I am so sorry that I have not been posting for a while. I have recently moved back to Delhi after 9 years and have been using the time to get reacquainted with my home town and getting to know my three month old nephew. But don’t worry, I have been acquiring quite a few literary experiences during this time as well and will be sharing all of them on Booklovers’ Haven soon.
One of those experiences has been the bane of every booklover’s existence for all time: the act of moving my entire book collection from Mumbai to Delhi and setting it all in order.
Due to circumstances, I wasn’t there when all the books were put into boxes in Mumbai which made the experience more difficult for me as I did have to empty all those boxes and set the books on the shelves in Delhi. I would like to give you an overview of how it all went down.
STEP 1: GET IT ALL TOGETHER
My very first task was to segregate the boxes containing books from the rest of them and putting them in the study. In the end, there were a total of 13 boxes and two bags full of books that I had to arrange on the three bookshelves you can see in the background of one of the above images.
(The books that you see already on the shelf are those that I bought while in Delhi. If you would like to see a book haul, please feel free to leave a comment below or email me at email@example.com and I will be happy to do so.)
STEP 2: CREATE SPACE
As you can see in the images above, the boxes are all over the place and had I proceeded to empty them like that, I wouldn’t have had any space to work with. Thus, I decided to move all the boxes to the half of the room away from the shelves and spread sheets on the other half so I wouldn’t have to keep the books on the floor. (In India, keeping books on the floor or touching them with one’s feet is considered disrespectful and while I’m not superstitious in the least, this lesson has been hammered into me so many times since I was a child that I avoid it unthinkingly.) Regardless, the sheets weren’t enough and I did end up keeping the books on the floor.
STEP 3: OPEN A BOX AND EMPTY IT
Keeping in mind the sheer number of books, I decided it was best to deal with only one box at a time. I would open a single box and empty it of its contents.
STEP 4: SORT AND PILE
Having emptyed the box, I would then sort the books into different categories and make a pile for each category. In the image below, you can see the fiction, non-fiction and classics piles. As the pile of a particular genre grew, I would divide it into author piles that I kept together.
STEP 5: REMOVE BOX
Once the contents of the box were sorted, I would remove the box from the room.
STEP 6: REPEAT STEPS 3, 4 AND 5 FOR THE NEXT BOX
I would then repeat the same steps for the next box until the room looked like this:
I ended up keeping one empty box in the room and began tossing all the books that none of us have read for years and will probably never read again in that box. I still don’t know what will happen to those books.
After a while, the room barely had any space to walk.
STEP 7: CLEAN THE BOOKSHELVES
Once I had emptyied all the boxes, I was just about to begin shelving when I noticed the dust on the shelves and decided to clean it up before placing the books there.
STEP 8: BEGIN SHELVING
I began shelving the books in a very specific order. I first began with all our signed books which received the whole top middle shelf just for themselves. Knowing that most of our signed books belong to the mythology-based-fiction genre, I decided to keep the non-signed books of that genre on the shelf below to keep them close and in this manner, I arranged the books first by genre, then by author and then by personal preference keeping in mind that the most read books be on top and that none of us should have to bend to pick up a book we read frequently. (I am very lazy, in case you all didn’t know.)
STORYTIME: At one point when arranging the books, I slipped on the sheet and fell straight onto four piles of books and trust me when I say this, falling on multiple piles of books hurts more that you’d think it does.
(If any of you would like an advice post on arranging bookshelves, please let me know by leaving a comment below or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to do so. As I belong to a family that moves every two years on average, I have a lot of tips and tricks that I can tell you.)
STEP 9: TIE UP ODDS AND ENDS
Once shelving was complete, I proceeded to tie up all the odds and ends. Place the books lying around the house in their proper place and giving one last look to each shelf to ensure that every book is where it belongs.
STEP 10: STEP BACK AND ADMIRE MY HANDIWORK
After having slaved for a little over seven hours, I took a second to admire my handiwork before going to sleep.
When I woke up, I was plagued with sore legs and an aching back.(That makes me sound so old.) My thighs had bruises as proof of my fall and hurt every single time I stood up or sat down. But honestly speaking, it was all worth the trouble.
I still have two and a half boxes worth of books that didn’t fit and are lying in a cupboard, never to be read again. I would greatly appreciate any advice that any of you can give as to what I should do with them. My father refuses to donate them or give them away but I am sure nobody will read those books and it hurts my heart to see books just lying there unread for years.
I did not do all this alone. I would like to thank my dad, who moved all those heavy boxes (STEP 2), my brother, who despite having a lot of work to do of his own, came in throughout the night during his breaks to help me out and my mom without whom the entire first step would never have happened. (And, of course, my parents for buying all those books in the first place.)
If you like this sort of stuff and would like to see more bookish experiences, please let me know.