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How do YOU declutter your library?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Looking for ideas here, as we have a ton of books. 

 

Wondering what criteria you use when you decide whether to keep or get rid of your books. 

post #2 of 18

I have this same dilemma, too many books, not enough space!  I can declutter like a madwoman in any other part of the house, but books are my weak spot.

post #3 of 18

it's hard!

 

For me I like to look at a couple of things - will I read this book again or need it for something down the road? How much can I sell this book for? Can I get it free somewhere else {library, kindle, etc}? Do I really NEED this book?

 

I've managed to clear quite a bit - unfortunately DD's books are taking over the empty spots!

 

post #4 of 18
Have I read this book? Do I like it and think I'll read it again? Keep it. Did I not like it? Toss it. If I haven't read it yet, will I read it? If yes keep. If no, toss. If it's been there for 10 years and has never been opened, it's time to go. If it's a cookbook and only 1 or 2 recipes are used from it, copy those recipes and get rid of the cookbook.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimblejamble View Post

Have I read this book? Do I like it and think I'll read it again? Keep it. Did I not like it? Toss it. If I haven't read it yet, will I read it? If yes keep. If no, toss. If it's been there for 10 years and has never been opened, it's time to go. If it's a cookbook and only 1 or 2 recipes are used from it, copy those recipes and get rid of the cookbook.


This.

 

Also, when I last moved, I had to get rid of a ton of books. I realized that most of the books I had on my shelf were never going to get re-read (or read), but were just there as decoration. I think I had some ego tied up in them for those times when people come over and look over your bookshelf/CDs... like they were saying something about me. It felt nice to just get rid of all that.

 

Also, when I lived somewhere what book rate mail didn't take forever (I'm in HI now), I absolutely LOVED bookmooch.com. You enter books you are willing to give away, and create a wish list of books you want or search in other people's libraries. If someone requests, or mooches, your book, you have to send it to them (about 2 bucks each time if you ship book rate). Then you get a point. You can then spend your point on a book from someone else. I loved it.

 

post #6 of 18

I can't... and won't.  I pretty much have nothing else in my house save for a few pieces of furniture.  It's art and books.  my mother actually threw away 4 large boxes of books once.  I almost flipped out!  She literally took them to the dump!  

post #7 of 18

I rarely get rid of books. Most of the time, I take care in choosing books I purchase, and we have a huge library. But there have been occasions where I've brought home a book that didn't turn out to be as good as I'd hoped, or the super rare impulse buy book that I also don't end up liking. Those are the ones I end up moving into the yard sale/donation box six months later. Other than that, when a book comes into the house, it stays. I like having a reference library right at my fingertips, as well as a big assortment of my favorite fiction books to read at will. 

 

That being said, bookshelf space is maxed at our house. So I have had to put a few boxes into temporary storage since we had the baby - a few are way out of the way in my in law's attic, and a few are kind of out of the way on top of our kitchen cabinets. I choose the books to go into storage based on what I'd be least likely to want/need to read during my baby's first year. So I ended up putting away all of my philosophy, the giant complete works of Shakespeare, some large poetry collections and a lot of natural science books, as well as a good portion of my fiction. I kept out my favorites and practical ones - gardening/farming, cooking/food, crafts/DIY, and my favorite fiction. 

post #8 of 18

I actually made a shelf out of books that were not worth reading.  Turned out pretty interesting.  And you can't tell that they're on the shelf for support.  Very clever Ima... very clever.  Only problem is that I used an old Serbian dictionary and a friend asked if she could have it.  Uh... if you can dismantle it all go for it.  Oh well.

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimblejamble View Post

Have I read this book? Do I like it and think I'll read it again? Keep it. Did I not like it? Toss it. If I haven't read it yet, will I read it? If yes keep. If no, toss. If it's been there for 10 years and has never been opened, it's time to go. If it's a cookbook and only 1 or 2 recipes are used from it, copy those recipes and get rid of the cookbook.


Mostly this. 

 

I'll hang on to some reference books and classics much longer than 10 years, even if I haven't been reading them. They are often useful for the kids. Last night I was able to pull Plato's Republic off the shelf for DS, who is taking a philosophy course right now. When I flipped it open, there was an inscription dated 1995 from the person who gave it to me.  Reference books like anatomy texts (organs and muscles haven't evolved differently in the couple of decades since I studied anatomy) and accounting (basic ledger systems are pretty much the same) don't date too badly, so they get to stay. I suppose if I didn't have enough room, I would get rid of them since you can always get a copy of anything you need, so YMMV here. 

 

I rarely buy novels for myself anymore. The library has most of what I want to read or I'll borrow from friends and family. NOT buying books has helped me avoid clutter as much as clearing out the shelves has. 

post #10 of 18
Well how often do you re-read your books?

