In a continuation of Friday’s theme, let’s talk about curating our book collections. (Where my fellow bookworms at?). I love books – I especially love physical books, so I know how easy it is for those bookshelves to start overflowing with beloved “I’ve read this a million times” books, “I should keep this for reference” books, and the ever famous “Some day when I have a million free years I will tackle this To-Read pile of thirty books” books.
So how can we start taming our collection and reading voraciously without being buried under a mountain of books? (Which to me doesn’t sound like a bad way to go, but I digress…)
1.) Get an e-Reader: I am Team Hardcover, but e-Books definitely have their place – they obviously take up much less space, allow you to carry around an entire library, and (especially important for those of us who have 5-6 books going at the same time) automatically bookmark your place for you. If you prefer e-books, then rock on with your bad self, ditch the physical books, and enjoy. The one caveat I will give is that it’s easy for your eReader to become cluttered too. Make sure to delete books that you won’t be rereading and organize your files if possible. Otherwise it can still be impossible to get your arms around your collection.
2.) Donate books to your local school or library: Almost all libraries accept donations to either add to their collection or use during book sales to raise money. If you have childrens or YA books the local schools or children’s hospitals may be interested. I always find it easier to let go of things if they’re going to a good home. (I had an original Atari 2600 that I knew I never used but was sentimentally attached to (#GenXProblems) and was only able to declutter it when a good friend of mine said she’d take it off my hands.)
Speaking of libraries….
3.) Get a library card: Take full advantage of your local library, especially if you’re the “only read once” type of reader. Even a small-town library can really expand your selection. As a bonus, librarians are often happy to help you find new reading material that you wouldn’t have even considered before.
4.) Toss the reference books: I’m pretty sure you don’t need a dictionary in the day and age of the Internet. (OED> than Merriam-Webster, fight me.). Separate out all of your reference books with the intention of tossing them unless proven that the information can’t be found online.
5.) Shop Intentionally: We all have those books that changed our lives and we will read over and over again (Some of mine are the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, A Moveable Feast, and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up). For those few, shop locally and find the most beautiful illustrated hardcover version you can – then you will have a small quality collection of your favorite books. With fewer books on the shelf (and more eye-catching versions), this will have the bonus of being more noticeable, sparking fun discussions with guests.
These are tips that have greatly helped me get my books under control. I’d love to hear from you – what are some of your all-time, “changed my life” books (or just ones that you love to read over and over)?
Honoring your best you,