Monday, June 19, 2017

Decluttering My Bookshelves


I would love to have tons of shelves, filled with books, but in our current living situation, that's just not possible or practical.  I was running out of shelf space before my husband moved in several years ago, and since then, I've completely run out of room as Tom is using my bookshelves for some of his things and my collection of books has become overwhelming.

I used to be an indiscriminate book-buyer.  The bargain rack at Barnes & Noble was my best friend.  I rarely went to the library and didn't vet books as well as I do now before buying them.  The result was a collection of books that numbered close to 300.  That might not seem like a lot, but it definitely feels that way when you're living in a one-bedroom condo.  In the last several months, I've taken on the large (but sometimes slow) project of decluttering my bookshelves.  The main reasons are threefold:

  1. I like things to be neat and organized.  Right now I have too many books and not enough space, so there are books stacked in front of other books and it's driving me nuts!
  2. Eventually we'd like to move to a larger place, and packing up and transporting all those heavy books is not going to be fun.
  3. In my former book-buying frenzy, I ended up with a lot of books I'm not crazy about.  At this point, I'd rather just have a collection of books that I love, ones that I can see myself reading for years to come.
My primary method of decluttering is rereading my way through my bookshelves!  I love to reread, so this isn't a problem for me, although it's not necessarily the quickest way since I fit the rereads in between all the other books I want to read.  There are a lot of books that I felt meh about the first time I read them, so I feel like I need to give them one more chance before I let them go.  My feelings about a particular book have been known to change, but if I've read something twice and I still don't feel a spark, I'm getting rid of it.  There were also some that I really didn't like the first time I read them but for one reason or another just hadn't gotten rid of yet; those were the first to go in the donate pile.  I might have problems purging my TBR, but I seem to have way fewer qualms about getting rid of physical books, as much as I love them! 

I've been donating my used books to Goodwill.  I like the idea that they're going back out into the world for someone else to enjoy, instead of gathering dust in my house.  Over the past year, I've brought 24 books to my local Goodwill center, and I have 22 more books waiting to be brought over.  I still have more work to do, but this is a good start!

How many physical books do you own?  How often do your purge your collection?  Do you donate them, sell them, etc.?

26 comments:

  1. Like you, I have tons. Shelves in every room of the house almost. But, with an impending move, I had to face the facts, that truly, I have too many. Like you also, I bought from the discount racks and B&N as well as BAM. Some of those same books are sitting on my shelves unread after years. Those were my first to go to the library. While I still want shelves full of books, I want those books to be ones that touched me in some way. As I have been perusing what's left of my collection, if I run across a title that I have read, but I cannot even remember what it is about, those go to the library as well. I do have a few shelves complete, and it feels really warm to scan those titles. Those books are my "people." I love having meaningful books on my shelves rather than just a bunch of books. :)

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    1. Exactly!! Now I only want books that I love, that I will reread again and again. I mean, yeah, all those books look pretty on my shelves, but if I didn't like something, why would I keep it?

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  2. I have no idea how many physical books I own. It’s a lot. I only keep the ones that I can see myself rereading someday. I do get rid of lots of books. I donate them or trade them at the used bookstore. Good luck with your decluttering!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. See, this is why you should consider a Kindle.

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    1. ... but a Kindle won't look pretty on my shelf.

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  4. Great post, Angela :) I also have very limited shelf space and as it is, my books are piled on top of each other. But I also like them to be neat and organised, so I think when I get just one too many I'll have to start considering getting a new shelf or something! The thought of parting with any of my babies hurts my soul ;)

    Good luck with the decluttering!

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

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    1. Thanks! Haha, I too get quite attached to my books, but I figure if I'm not going to read it again, there's no reason for me to keep it around, taking up space.

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  5. I have a lot of physical books- really just purchased in the last three years. Once I read a book and won't reread it (and I rarely reread) I give to my friend or my niece depending on the book. I do have a stack I need to donate though. Good luck decluttering!

