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Is this extreme? (getting rid of books) - Page 2

post #21 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiriamF View Post

2) Returning books: a few people mentioned not being able to keep track of library books and returning them on time. But to me that's what`decluttering is all about! We are never late returning books. We keep them as long as possible and return them when they're too. Because we don't have a million other things in our space at home, it isn't hard to keep track of library books.

!
It is for me! I don’t have a lot of stuff in my space either (getting better and better) but remembering to do the simplest tasks among the larger ones is difficult for me. Even if they are in my car, and I’m running around, I still forget. I've paid too many fines as proof!
post #22 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by barose View Post
It is for me! I don’t have a lot of stuff in my space either (getting better and better) but remembering to do the simplest tasks among the larger ones is difficult for me. Even if they are in my car, and I’m running around, I still forget. I've paid too many fines as proof!
I hate making extra stops when using the car. Maybe I've got luck on my side since we walk there nearly every day. Hard to forget them then. Besides, we're constantly checking out books so I don't return some, it becomes really obvious!
post #23 of 85
No, I think you're right on track!

Any books that can be easily checked out of the library are history for us, unless they literally are keepsakes. We haven't pared down this far yet, but this is our end goal. This is what libraries are for - the space in my house needs to be for things I would not have access to normally.

However, we get a lot of flack from people when we state this project of getting rid of books (mostly fiction). Many times, people make some snarky comment like, "Oh, well I guess books and reading are just really important to our family." To which I politely try and make it clear that our family reads constantly and voraciously, but that that we just don't collect books except in special circumstances.

You know, try on put on your flack-resistant armor in cases like these. A lot of people acquire a lot of possessions and want everyone else to collect them too. Do what works for your household. And err on the side of less, rather than more!
post #24 of 85
I think it's a great idea. I do love my books, but most of them I don't really need to keep.

I keep ones I know I'll want to read again and ones that I enjoyed that are out of print. Many excellent books aren't available anymore...
post #25 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by racheloperasinger View Post
Any books that can be easily checked out of the library are history for us....
Out of about 400 (estimating low) fiction books, about 100 (estimating high) of mine ever fell into that category and in the new library system I've moved to it's more like 10, ~60 if "easily checked out" includes putting it on hold and waiting at least 2 weeks. (Huge collection, lots of branches, browsing isn't as effective as it was in the system with two branches.)

You have to keep an eye on libraries. Growing up I saw a number of books vanish from the shelves. In just 9 years in Lafayette, I saw several books become unavailable. Also, I enjoy graphic novels and about 1 in 10 that I check out has a couple pages missing, so if I really really wanted to read the whole book, I'd have to buy it (hasn't happened with anything I really want to reread so I don't bother.)

Anyway, I do think it's always good to critically evaluate whether any object deserves space in our homes. Each person's conclusions are going to be different based on specific needs and situations.

(Obviously, I feel a bit defensive about having so many books. Which is probably the problem with the people who are snotty to you. I do think there's a difference between "books are a priority" which can have lots of different ways of working and "I have anxiety if I don't have a book to read at any given moment" which requires a certain core number of books available constantly.)
post #26 of 85
It sounds like you feel at peace with your decision being right for your family. Therefore, it doesn't matter if it feels extreme to someone else; it's not their life, house, or family.

Now for me, I hope to die next to a pile of lovely books while wearing my flip-flops (which I love nearly as much as books!).
post #27 of 85
Yeah, it totally depends on where you live, what you need, what you like, etc.. etc...

We're not getting rid of any of our sheet music. Why? Hard to replace, hard to get a hold of, expensive, has to be in the right key/transposition, blah, blah, blah. And it's taking up more room than I wish it was.

