Back in May, I ran out of space in my bookshelves, two IKEA Billys sitting side by side. The effort it took to gently squeeze the last book (The Chair by Joanna Trollope, a gift from a dear friend) into place while not crushing the others next to it gave me pause. I remained disciplined for a while and smiled every time I looked at the completely full bookshelves. It felt like an accomplishment, like I had just the right number of books.

A few weeks later though, my brain decided I absolutely needed to have the entire eighteen volume collection of Jujutsu Kaisen. Forbidden Planet and Travelling Man together had the entire set. While I was placing the Travelling Man order though, I noticed they had a few books that were missing from the Alice Oseman collection my partner and I had inadvertently begun. … Hardly resistible. Ten days later, I was back at my bookshelves, twenty-three books in hand, wondering where on earth I was going to put them.

My brain worked overtime trying to fix the problem it had created. Your reference books don’t need to be on the bookshelves. Let’s place them by the table so you can access them while working. Okay, good. Now, I can fit five books in. The Alice Oseman collection looks beautiful all together, doesn’t it? Now, for the manga set… I suppose the paints and markers sitting on top of the Billy shouldn’t really be there either. It is a bookshelf, after all. Let’s toss them into a closet, and yay! Now, there’s space for seventeen books on top, right next to the printer. That works. But no more books. Strictly, no more books. Or at least, not until you buy another Billy.

That worked for maybe another month. August came, and my partner and I were at Forbidden Planet on a weekend. To be fair, I went in with the express purpose of buying a gift for a cousin. I really did. Nothing looked like the right gift however, and we left with five books in hand. The next day, a couple of friends asked us if we wanted to go to Skoob Books, a little second-hand bookstore near Kings Cross. I could hardly refuse such an invitation. … I came home with two more books. I could hear my brain laughing at me as I found myself back at the bookshelves.

Seven books sit on the windowsill now with nowhere to call home.

Help.

Billy 1, Billy 2, and their cousin Windowsill

TL; DR: The lack of space in bookshelves is not really the strict reminder not to buy books I thought it would be.

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