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    1. Thanks! That's great that you can share books with your friend and niece!

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  6. I try to weed my shelves every year because, like you, I have limited space, and I want to make room for new books...but it's hard to get rid of favorites. And books I want to read again. And books I just like owning. :) Good luck with your decluttering project. I hope you're able to clear a few inches of space!

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    1. If a book is something I think I'll read again, I'm keeping it for now. I just want to keep things I love, and I'm trying to limit my buying to books I know I love. I don't want to undo all my decluttering!

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  7. I'm way overdue for a decluttering of my bookshelves. I usually start by lending them to my mom and sister, who are also big readers. Once we've all read a book and I'm sure I won't want to read it again, I usually check with my local library to see if they want any of them. If they don't, then I generally donate to Goodwill. Like you say, it's nice to know that they'll get read again instead of just becoming dust catchers in my house.

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    1. My sister borrows a lot of books from me (she calls my collection The Lawrence Library), but she would most likely never keep them herself. Although she's a big reader, she doesn't own many physical books - she's more into ebooks. That's great if your library will take them - my library only accepts books at certain times of the year.

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  8. That's so great that you donating books to Goodwill but I could never get rid of my books, I still have some of my school books too, all books are my babies and I won't let them go ever LOL!

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    1. Hahaha, I get it! It gets easier, though. I used to keep all my old college textbooks, until I realized they were huge and heavy and I barely read them in college, so why would I read them now? Plus, some of the info might be out of date anyway!

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  9. I don't have a ton of physical books, but I've also been purging mine recently. I'm also hoping to move, and I don't want to have to take all of them with me. I bring mine to Salvation Army.

    The very first thing I do is check my library to see if it's available through eLoan, and if it is, I let it go. LOL

    Great post!

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    1. Yeah, if I read ebooks, that would probably be better (as my sister pointed out above!). I have been trying to limit my book buying to books I've already read and loved, so that's cutting down a lot.

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  10. Gosh, I probably have less than a hundred phsyical books on my shelf now. I have purged and purged again. I donated so many of my books to the library last year. I had them stacked all over. I only keep the ones I will reread. I really try to only buy books that I absolutely love and everything else is checked out from the library or books I receive from publishers. Ebooks are a godsend.

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    1. Wow, I don't think I could get down to 100! I love so many of my books, but I'm getting better about buying fewer books. I use my library a lot, so that helps.

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  11. I used to be really good at getting rid of books that I was MEH about after I read them. But Bookstagram killed that-- because now I'm like: WHAT IF I NEED A PURPLE BOOK FOR A PICTURE AND THAT BOOK IS PURPLE!!! I need to stop and really get rid of stuff though. Luckily, I have librarian friend that collects books for teens every Valentine's Day & that gives me the guilt to pass books along.

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    1. Haha, I get it! That's great that your friend collects books for teenagers!

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  12. I had to do away with physical books when I started travelling a lot between countries. It saddens me that I don't have a bookshelf anymore! I'm slowly building up again, especially children's books (because 3yo!) but I'm trying to be careful about what I buy and stick to ebooks for the most part. I think I just want a small collection of my favourites in physical books and books that I want to have available for my daughter as she grows.

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    1. Sometimes it's easier when you're starting from scratch, because now you can be really choosy about what you buy! That's great that you're building a library for your daughter!

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  13. Oh wow, you really are devoted to this project if you're rereading all the books! But your method makes sense. And I think it also makes sense that it's easier for you to get rid of physical books then to purge your TBR, since you already know you don't like those books you're getting rid of whereas any unread book could be amazing, but you won't know until you've tried it. I don't have this problem no since I only have like 50 physical books lol.

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    1. Haha, well, I'm not rereading EVERY book. A lot of them are already favorites and while I've reread them many times, I won't be doing it for this project. I'm mainly concentrating on books I don't really have strong feelings about to try to decide if they're something I want to hold onto.

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!