Big clearings out going on in our house just now. With our son about to go away to university in the autumn we have finally got round to updating his bedroom. Our daughter has sussed our glacial rate of progress on the home improvement front, and has decided that she's not going to wait until she's about to leave home for improvements to her room, thank you. The upshot has been bags and boxes full of outgrown/no emotional attachment/why do I have this anyway books and just 'stuff'. And my husband and I have also entered the fray, sorting through books that we'd forgotten we had.
Until now I've always been a hoarder of books. I would get rid of anything else, but not a book. But with the exception of the true favourites that I read and re-read, I have little stomach for fiction any more. Two university degrees spent dissecting novels have given me my fill of fictional worlds. Now I'm hungry for facts: history, current affairs, the natural world, anything that fills the huge gaps in my scientific knowledge.
The result of all this physical and mental creation of space was Saturday's mammoth trip to the Oxfam bookshop in Stockbridge to donate a dozen bags of books. Donating to charity shops is now a slick business, especially with Oxfam. You sign up to Gift Aid your donations if you're a tax payer, enabling the charity to reclaim the tax and so increase the value of the donation. You get a donor card, and a sheet of sticky labels with your unique donor number to put on each bag you bring to the shop.
While I didn't give the fiction section a second glance, I did have to steel myself not to browse the gardening shelves on my way out. Immediately starting to replace what I'd just donated wasn't the purpose of the exercise.