The Big Book Purge In Ten Easy Steps

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Paper Bindings | The Big Book Purge In Ten Easy Steps

Does Your Book Collection Need To Be Culled?

You find yourself tripping over piles of books, sending them flying into others like falling dominoes. Or perhaps your shelves are bowing under the weight of rows of double stacked books. Or maybe you find yourself suffering from a mixture of the two.

Well, then, perhaps I can assist you.

Recently is has come to my attention that I will be moving. I love the new house and was pretty excited about fleeing this place and starting over. Then I realized I would have to packIt won't be so bad, I told myself. All you really own is....(wait for it) books. (Because there was no camera available when I had my eureka moment, let me just tell you that the muscles in my jaw loosened and my bones already complained about the work ahead of us.)

Hi, My Name is Carrie and I am a Book Addict.

I own about 300 unread books and probably another 200-300 ones I've read. And that doesn't include the nearly 100 volumes of manga I have boxed up, nor the *mumbles unintelligible number* of ebooks on my nook and kindle.

But, luckily for you and me, I've come up with a plan!

Ten Steps Even Hoarders Can Follow

01: Cry - Yup, you heard me correctly. Cry. You have a hard task ahead of you and you might as well get all the drama out of the way now before you realize you are about to part with some old friends. Not to mention how much money you spent on your obsession that you are now saying 'bye bye' to.

02: Have Boxes Ready - Thank you Clean House for this helpful piece of advice! (What can I say? I love those types of organization shows.) You are going to go through your collection one by one and divide your books up into a 'keep' pile and a 'donate' one. There is no 'belongs elsewhere pile.' If it won't live in it's home like a good little book, evict it.

03: Remember Your Friends - If inviting them over to share in the manual labor is not an option for you, keep them in mind as possible new homes for books. Who knows, they may have been eyeing your shelves fore quite a while. If you do have them over to help with the cull, remember to reward their generosity with some freshly baked cookies.

04: But The Library Is Your Greatest Ally Of Them All - Now, you may not be like me where your local branch is like your second home, but most of us use the library every now and then. Even if your library does not need the books to loan out, most will collect donated books for their annual (or in my case, biannual) book sale. Not only are you making a donation of material, but whatever proceeds they get for the sales, go back to the library and the community. Win-win. Just do not tell them you are moving and not except an emotional breakup.

Goodreads is a lifeline.

05: Look Through Goodreads During the Purge - Seriously, this one is a shelf saver. Not only can you see if you ever actually read the book, you can check out your rating and review. Maybe the book was one you meant to donate years ago because it was only worth two stars? Or maybe that was the second book in a series and you never actually read it because you were waiting on getting book one? What about books one and two of a six book series? Did you borrow the rest from the library because you didn't want to buy them? So why then are you holding on to books one and two?

06: Remember To Clean Your Room and Make The Bed Beforehand - This may seem silly if you are not the neatest person in the world, but where do you think you are going to make your piles while you are working? They might seem all nice and contained on their shelves, but let me assure you, books take up 3x as much space on the floor as they do on a shelf.

07: Keep A Log - Okay, so you are not as OCD as I am or maybe your inner organizer is on strike, but trust me on this. You will put a book in the donate pile that you will regret giving away immensely. I once spent two hours searching for one I gave to a coworker. Make a list of everything you are placing in the donate pile. Some books will be easy to toss, but if at the end of the week, you find that one book you cannot live without is in that pile, then take it back. This is not an excuse to take all the books back, but there is no reason to repurchase a book you used to own if not necessary. Plus, it's super cool to be able to say how many you decreased your pile by.

08: Actually Get Rid Of The Books - Lets not trip over these boxes for the next year, shall we? What is the point of doing all this work if you are not going to follow through with the most important step of them all? Otherwise, you really will start to resemble a hoarder, and then the joke stops being funny.

09: Take A Good Look At All Those Owned TBR Books - Okay, so you kept a few -or all of them- of the books you purchased, but have not had a chance to read. Well, what are you waiting for? Your next purge? Make a list, figure out a system, and get reading. As you go through these books, set aside the ones you know you wish to get rid of and when the bag is full, drop them off the next time you are at the library.

10: Refill Your Shelves and Start Over - Most of us readers will never stop acquiring books. The key here is finding a system or reading and purging that works for you. Hopefully, your shelves will never get out of control again.

Have you ever culled your bookshelves? How did it go? Have any tips to share?

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