At the beginning of September, I signed up for Amanda and Kelly’s challenge UNBREAKING THE SHELVES. One of the things we had to do was be brutally honest about the books that are in our TBR pile. Will we read them? Is there anywhere we can purge?
When I took a look around my home library and its close-to-1000 books, I realized that I could purge. MAJORLY.
I thought back to the reasons I bought some of these books – garage sales, library sales, freebies, etc. There are some I bought thinking I’d read them, but now years have gone by and they’re still unread and I’m not finding myself with any motivation to read them anytime soon.
It was time for a purge.
Before I go into the details of how to purge the books in your home library, let’s talk about WHY we buy all these books. I think one of the reasons we accumulate so many books and never get rid of them is because it seems more socially acceptable to collect books. I mean, THEY’RE BOOKS! Reading! Learning! Why would we get rid of them?
BUT, collecting too many books that you’re not going to read is just another form of hoarding and soon your books will start to own you. Even if books are still good for you, unless you’re going to read them there’s no point in keeping them on your shelf.
Here are my criteria for purging books in my home library. If your to-be-read pile looks daunting, this will help you get that number down to a reasonable number!
- Look at the quality of the book. Did you buy it at a garage sale or library sale because it was cheap? Did you actually want to read it?
- Look at the spine of the book. Without reading the synopsis, can you say anything about the book – or even about the author?
- Think about how LONG a book has been on your shelf for. If it’s been years, can you still see yourself reading it? Can you think of someone else who might enjoy it?
- Think about the books that you’ve read – did you like them? Would you reread them again and again?
- Everyone loves his or her bookcases to look FULL. Go through one row of each shelf and remove just ONE book you know you’ll never read.
If you feel too much anxiety to actually pack up your books and bring them down to the library or the used bookstore immediately, maybe pack them up and put them away in a closet or the basement. Wait a few months – or a year! – and see what happens. Did you think about the books? Did you want to read any of them? Or did you forget about them? Like any other kind of clutter, if you’re not going to use it, get rid of it!
This entire post might be making you feel jittery, but I followed all these steps and culled about 200 books from my shelves. My TBR list still looks daunting, but now it feels more manageable because I actually want to read the books that are on it – I’m not feeling the obligation of reading a book just because I bought it.
Now, what happens AFTER we’ve purged the shelves? How can we be smart about what books we’re then adding to be read?
- If you’re not sure about a book, don’t buy it immediately. Borrow it from a friend or from your local library. If you like it, THEN buy it.
- Try restricting yourself to buying only books by your favourite authors or books to complete series that you’re reading.
- If you’re trying to save money, enter giveaways! There are plenty of blogs out there that host giveaways all the time. Like they say, you can’t win if you don’t enter!
It’s definitely hard to NOT buy any books, and it’s hard to get rid of books, but it CAN be done.
How do you purge books? Have you ever done a bookcase purge?
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