Still Selling Used Books on

I veered off to related topics on recent posts and haven’t mentioned things I’ve been able to get rid of – er, find homes for.

Bobs alligator IMG_3314

What? You mean not everyone has an alligator on their book case?
(I found that in Bob’s stuff too)

It’s always a pleasure to sort books, and from April through June I brought up four more of Bob’s book-boxes from the basement and went through them, as well as the residual stacks of books from my failed eBay experiment. There are only five boxes left now, and I’ve decided to save them until I make some room. Mind you that’s just the books, there are plenty of other boxes left in the basement.

My shelf of non-fiction books for sale on

Non-fiction for sale on seller account “Bob’s Stuff”

Above is my shelf of the non-fiction books I’ve listed on I have just as many more on other shelves that are fiction — see why I’m not unpacking any more boxes for a while?

Here are some close-ups for title reading purposes…

A shelf of fiction books for sale on

This is from a fiction shelf: lots of Pogo, and look Ma, “Robots Have No Tails”.

Some more favorites:

The Gentle Art of Mathematics

The Computation of Orbits

The 5-minute Guaranteed Ukelele Course (what?)

The Large Scale Structure of Space Time (sold in 3 weeks)

The Bawdy and the Naughty (that’s “Lewd Limericks, Pungent Parodies, Rowdy Repartee, Worldly Wisecracks,” and more)

Practical Poultry Management (wait, what again?)

Books I've saved for Donald and Emily.

Books I saved for Donald and Emily.

In the April-June books, I found over a hundred to list for sale on Amazon and gave dozens to friends (thank you friends). Meanwhile, I  perfected the art of asking people what they’d like. Now I stack the books, photograph them, and email visual lists of what’s available. As for the rest, I gave bags full to my Library and to Goodwill.

I have to admit I’m reluctant to finish unpacking books – a task much cleaner and more intellectually stimulating than, say, cleaning out the garage (still in progress). It’s also more personal. When I unpack a box of Bob’s books I see things he packed away before we even moved here, yet they’re things that were important to him to keep. And they’re not just things, they’re books, which means to me they hold a kind of magic. Poetry, fiction, dense philosophy, complicated mathematical theories, bawdy limericks, it doesn’t matter: each one opens a little window of insight.

Since Bob’s death, I’ve sought to know him better through the things he left behind. What we read forms our minds and nurtures our spirits. Could there be a better way to learn about someone than by seeing the books he’s read, and meant to read, and was amused by, inspired by, or instructed by? I don’t think so.

Five more boxes – I’ll try to finish with them by the end of the year. And yes, if/when I’m successful in downsizing, someday my heirs can just donate my e-reader.

Related Posts:

Selling Used Books on

Too Much Stuff: Buying Multiple Copies of Books

Book Donations


8 thoughts on “Still Selling Used Books on

  1. Have you thought about donating them to Good Will, a battered women’s shelter, library (SELECTED books, of course). Bob chose some interesting subjects, to say the least. Some must have made you chuckle.

    • Yes, I must have given hundreds of books to the library and Goodwill. I like to know they get good homes though, so if friends pick them out that pleases me. I’ve been surprisingly successful with selling them too, but amazon takes a healthy cut, so only certain ones are appropriate to list. Another problem now is magazines, since the library quit taking them (Hello Dr’s offices and other waiting rooms?)

  2. you’re very organized in your approach. It is so true that we learn much more of a person by the things they’ve left behind. When my 20-year-old son (who no longer lived at home) died in a motorcycle accident, I was so intrigued by what he had in his most personal belongings. Some of his items were very healing to my heart to know he had kept from childhood or that he considered an obvious treasure. Thanks to you for sharing your journey from hoarding downsizing since your Bob’s death. I struggle with the immense quantities of items that we have in our home & my mixed feelings about them all. If they were gone, I would be grateful; but me having to make them go is so difficult. I’m glad I found your blog.

    • Jan: It’s been a long process to work through sorting Bob’s things. It sounds like you understand, too, that it’s not just because there’s so much to sort, it’s because we associate the possessions with our loved ones. I had to get over feeling like giving away “things” was the same as getting rid of Bob. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, you’ve had a tragic loss, losing a child, and my heart goes out to you.

    • Wanted to update you that your response August 13 at 10:23 pm was very helpful to me as I thought over the ‘why’. Why can’t I get rid of ‘xxx’? as you said “we associate the possessions with our loved ones.” So 18 years after his death & a few days after reading your response, I finally cleaned out my son’s childhood desk & gave it to my grandson; then donated his high-school-wrestler-protein-shake-making, perfectly-fine but no longer used, memory-laden blender to Goodwill. Lots of tears involved, but it was freeing. I’ve been clearing my multiple bookshelves also. Wow!! I’m glad I’ve found your blog.

      • Jan: here’s one thing that I’ve found that helps me, and might be useful for you as well. I didn’t do this in the beginning, but I do now: before I give away something that was particularly personal, I photograph it. That way I feel like I’ve honored Bob and honored the memories, but I no longer need to hang on to the physical memento. (that may be a blog post in itself…) Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

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