There is still something inspiring about looking at a shelf of books. Whether it be the desire to learn a new hobby, learn about a new topic, or brush up on an old one. Much inspiration can be gathered from books.
The thing is, we tend to stockpile our shelves with books, but rarely read them. We fall more in love with the IDEA of reading a book than actually sitting down and accomplishing the task. Life is full of good intentions, but we often do not move past the intention part.
I have stared and stared at our bookshelves, wondering why we have so many books. I looked at my own bookshelf and realized that many of the books I owned, I would never read again. They sat unused, not useful, and just took up space. That is when I realized that I was liking the idea of having a plethora of books, than actually reading them. Is THAT really what I wanted? What I wanted was for everything in our home to have a use – a purposeful use. That is when my book decluttering began.
Think about these questions:
1. Do you keep books for their sentimental value? How much is that “value” worth to you – for you to keep them the rest of your life? Are you keeping them out of guilt – that maybe if a family member comes over, they might realize you do not have a certain book on your shelf?
2. Do you keep certain books because of the money you have put into them? For example, do you have a large stock of hardcover books, but have a hard time parting with them because you know how much you paid for them? If you got rid of them, they would not be sitting on your shelf, staring you in the face, reminding you how much you paid for them – get rid of them!
3. Do you keep certain books because they were gifts to you? Again, do you think the person who gave you the book, will look through every bookshelf in your house, wondering if you still have it? It is time to let go!
4. Do you keep certain books because you think you will read it again? How many books have you kept and ACTUALLY read again? We often live in this “someday I will…” type mindset. Let’s be frank – that someday will never come. Time to part with the books you THINK you will read again someday!
5. Do you keep certain books because of the way it makes your house look? Do you “feel” smarter when you have a bookshelf filled to the brim? Be realistic – it’s just a mind-game. Get rid of them.
6. Do you know someone who may appreciate the very book you are wanting to get rid of? Surprise them!
Now it’s time to ORGANIZE YOUR BOOKS:
1. Think about all of the places you have books stored. However many places you may have, you are going to have to go through each and every one of them.
2. Go through each book and think of the questions I listed above. Ask yourself:
- Why do you have this book?
- Why have you not read it yet?
- Will you HONESTLY read it?
- Is it a book that you can get from your local library?
- Do you know someone who would benefit from the book more than you?
- What it comes down to is :WHAT PURPOSE IS IT SERVING ON YOUR SHELF?
3. While going through each book, either put it in a pile to keep or a pile to donate.
4. Donate or sell the books you do not plan on keeping.
- Sell your books on amazon, ebay, at a paperback shop, or used bookstore. You will not make a fortune (typically), but depending on what the book is, you never know! It is just another way to get rid of your books.
5. Use the library next time you want to buy a book. Libraries offer the ability to look up a book on the internet (instead of physically having to go to the library). If they do not have it in stock, often they can “interloan” it from another library. Yes, you may have to wait a few days to a few weeks (depending on the book’s popularity), but it will save you money in the end!
6. Start to read what you own, instead of buying new.
Doesn’t this just FEEL GOOD? I know that going through each of these steps will take more than a days work. It may even take months to fully let go of some of your books. But after you are honest with yourself and what you want to fill your life and house with, it will make this process that much easier. It will be worth the effort and will bring you one step closer to an organized home!