015 in Family, life, Moms |

  This post is dedicated to all of you baby boomers out there who are struggling with all of your possessions as well as the possessions of your parents and your in-laws and maybe even that childless aunt or uncle. You have been entrusted as the family keeper of memories. You are not sure how […]

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An Organized Bon Voyage

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on January 13, 2015 in Family, life, Moms |

  Travel for me is an easy thing to do…. when I am by myself. If things go wrong I just go with the flow and just brush it aside. But when I am planning a trip for many of us and spending lots of money it adds to the pressure, so I work really […]

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Keeping It Simple and Perfect

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on December 29, 2014 in Family, Food, Holidays, life, Moms |

Now that the dust, pine needles, sugar high, gift tearing frenzy is over I can take time to applaud myself and say that the holiday I designed this year was perfect for me. Did I just say it was for me? Yes that is right. We design holidays for other people and what we imagine […]

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New Year, New You?

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on December 22, 2014 in Holidays, life, Moms |

I have to admit that my favorite time of year is the end of the year. I always take time to reflect on how great the current year has been and what I can do to improve the incoming year. I tell people that New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday as it is one of […]

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Time, Time, Time

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on December 16, 2014 in Family, Holidays, life |

What does this time of year mean to you? We are told what it is suppose to look like when we watch television commercials or see advertising. It is a two parent family gathered around a tree overflowing with gifts. But what I have found is that for the majority of us that is not our reality. […]

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