one of the pitfalls of being a compulsive packrat is the inability to discard textbooks at the appropriate time. the end of the school year comes and instead of selling back the textbooks of courses past for <10% of their original price, said packrat decides that he or she may find them useful at some later date and thus packs them up along with his or her other belongings.

this makes a certain amount of sense, being that it's cheaper to buy the same book only once, rather than buy it, sell it back for a few dollars, and then spend another $60 - $120 on it later. in theory, it's very logical. however, let's be honest - most of such textbooks will never again see the light of day. there's a possible exception when discussing computer programming books, as these are reference materials in the purest sense. but even these will be obsolete soon enough to make it perhaps more worthwhile to simply give in and buy a newer reference.

and there may also be an excuse for keeping things like the norton anthology of english literature or philosophy textbooks comprised only of essays and no superfluous textbook-y crap to detract from them.

but there is no reason why sane persons not employed in these fields need volumes on truckdriving or physical health or psychological health or paralegalism or building small electronics. sane persons do not need a third of a set of cheap encyclopedias from the 1930's. sane persons do not need a copy of every evaluation text ever sent to any professor at their college. sane persons resignedly drag their textbooks to the bookstore, get their $13 and look forward to their summers with far fewer heavy boxes to lug around.

In a similar vein, I found it momumentally difficult to throw away the two cardboard boxes that contained all of my lecture notes, papers and exams from college. I had dragged them along for a couple of years after I graduated; sometimes thinking that, yes, these will be valuable reference material when I go back to grad school (which I never did anyhow.) Of course I now realize that that was highly specious reasoning since my lecture notes weren't very helpful as references even when I was in class.

Finally, one drunken night I decided that my boxes of lecture notes were no longer a useful reminder of my academic achievment and more of an albatross around my neck. After all, my job at the time (opto-electronics) had almost nothing to do with my college major (straight physics). So I dragged those two boxes down the stairs one last time and put them on the curb to be picked up by the recycling guys. Honestly, the next morning I had to stay inside until my notes had been picked up because I felt an incredible urge to run outside and save them. But I was able to resist and now I'm glad I did because I feel that much freer.

And if I ever need a reminder of my college successes, I still have my diploma. Somewhere.

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