How one book addict let her collection go

I love to read. I’ve always loved to read. And during a lifetime of one-room living, my books have usually taken up more space than anything else – with the exception of my journals of course. My books were my first dictionaries (I literally would check my spelling by digging up a novel where I saw the word instead using a normal dictionary like a sane person), my friends, my tie to sanity and my escape.

But over time, I realized a few things about my collection of books:

  • Since getting a kindle most of my paperbacks have sat untouched.
  • They became serious dust magnets, and cleaning them was annoying and time-consuming, especially for items I really wasn’t using anymore.
  • I had no space on my shelves for other items – like the printer I really needed and bought th was now sitting on my floor.
Photo by Eli Francis on Unsplash

Much as I loved my books, in a 150 sq ft studio apartment, they had become a serious space liability.

They had to go.

It was so hard. I mean, what if I need that reference book for something? Or what if that $1 book from the Strand was actually worth something? It was from 1948. I can’t throw that out! I don’t get emotionally attached to much, but with my books, it felt like I was consigning part of my very soul to the donation bin.

It took a few months but I did eventually lug about 95% of my book collection to a Housing Works for donation. Here’s how I went about it:

  1. I made a master list of the books I felt the most attached to, including title, author, publishing date, publishing house, etc. Then I stuck all those books into boxes for donation.
  2. From the list, I looked up which books were available online as ebooks. If there was an ebook equivalent, I left the physical book in the donate bin. I did not buy the ebook. I just know if I ever have a pressing need to read that book again, I can get it online.
  3. If the book didn’t have an ebook equivalent, I asked myself the following questions: Is the information in this book available on the internet? Is this book relevant to hobbies I was interested in years ago, or hobbies I’m currently pursuing? If the book was still relevant to interests I had now and I wouldn’t be likely to find it online, then I kept it. If not, it stayed in the bin.
  4. I left the book bins in my hallway for about a month to see if I’d suddenly be compelled to read them again. I was not, so at the end of that month, out they went.
My shelf results: less books, less dusting to do

Yes, it was hard, but I feel relieved by the amount of space I regained on the bookshelf. Which, admittedly, is also my dresser, my media storage, where I keep my office supplies and all my important papers, photo albums, and other things. I live in a 150 sq ft studio; if I could bolt things to the ceiling for more storage, I would. But it looks a little cleaner, there’s less for me to dust, and I managed to fit my printer on there after all.

What helped you pare down your book collection? Let me know in the comments!

Published by Ro

Find me at Lifedespitelupus.com or Unnaturalcreatures.com

%d bloggers like this: