This morning I struggled through piles of clutter to find the alarm and shut it off. I sat on the edge of my bed, the early light from the window spotlighting the top of my bedside dresser. How had the clutter gotten so bad?
We all live with a certain amount of clutter without even noticing it, but there comes a time when the scales fall from your eyes and you can’t help but be shocked.
I have two options, I thought. I can ignore it until it again ceases to bother me, or I can re-arrange my to-do list today to include cleaning off this dresser. Summing up the situation, I quickly realized that if I put it off too much longer it wouldn’t just be the alarm I couldn’t reach. I would have trouble turning the lamp on and off too.
So I set about clearing that dresser right off. Shouldn’t take too long, after all it’s mostly just a bunch of books. However, this turned out to be harder than I thought. (For the record… the above photo is NOT a picture of my bedroom dresser. It’s a photo of another room. But the dog was lying there, and who can resist a dog, a book, and an easy chair?)
I’ve heard it said that books are like friends. Well, no kidding. Except, all friends are not created equal. So if books are like friends, here’s why my dresser is still half full after cleaning it off:
- Fine, casual friends are easy to handle. You enjoy their company while they’re there and they never impose on your life when you’re doing your own thing. Like A Book By Its Cover by Elizabeth Adams. Or The Shape Shifter by Tony Hillerman. I read them. Loved them. Fine friends that come off the dresser and get shelved away in the other room.
- Family, and “special” friends – those that you tell your problems too, or that you have deep discussions with – those friends are kept closer. For when you need to revisit some special words of wisdom they gave you. The advice in Awaken The Giant Within by Anthony Robbins. The technical how-to in Rise Of The Machines: Human Authors In A Digital World by Kristen Lamb. The spiritual guidance in your daily devotional and The Bible. These book titles may change from time to time, but there is always a stack of them that stay on the dresser, where they are always available.
Then there’s the hot date you had a one night stand with. Mistress, by James Patterson, (What Happened To The Cat). Timeline, by Michael Crichton. Sahara, by Clive Cussler. Some of these hotties you can move back to the bookshelf, where they wait until the next time you have a need for their specific thrill. But some of them have to remain sitting on your dresser for a bit longer, until the afterglow has faded, even though you’ve moved on to another relationship.
Of course, no acquaintance is positive. There’s those that you wish you’d never met. Maybe they bored you to tears, or you don’t agree with their values or politics. They could’ve annoyed you with inconsistencies, protagonists you didn’t relate to, difficult to accept plots, or chapter after chapter of saying the same thing. Like Dead, White, And Blue, by Carolyn Hart. Or Skein Of The Crime, by Maggie Sefton.
That kind of acquaintance is easy to clear off the dresser. They don’t even have to be shelved. Better to pass them along to someone who might appreciate them more. (We all have different tastes, after all.)
By time I was done cleaning, many of my friends were gone from my dresser, light once again reached the wood in many spots. But my dresser was hardly bare. Not only did I still have some of the aforementioned residing there, but now I had room to add a few more that I’d recently met, but hadn’t yet gotten to know.
So many books, so little time. Or is it… so many friends?