Bookworm, avid reader, bibliophile, literary connoisseur, scholar, intellectual. Do any of these terms resonate with you? If so, then you, like me, probably adore books. In addition to my love of reading them; I can’t get enough of the way books feel, smell, and sound (when turning a page). There was a time when books overran my home. One could not enter a room without spotting more than a few. I would collect book after book from multiple genres. Sometimes I would read them, other times I was merely comforted by the thought of having them around.
Then came cross-country move number one. And I discovered books are heavy! I’m not saying the weight of multiple boxes of books prevented me from boxing up every book in my rather large collection and hauling those boxes over 1,700 miles. Because that’s exactly what I did. I’m just saying books can be heavy, that’s all.
Multiple moves later (including two more cross-country), somewhere along the way, one by one, I eventually began letting go of my beloved books. And I can proudly declare that I have not required a single therapy session (yet).
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There are many reasons people who love to read hold on so tightly to their books. You may own massive quantities of books because:
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” -Ernest Hemingway
“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.” -Charles Dickens
Have you failed in your prior attempts at decluttering books? Have you let one (or more) of the excuses I’ve listed keep you from saying “farewell” to your book clutter? Do you worry that if you declutter your books, you will never want to read again? I can tell you from experience that decluttering books does not mean you have to stop reading them. You can, in fact, continue your love affair with books. The goal will be to keep them from cluttering up your home.
Follow along as I show you how to declutter your books. Once your books are decluttered, I will explain how you can obtain even more books! Wait! What kind of a sick person am I? Don’t worry, you’ll only be reading these new books not keeping them!
“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.” -Francis Bacon
If you’ve read my post on the Shock Treatment Declutter Method, you probably know what I am going to say next. If you haven’t, check it out. I’ll wait.
Next, you’ll need to gather all of the books in your home together in one location. Your kid’s books (unless they are old enough to sort their own), coffee table books, even your cookbooks. Divide them into categories as you collect them. For example, your children’s books will be in one area of the room, romance novels in another pile, and reference books in another.
Once you’ve gathered all of the books together in one area of your home, survey the damage. Does it look like Barnes & Noble and your local library had a baby? Yeah, I thought so.
Acknowledge any feelings of regret, despair, and guilt you may be having. Do not allow any excuses to undermine your decluttering efforts.
Finally, pick up each book one by one and ask yourself the following questions.
Use these two questions as your litmus test for deciding which books to keep and which books you can rehome. If you answer “yes” to one or both of these questions, keep the book. If your answer is “no”, then (as Elsa says), “Let it go.”
After you’ve donated, sold or otherwise discarded any unwanted books, you are free to seek out more books to read. There are three (secret) resources I have discovered which have allowed me to keep book clutter from piling up in my home. I’m going to share these exclusive assets with you today. But you have to promise not to tell anyone else! Okay, here goes. The three main resources I use in order to keep reading the books that I love without actually having to own them…are (drum roll):
Seriously, though. I can get almost any book I can think of from my local library. If they don’t have it, they contact other libraries in the area to see if they can find it for me. Occasionally, none of the libraries in a 60-mile radius happen to have the book I am looking for. When this happens, I access the trusty old internet, go to Amazon.com and either check out the desired book from Kindle Unlimited or (in the rare case they don’t have it), I purchase the book (usually used). If you do not have Kindle Unlimited click the link below for a free trial.
Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial
Also, if you have been meaning to try Amazon Prime, but just haven’t gotten around to it… Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
Again, I almost never purchase books, unless it’s an e-book that I cannot borrow in print. When I do buy an actual book, I read it, resell it, or pass it on to someone else. Voila! No more decluttering books for me!
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”-Marcus Tullius Cicero