DS has a ton of books, but we read & re-read most of them over the course of a week or two. So I don't mind keeping them. I go through occasionally and get rid of any that I particularly hate or that he's just not into.

DH has a few books -- mostly historical stuff, he'll read a bit and take a few months off & then read a bit more. He keeps the ones he likes to re-read and donates the rest.

Me? I have a Bible, a few books of artwork I like, and a couple of cookbooks. That's about it. I almost never re-read books so I don't see the point in keeping them around. I still read a ton -- just borrow the books instead. I get/keep most recipes online (but keep a few photo-based cookbooks for inspiration). Reference books are always readily available at the library.

So if you're like me & rarely re-read anything, just get rid of all of it, you won't miss it. If you're like DS and love to read the same stories over & over, keep all your favorites... and just toss/donate/sell the ones you didn't particularly enjoy the first time around. I don't know where you live, but here, you can get most books on inter-library loan, so it's not like you can never get a hold of them again. Look them up in your library catalog to make sure they have copies, if you're worried, or donate them to your library if yours is the type to actually put them on the shelves (ours just sells them out front) -- then you can check them out when you want/need them.

When you look at a book, ask yourself how many times you've read it, when's the last time you picked it up, etc. and if it's been a year or more, or you only read it once, you can probably toss it.
post #11 of 18

I reread my books almost every year or sometimes longer.  I gave away a few books years ago and when I looked for them not to long ago I was bummed.  The girl I gave them to sold them at a garage sale.  Sad face.  So I had to go buy them.  No I didn't have to buy them but I wanted them.  

post #12 of 18

We have a lot of books and I'm okay with that. A good many of them are non fiction and related to our hobbies. A few years ago I started cataloging them at LibraryThing. I had to take each book off of the shelf and look at it before I entered it. I did a lot of weeding at that time. The catalog has since kept me from buying duplicates. 

 

The one downside is that if I do want to get rid of something I need to note it in the catalog and that's a big round tuit.

post #13 of 18

I hand on fiction routinely. If I remember, I write my name and where I got it inside. Then I set it free. 

 

I'll hand on anything i don't think I'll read again, or that I don't think I'll read in the near future and that I can probably pick up or borrow easily. TBH it means more to me that more people are reading a book I love, than that I own the book.

 

The only fiction I tend to keep is either stuff that's REALLY resonated, that I know I will need to re-read, or stuff I do certainly want to read with my kids fairly soon. And sometimes a book just makes such an impact on me that I want to have THAT book around to remind me of how much I liked reading it. But I'm finding as I get older that that happens more and more rarely.

 

Kids books are so much harder. I tend to pick up good kids books when I see them, and often I don't want to get rid of them. I do remember really enjoying browsing my parents' bookcases when I was a child, and because my mum was a teacher there was often really interesting stuff on there. I do occasionally declutter the kids books but I think I'd struggle to do a real cull, even though I'm aware that we have books on their bookcase that have been owned for a long time and not read.

post #14 of 18

I keep stuff I think I'll re-read, and I am a re-reader. I get rid of stuff that I just don't seem to be reading, or that I didn't like as much as I thought I would when I bought it.

 

Usually I can think for a minute and know exactly which books in my library I SHOULD get rid of, whether or not I actually do.

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cat13 View Post

Also, when I lived somewhere what book rate mail didn't take forever (I'm in HI now), I absolutely LOVED bookmooch.com. You enter books you are willing to give away, and create a wish list of books you want or search in other people's libraries. If someone requests, or mooches, your book, you have to send it to them (about 2 bucks each time if you ship book rate). Then you get a point. You can then spend your point on a book from someone else. I loved it.

 


I use paperbackswap.com -- sounds similar to bookmooch. 

 

Problem is, I use it to GET books.  Not so much to get rid of them.  I need to reverse that now!

 

post #16 of 18

I pretty much just save the health reference books for herbs, homeopathy and fermenting.  And I have one that has hiking trails for where I live.  I can get most anything else from inter-library loan.

post #17 of 18
Luckily, I have a ton of bookshelves in my house that were built-in before we moved here. But we still had so many children's books that we were not able to display all of my dd's stuff she wants out. So I shifted them around and just put a ton in my consignment pile. I also started decorating with them. A stack of books is a great way to add height when you are setting up your end table or a few books in a tray on the ottoman/coffee table. But basically, if I don't think I'll read it again or I know it'll be easy to come by again, then I will declutter it. But only if we don't have the space to store it.
post #18 of 18
Some books are good friends and you re-visit them year after year. Some books are like acquaintances, they can flit and flutter in and out of your life like the pretty butterflies they are.
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