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Books and more Books!?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I need ideas!
I have literally thousands of books. I use them frequently and they are inspiring chaos in my house. I am a readaholic. They line every wall in my home, making little room for much else. My children read them when interest stikes. I find this particularly nice. I like this availablility, but I want my walls back. I want to have less books strewed all over my house. I have sold many that I do not need and there will be more to go, but what about the others that I can't get rid of. I need some serious strategies to help me find safe ways to store books but keep their access easy for me and the children. Help, please.

Jody newbie to mothering.com
post #2 of 36
I'm honestly not sure. I have a small bookcase in my boy's room, one in my craft room, and a really small one in the living room. When they are full, I get rid of books. I read a lot, but I let the library store them for me.

I guess decide on the amount of space that you are willing to devote to book storage and keep purging until they fit there. Good luck!
post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 
Right now, our living room has five book shelves filled. Our master bedroom has four book shelves. Our playroom has three book shelves and our kitchen has 1 book shelf. Of course, our books don't all fit on these shelves so they are in baskets, under tables, on stair cases, on our dining table and coffee table, in our coffee table drawers, and in unused chairs. It is really ridiculous. But not having them here, I couldn't even imagine. Most are reference books and educational books. There might be 1 full book shelf worth of fictional books. I love having all subject areas an arms reach away but it can also be extremely distracting. Our interests are so diversified that it is hard to just focus on one for extended periods of time.
post #4 of 36
It's hard. We used to have several LARGE bookshelves filled to the brim with books. Some of the shelves had two row of books on them. So I understand your dilemma.

Although it has taken me several years of purging, I am now down to about 1 bookshelf of books, not counting the kids' books. Honestly, I just needed to give myself permission to let most of them go. Yes, they are great, wonderful, inspiring, helpful books. But I trust that if I need them again, the universe will provide them for me. If there is something I need to know, I look it up online or check out a book from the library. I can still love all my favorite books just as much as I used to, even if I don't own a copy of it. And if the mood strikes me, I go to the library.

Having a personal library strikes me as rather inefficient for my personal circumstances. We have a wonderful public library close to our home, and so it seems silly to hoard books when with a little bit of effort I can procure the book for free. It has freed up so much mental energy and space in my home to get rid of books. At first it was hard to do, but now it's so easy. After I read the book, I let it go- there is someone else who will appreciate the book. I do keep track of which books I read, so I can find it if I ever need it again.
post #5 of 36
: I am in the same boat ladies! I love my books!! (and I desperately need to make some room in my little house!) Like pp I only have only a couple of shelves of fiction and the rest are reference and educational and not available in the town library. I often fantasize about selling them on amazon or bibliophile or ebay and making a little extra $$ but it seems overwhelming.
I'm not much help but I'm interested in hearing how others are dealing with book clutter!!
post #6 of 36
not too long ago dh and I got rid of several hundred books, we still have overa thousand falling off of the three huge book shelves we have. I was just thinking about thsi today. That I want to get rid of some. I think I'll start with the less than stellar fiction
post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 
Oh dear, greengmax. Aren't we a pair? lol
I guess I will have to build a library that doesn't participate in fining
poeple for not reading an entire book or more in two weeks.
I figure since I am playing the megamillions games and will win tonight
I can do this.
(this is the first time I ever played a lottery game, I know "bad")

Kristen, we have some of those stellar fictional books, too.
Ann, the hard part is that the kids not only use their books dedicated to them, but they will dive into our collection, too. Right now, my oldest just grabbed the C++ programming guide and Canada for Dummies books to self teach himself about these subjects. When there types of incedences happen I feel all my books are for my kids, too. Just having them seems to expand their awareness of life. OH, the DILEMMA!!!

This is going to be very hard.
Thank you all for trying to help with this.
post #8 of 36
Instead of having the bookshelves lining the walls, maybe you can arrange them back to back and sticking out from the walls like library stacks. Or use them as room dividers if you have a largish room. If you start thinking along these lines, you maybe able to reclaim some wall space on which to rest your weary eyes : .
post #9 of 36
Thread Starter 
That does sound interesting. I think I will dwell on that idea for a while.
post #10 of 36
My previous suggestion might require you to invest in matching sturdy bookcases if you are working with hodge-podge particle board ones.

Another idea is having a curtain in front of a bookcase. It could be attached directly to the bookcase or to the walls or ceiling depending on your set up. A curtain will help with the visual clutter problem w/o making accessibility too difficult. It would be great (and crazy expensive) to have bookshelves with wood doors. It's possible that there is a wall where you could put shleves up and install a folding door in front (if you are handy and not renting).