I should also mention that I live 15 minutes by car from the University from which DH and I graduated. Their library is new, immense, and breathtaking. Their interlibrary loan system is even more jaw-dropping. I used to just try and find rare books through interlibrary loan just for the heck of it, and I learned that almost anything I ever wanted was available on there. So, I know that I can get a hold of practically any book I can possibly dream of. :

That being said, we're still hanging on to plenty of books that we have decided are worth it to us to have around. That's what I mean by every family doing what works, you know? If we lived in the middle of nowhere and enjoyed reading super-rare stuff, then that would be a totally different situation. Do what works!

(God I wish there was a local appliance/equipment/power tool library!!
post #28 of 85
I figured out a week or two ago that we have 15 bookcases. All three of us are big readers. Dh and ds keep pretty much all their books. I don't. I only keep books that I love. Granted, that's still three large bookcases worth, but....

I have very few fiction because I don't tend to re-read any but my most favoritey favorites. Maybe a couple of shelves' worth. I generally end up giving away the bulk of the fiction I've read. I keep my poetry and nonfiction, though. Most of my nonfic is out of print and difficult to come by. Much of it is fairly rare. I'm not getting rid of that. Much of the poetry is out of print, too. And my library's interlibrary loan system costs a few bucks each time I use it.

I love being surrounded by books, but I hate being surrounded by clutter. Finding a balance has been difficult but so worth it. If this is what you need to do for yourself, and you don't think you and your family will feel deprived, do it.
post #29 of 85
I've decluttered alot of books too. You're not insane.

Our library system here is excellent and we use it alot.

Personally, I'm not a big re-reader. Same with movies, I don't rewatch them either.
post #30 of 85
Thread Starter 
All these responses. I had no idea it was such a touchy subject!

I really do respect the need to be surrounded by books. We all have a deep love for books in our family. You couldn't find me without my nose stuck in a book as a child. As I mentioned my two year old gets read to for several hours a today. My husband has written and published a fiction book himself!! But something tells me that we can just separate that love from the need to HAVE books.

I'm not saying this applies to people here but I really do think a huge collection of books stems from somewhere in the vicinity of "we have these books, therefore we are intelligent and we own the knowledge in these books." And while having the books can IMPROVE your lives, not having them does not have to take away from your life (unless it really does, in which case that's your passion).

This reminds me of a conversation that has really stuck with me from high school.. I was in a poet's circle and my very friend who took her writing very seriously wrote a piece that the teacher/leader of the group was critiquing. They had an long argument about the piece she wrote because he was trying to explain to her that NO amount of reading the world was going to improve her writing the way EXPERIENCE would improve her writing. (Not experience in writing, but experience in living). It makes me think of how we personally are as a family - we really value the real life - trips to the forest, trying to plan our lives to be a part of the land, connecting with nature, etc. You know, you can read "Walden" or you can go live in Walden, so to speak.

It all depends on what you want in life. I'm not surprised at all that others really need their books in a completely different way. And I know very well that those you have all those books still have plenty of life experiences. We're still young and my main impetus behind clearing the clutter is because I need to free my mind to get to where we want to be. There's a chance I might own more than twenty books when we have finally settled into what feels like home and not yet another temporary place until we get a little closer to our dream. But on our journey there I can't help but find more and more freedom in the weightlessness of not owning things.
post #31 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shimmer View Post
Now for me, I hope to die next to a pile of lovely books while wearing my flip-flops (which I love nearly as much as books!).
I do love my flip flops. And I definitely wouldn't want to check THOSE out of the library.
post #32 of 85
Quote:
The stuff in our home (beyond what's truly essential to support life) sends a clear message to our children about what we value. In our home we value literacy and reading.
I grew up in a home where almost all the books in it were from the library (my mom was a librarian, too!). I have been a bookworm since I was a toddler.

That saying, we are going to majorly downsize our home and sell lots of possessions, so I am getting rid of at least 1/3 of our books.We are only keeping the theology books, the cookbooks, the pregnancy/child-rearing books, and the fiction books that I read over and over.
post #33 of 85
Quote:
I've grown to view buying books very often as wasteful and surely those thousands of books can't be THAT valuable to have your kids deal with them when you die, right?
I agree . Whenever I want to read a book I check the library first. If it's not there, I check amazon to see if I can find a cheap used copy. Buying books new is usually my last resort.

