Decluttering My Books

in Organizing   |   posted by Pat

I love books and have spent a lot of money over the years purchasing them.  I’m not sure of the total cost, though I don’t regret spending the money because books are my buddies in life.

I’ve visited the library and love hanging out with all the many reading possibilities, though to be honest, I spent more money and time on Amazon.

When I was young, I dealt with life challenges by snuggling up with a great novel.  It was a great way to release the tension and hide away from the craziness surrounding my life.   It worked so I continued to protect myself in books throughout most of my life.

The type of books I had as a child to hide in reading changed as I grew older and away from the family dynamics.  I switched from novels to reading books to learn.  I put novels aside for a long time and read only self-help books for many years.  I consumed so many self-help books that I should be entirely put together at this time in my life.   I didn’t retain everything I read.

I buy books to learn and buy on impulse.  The title or back cover intrigued me and “click” into the cart it goes.   Someone recommends a great book, and I got to have it immediately.

I don’t fault myself on my overindulgence in owning books, as the words I’ve read over the years have provided wisdom that has soften my life, increased the value of my contributions to work, helped in building stronger relationships and most importantly provided me with a stronger base of self-love.

As I get older, my reading taste still leans towards non-fiction, though I’m no longer super intense about self-help and instead enjoy reading to learn.  Right now, I’m reading about change and habits.   I’ve always been attracted to the topic of “change.”

In the last ten years, I’ve donated many books to the library, sold back a bunch on Amazon and gave away to friends.   When I moved to my Coop in New York, the books came with me.  I moved from a four-floor home to a 2-bedroom apartment.  Even though I did give away books, I held on too many books.

My apartment had become heavy, and I felt my energy was blocked because of all those words and needed to reduce the chatter of too many books.  Every time I went by, I would think I have to declutter or read books I haven’t read, and I couldn’t find the books I wanted to keep because they were all co-mingling on the many bookshelves.

So, I started my first significant book decluttering by selling on Amazon, giving away to friends or donating to the library or non-profit organizations.  I still had too many books, but I did free up some space, and it was a start.

How many times did I state, “no more books until I read the books I currently have on my shelves.”
Too many times.

I also read a portion of a book that ultimately didn’t hold my interest, and I knew I wasn’t going to read it…but I kept it.

When I moved from New York to North Carolina, I diligently reduced my library and didn’t have to pay to move books I probably wouldn’t read or read again.

Now I’m in North Carolina for over five years, and yes, my bookcases in my bedroom were overflowing.   Did you notice the word “were?”

In my usual way of doing things, I purchased the book “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo.   This small book has a powerhouse of attitude on what is important to keep in your home.   She rearranges your thinking around owning “stuff.”

The major takeaway I gathered from this book, is to “touch” each book or other items in my home and decide if it gave me joy.   Well, I did just that.   I tackled the two bookcases, took out the books and touched each one.    One pile was “keep,” another was “give away” and a third pile “haven’t read yet and still interested in reading.”   Seven double brown bags with 107 books later are finding a home at the library.   I’ve been taking the bags out to the car over the last few days and tomorrow I’m heading to the Library to fill their shelves, or they can use in their book sales.

The top of the bookcases are cleared of books, and I put family photos in place of the books.   I feel lighter and am glad I took the time to declutter my books and nothing else.   I will work my way towards paper next.

My apartment here in North Carolina feels stale like there is too much stuff I’m not sure I have, never used and probably won’t use.    Onto the next category.

I thank the books for all the knowledge or wisdom they have shared with me.   Now it’s time for them to move onto someone else and do some more sharing.

 

Be well,

Pat

 

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