Just throwing some ideas out that may spark a feasible idea of your own .
post #11 of 36
I would pick a room and have someone come in and build floor to ceiling bookcases.
But that is just me!
Or you can look it up online and have your dh try to do it a shelf at a time?
I would love to do this. I love to be surrounded by books.
post #12 of 36
Thread Starter 
keep 'um coming!!!!!
These are inspring new thoughts.
post #13 of 36
I love my books too. I like to look at them all lined up. Caress their spines. Aah.

Ahem. Try those rolling under bed storage totes. They should be deep enough to fit the smaller paperbacks standing up on their edge so the spines all face up, and all you'd have to do is take off the lid to see what you want, instead of digging through a box. Hopefully that makes sense.
post #14 of 36
I was like you at one time, but then I realized that I don't REALLY read or use ALL of those books. I took almost all of my fiction to Half-Price Books and got cash for them. If you've ever sold books there, you know they don't give you much of anything, but they gave me $130, so you KNOW I went there with a TON of books. I had about 3 vanloads. I kept all of the non-fiction that I use for reference, such as books about parenting, nutrition, fat politics, raising teenage girls, etc. I have one large bookcase for my books (probably holds about 175 books), another one for books about homeschooling, books that I want my kids to read or that I've bought for them and don't trust them to store safely in their rooms, and dh has a few shelves of Star Wars books on there. Then, in the playroom/office there are two bookcases of homeschooling type books--dictionaries, thesauruses, logic puzzles, almanacs, game books, etc. Anything a kid might want to use to look something up or find something to do. Also two small shelves of board books for the baby. Each child also has a large bookcase in his/her room that can hold a couple hundred books; those are overflowing.

Anyway, all that is to say that we have a lot of books, but it's not overwhelming, maybe because they are spread throughout the house. But the ones we have we USE, they're not just there so that I can look at them or feel good that I own so many books, you know? It's okay to let them go, it really is, you can always visit them in the library .
post #15 of 36
i have only books that were given to me as gifts. if I want to read a much loved book I check it out from my library
post #16 of 36
In this months counrty living this woman got 3 bookshelves($99) and then finished them off with molding- to look built in. It looks really nice and that does not seem expensive to me.
Go get the magazine. It is only 3.50
post #17 of 36
1) Double-shelve paperbacks--put a 2x4 or something on the back of the shelf to elevate the back row of books so you can scan the titles of both rows (did that make any sense?).

2) Put kids' books in dishpans or similar bins and shelf them like that.

Personally, I think the idea of drowning in books sounds wonderful. I love the library, too, but my parents had oodles of books when I was growing up. There was an amazing freedom to being able to just browse around the basement and kind all kinds of information and fun. I was a library addict as well, so the two aren't mutually exclusive.
post #18 of 36
post #19 of 36
We have thousands of books as well. Literally, all available wall space that fits books has bookcases (we do have radiator heat and lots of windows, so it's not as oppressive as it sounds!). I understand your feelings. I feel the same way--torn between enjoyment of our wonderful library (and it is a great library--we don't keep anything that we don't think is worthy) and frustration at the fact that my entire house is taken up.

I'm an English professor, so these books are also tools of my trade. But I am getting more and more ruthless about getting rid of anything that I don't think I will either a) read again, b) teach, or c) use as a reference. We have a lot of fiction, a great deal of nonfiction (lots of travel books and philosophy, especially), kids' books for my daughter, poetry and plays (my husband is a drama person), and then of course there are quilting and knitting books.

What we're doing is this--a multi-step plan:
* Weeding anything that we don't think fits the requirements above, even if it's a gift.
* Putting reference books in the basement near my desk; we are not as sentimentally attached to those (aside from my precious precious OED), so we're okay with them being downstairs even though we're paranoid about water seeping in and hurting a book).
*Replacing lots of our fiction with Library of America editions, which are slim and very scholarly editions! Philip Roth in the LoA alone saves us almost a complete shelf. (I also prefer paperbacks to hardcovers for this reason.)

We buy almost all of our books used for economic and philosophical reasons. I sell back/donate back anything that I don't think we need.
post #20 of 36
Thread Starter 
I did end up taking over my childrens playroom and placing the shelves back to back like a library and it has really freed up so much space. 'I feel like I can breathe again and they aren't such a distraction.
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