I learned my lesson after I collected so many books that they overtook my tiny 400 sq. foot 1 bedroom apartment. I still have a couple dozen but I'm trying to keep them to only one small bookshelf (for both dd's and my books) The only books that I keep are one's that I really love.

Quote:
The stuff in our home (beyond what's truly essential to support life) sends a clear message to our children about what we value. In our home we value literacy and reading.
I don't think having your home cluttered up with books is the only way to show your children that you value reading. I take my daughter to the library regularly and read to her often. She sees me reading all the time. She knows I value reading.

I grew up poor and had very few books in my home however my mom regularly took me to the library would occasionally buy me a book at the school's annual book fair. That was enough to ignite my love of reading.
post #34 of 85
sorry...double post
post #35 of 85
I don't think it's extreme. Only keep what you're actually using; otherwise it's wasted space. Especially if you go to the library regularly and they have what you're looking for!

'Course, we just took six big bags over to the secondhand bookstore and Freecycled another huge stack, so I might just be a bit biased on book purging right now. *admires the clean bookshelves*
post #36 of 85
I think it's totally up to you and your preferences. I totally wouldn't slam you for it. I read a lot of books over and over, and I'm comforted by my books so I wouldnt personally want to live without any. However, I do limit myself to about two bookshelves worth (one large bookshelf in the living room and two small ones in other rooms) and I cull them on a regular basis, as I do my other things. In fact, I need to cull through them again soon.

I do agree that having a library does cut down on the need to buy so many. I am one of those people that will reread a certain book over and over, but barely touch another after reading it once. A big reason I have so many is because the hubby is the same way but with different books, lol. And I admit I have too many craft books, but as long as I have a place for them that's okay with me.
post #37 of 85
I also did a massive downsizing on my book collection. I kept only the books I treasure the most and are hard to find. It was really hard, since I am a book addict myself. But, there are always libraries, bookstores, thrift shops, and of course online stores. I love hunting for the next book I am going to read (and knowing I have plenty of room for it feels good too )!
post #38 of 85
Another book horder here who downsized dramatically. Last yr alone, I gave away over 500 books & this year we're close to 300 & we're only in July.

As you said OP it really just depends on where you live, where you're at in your life...yk. For us it was just time. I seriously evaluated whether or not having all those books was adding to my life & they were not. They also were not adding to my childrens lives either so out they went. It was very freeing to let them go. Oh & of all the books we got rid of, I've only missed one.

Luckily our library has a wonderful ILL system, so if I need or want a book I just check it out.
post #39 of 85
Quote:
Do I think it's nuts? Yes. More than that, the thought of getting rid of all books is appalling. Why would you?

Personally, I think a home without at least a couple of well-stocked bookshelves is not a home. (Exceptions obviously made for people without the financial resources).

The stuff in our home (beyond what's truly essential to support life) sends a clear message to our children about what we value. In our home we value literacy and reading. Yes, we go to the library, too, and regularly. But we don't live at the library, we live in our home. Books are a source of delight to everyone in my family. I can't imagine living in a house barren of them
wow...just wow
post #40 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
Do I think it's nuts? Yes. More than that, the thought of getting rid of all books is appalling. Why would you?

Personally, I think a home without at least a couple of well-stocked bookshelves is not a home. (Exceptions obviously made for people without the financial resources).

The stuff in our home (beyond what's truly essential to support life) sends a clear message to our children about what we value. In our home we value literacy and reading. Yes, we go to the library, too, and regularly. But we don't live at the library, we live in our home. Books are a source of delight to everyone in my family. I can't imagine living in a house barren of them.
:


There is a direct---not just an indirect---correlation between number of books in the home and reading levels of children.

I have and will declutter books, but we still have bookshelves and bookshelves full of them. I can't imagine getting rid of practically all of them.
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