Lightening My Load

I did something hard this weekend: I packed away all of my old cookbooks.


That doesn’t sound as though it should be very difficult, but as with most things, there was so much emotional baggage along for the ride, it was about far more than cookbooks.

Here’s the thing: It’s been over five years since I drastically changed my diet for health reasons, and it’s been a little over a year since the rest of my family joined me. Ben and the girls don’t have as restricted a diet as I do, but we haven’t had gluten, sugar or dairy in our house for a year.

I’ve bought some really great new cookbooks which contain many of my new favorite recipes, but for some reason, I just kept hanging on to those old cookbooks.

I kept thinking I might need them. (Hello, Pinterest. Really, no one would ever need to buy another recipe book.)

I kept thinking that someday, we might eat that food again. (I don’t know why – I feel so much better eating this way, I never want to go back to what we ate before.)

It seemed so scary and final to get them out of my life.

But we have some big changes happening in our house which are forcing me to do some major purging. After living here for a year, we’ve decided to let the girls have their own rooms. We wanted them to share a bedroom for a while, just to have the experience of it, and to learn how to live in a shared space.

With Anika turning 10 this year, and with an increasing need for her own space, we feel it’s a good time to make some changes.

Which means we lose our office. Suddenly, we have a lot of stuff from our office that needs to find a new home, so every drawer and shelf in the rest of the house needs to become extremely useful, organized and efficient.

A whole shelf of cookbooks which I haven’t touched in years does not seem to fit any of those descriptions.

So I packed them up. And I felt a little scared.

And then I felt really, really free.

I kept opening the doors to look at my newly organized space. I love making supper now, and going to my cupboard for a recipe book. I feel extremely organized and efficient as I grab the exact book I need without having to sort through clutter and mess to find it.

It makes me feel happy and comfortable to see only the books I actually use in my cupboard. I’m not being constantly reminded of all the food I can’t have – I’m reminded of how this is my new way of life, and I’m completely happy and settled in it.


“Settled” is pretty wonderful. Why didn’t I do this a few years sooner?

And what else can I get rid of that no longer defines my life or meets my current needs? How can I lighten the load?

I read a blog post on Monday morning which hit the spot: What’s Keeping You From Going Further?

“We often add all these “extras” to our packs, just in case. They could be extra clutter, unhealthy relationships, bad habits or self-sabotaging thoughts. Or maybe these extras give you a false sense of security.

The truth is that while they seem light independently, the weight of all those extras in your pack is unsustainable if you want to lead a beyond-average life.

Those just-in-case items are keeping you from a life of efficiency and focus. They’re keeping you from pursuing your dreams.”

Well now. Keeping my old cookbooks, or pursuing my dreams? That seems like an easy choice!:)

The feeling of decluttering is addicting! I am just getting started, and I can’t wait to keep attacking those closets and cupboards!

Have you ever hung on to belongings because they give you a false sense of security? Ever been reluctant to redefine your life and your stuff?

6 thoughts on “Lightening My Load

  1. Lol I just got rid of a ton of those Company’s Coming cookbooks as well. It does bring up memories. My dad’s favourite cookies are in the cookie one. I haven’t missed anything that’s gone

  2. Oh my goodness, Kendra, we are living parallel lives! Mark was diagnosed with diabetes several months ago but all those cookbooks are still just sitting there expecting to be useful. I now have to find cookbooks that are truly good for diabetics – so many claim to be but aren’t. By the way, this has been all good. Mark immediately changed his eating habits and started walking miles around our neighborhood. He has lost over 50 pounds and feels better than ever!

    I plan to do some more “spring cleaning” in the upcoming weeks and there will be a box of cookbooks going to the attic (or thrift store)!

    • I’m sorry to hear about Mark’s diagnosis, but so glad that it’s brought about positive changes! It’s funny how that works – something we’d never wish for can become the very best thing for us! I wish you much luck in your hunt for some new cookbooks! I’m sure it will feel wonderful to get rid of the old, and bring in the new!

  3. Oh, do I LOVE cookbooks. I would rather flip though a cookbook than look on the computer. I have a huge collection of them and cannot wait to put them on the cookbook shelves I actually have in the new kitchen. But, should our diet force us to change our eating habits, I could totally understand how that would be so hard. I mean REALLY HARD! But, I am sure you will feel great about it. That said, I am sure even I could purge some cookbooks, too.

  4. I also love my cookbooks. And yes, I can admit that there are several that need to be pitched off the shelf. I have been meaning to do it…so I suppose now I should! I plan on keeping them in on a bookshelf in the basement for a month and if I don’t miss them, then out they go! I also have a pile of recipes that need to be organized. I bought an organizer 6 years ago and still haven’t done it! I think it’s time. And I’m also in the midst of purging the boys’ old clothes. That’s a hard one for me. Letting go is admitting that this chapter in my life is coming to a close. No more babies. And as wonderful that is to think, it’s a little bittersweet. Haven’t missed anything so far, though, so I suppose that’s a good sign that it was time? Hmm….now what else can I get rid of…

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