Looking in other people’s boxes

November 17, 2008

Went to the storage unit yesterday to tackle my friend’s boxes, pictured in the previous post.  My main goal for the day was to do an inventory.  I want to at least know what I am dealing with, so that information can settle in my subconscious before next weekend, when I’ll go back and make decisions.  Each box was opened, and quickly evaluated to see what’s in there.  I took a digital photo of each opened box.  Here’s what I found:

  • 7 boxes of “merchandise”.  Things that I can sell or give away.
  • 2 boxes of tools and hardware.
  • 9 boxes of paper files.
  • 33 boxes of books, magazines, VHS tapes, audio tapes.

More than 50 boxes in all.  As I feared, most of them are books.  I still haven’t been able to deal with my own overwhelming collection of books, and now this!  The merchandise I can reduce down to one box or less by using ebay and freecycle.  The papers I can reduce to one box just by looking for important looking stuff and tossing the rest.  Tools, (not sure) maybe combine them with the merchandise items.

So that leaves the big obstacle of the books/media.  Sadly much of it was damaged by the humid conditions in the garage, even though the boxes were in plastic bags.  I did not do any detailed sorting, but did see obvious green patches on the edges of some books.  And all of it smelled musty.  My fingertips were black with dust, mold, and dirt when I was done.

I know that my friend spent decades putting together his “library of knowledge”. It would be so sad to just dump them all in the trash.  But at the same time he has basically abandoned it all.  I thought of maybe listing the titles so that the collection can be rebuilt in the future if he wishes.  Actually I may have seen an index in his paper files, so I’ll find and save that.  When I go through the books I should use the criteria of tossing anything that can be replaced.

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4 Responses to “Looking in other people’s boxes”

  1. Meg Says:

    Please take books to your local library instead of throwing them out. Even if they don’t use them for lending purposes, they likely can sell them to raise funds.


  2. I will ask at the library to see what they can take. The problem is most of these books have water damage, and some have mold growing on them.

  3. gertie Says:

    As a former used bookstore employee, I give you permission to chuck the books. Once mold gets into them, they are a bane upon all other books. Please do not donate them; they will just spread the mold wherever they go. Whenever we got a box of books that smelled musty we rushed it immediately out to the back alley.

    I am a booklover and a treehugger, so I know it hurts, but sometimes you just need a fresh start.

  4. FruWiki Meg Says:

    Oohhh…. that does make a difference.


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