If you are into sci fi you will probably recognize the author of the book seen above. And if you are into Star Trek you will recognize the phrase “resistance is futile”. How do these two go together you might ask? Like a sci fi fan with books the one often influences others. You like sci fi, you read lots, and thus the lure of a new book, or two is irresistable and soon you have…a dozen or so. You will read them all, eventually, but then you may keep them around – just in case you want to re-read them (you may) or just to show off.

I encountered this attraction a couple days ago while cleaning out my late sister’s place. She had a bookshelf with records, paper files, and of course books. In her books there were about 10-15 books by Anne McCaffery, author of Pern and sequels/related stories. I started to be drawn to them, since it had been awhile since I had read any. Fortunately my niece cautioned me “just take one” and the spell was broken. I chose this one and brought it home since it was one I hadn’t read yet. That will help to limit the clutter in our place – we are trying to downsize.

“I was born in a library” I tell friends. My parents were both avid reader -my mom actually had a graduate degree in library science – and so we had several bookshelves filled with books in the house – a couple of which my dad actually built himself. My sisters and I grew up to be avid readers as well, ,and had collections wherever we lived. During one of the many moves my wife and I did we seriously downsized and most of the books went to charity. I also got converted to using Kindle and thus have my collection-still many books – stored virtually.

There are similar ways to store collections virtually and save space, but we need to also resist the urge to collect. My inbox and I-phone camera are stuffed with items I need to clear out – because ultimately virtual storage runs out and you still have to downsize. Plus constantly scrolling through your collection to find just the right item still wastes time.

Resistance is not futile. It just takes concentrated effort and purposeful key phrases to warn you to let go, or just not pick up in the first place. Massive amounts of “collections” don’t just magically appear. They are built one or two at a time, deceptively. Constant vigilance is important combined with periodic review to keep them at bay. If you think you don’t have this affliction I would urge you to today ponder moving and examine the mass of stuff you would need to pack. You might be surprised – you might be a packrat.