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Old 03-06-2007, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

Thanks,
Jody newbie to mothering.com
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Old 03-06-2007, 04:15 PM
 
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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!
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Old 03-06-2007, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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Old 03-06-2007, 06:07 PM
 
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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.

New signature, same old me: Ann- mama of 2 boys and 2 girls, partnered to a fabulous man.
I'm an unintentional weasel feeder and I suck at proofreading.
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Old 03-06-2007, 06:24 PM
 
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: 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!!
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Old 03-06-2007, 06:32 PM
 
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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
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Old 03-06-2007, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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Old 03-06-2007, 08:06 PM
 
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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 : .

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Old 03-06-2007, 08:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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4evermom,
That does sound interesting. I think I will dwell on that idea for a while.
Hrmmm........
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Old 03-06-2007, 08:15 PM
 
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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 .

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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Old 03-06-2007, 08:23 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-06-2007, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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keep 'um coming!!!!!
These are inspring new thoughts.
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Old 03-06-2007, 10:12 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-06-2007, 10:27 PM
 
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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 .

Homeschooling mom to four kids, ages 18, 18, 10, and 6. 

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Old 03-07-2007, 06:17 AM
 
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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

Jami (25) Roland (27) & Caleb (5), Jacob (3.5) , Kaitlyn (2)
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Old 03-07-2007, 01:31 PM
 
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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
Em
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Old 03-07-2007, 02:34 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-07-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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Old 04-04-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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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.
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Old 04-04-2007, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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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Old 04-04-2007, 07:46 PM
 
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OED......always wanted one of those!

This has been a weakness for us too. I have a ton of fiction books that I've never even read and have been keeping them forever with the intention of reading them eventually.

Well, recently I was browsing the shelves looking for one to read and after picking up several I realized - there are quite a few mixed in there that I am not even interested in anymore! Or that I read ages ago and loved, but am not likely to read again, etc.

So, I am ready for another purge. Still love books and am not going to get rid of everything by any means, but I think I have room to reduce.

Maybe take a harder look. Maybe a shelf a day. See if there are some duds mixed in with the ones you love that you can let go of.

Oh, we are planning a move soon and that is an inspiration as well. Last time we had SO many HEAVY boxes of books I want to be darned sure the ones we move are worth it!

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Old 04-04-2007, 09:44 PM
 
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No advice, I hoard books too. Oh and guess what ds is getting for Easter and his b-day....more books.
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Old 04-05-2007, 12:54 AM
 
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I'm in a similar boat. I had been selling books and have a large inventory and a lot of them I don't want to part with. In addition I collect cookbooks and have 643 of them : We are trying to really downsize so I've had to struggle over this decision.

My first process was what book category do I read least. Fiction, Biography, etc. I then went into that category and asked myself is this a book I could borrow from the library? If yes, it went in the box. If no, I held onto it.
Next question, it this a book I will want to buy in the next year? If no, it went in the box. Is this book out of print? If yes, I held onto it in a separate box.

For me this started to work because what I realized was there were very few books I'd buy again, and lots of books I could borrow. When I realized in one category I was willing to part with 65% of the books I was amazed. I then took them to a used book store, asked the difference between store credit and cash. I went the middle ground and got $40 in cash and $60 in store credit. Now some of the books I may want to replace in a year I can and I have some reward $ for the work in getting rid of some of my books.
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Old 04-05-2007, 01:14 AM
 
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I have two problems in this area (aside from my own absolute weakness for books...including cookbooks...I hear you, cupofjojo).

Problem 1: I am writing a dissertation. About an author. So I have everything he ever wrote (which is a lot), plus books by authors that were influences on him, plus books about him or his work, plus books about literary criticism, plus "Writing Your Dissertation In 15 Minutes a Day," etc.

Problem 2: My husband works at a used bookstore! He is an incredible scout for things that I need for academic reasons...but he has even less ability to say no to a book than I do. We enable each other!

Really I don't mind this. We have almost zero other stuff; our house is liveable. My daughter will be able to read anything she wants from our library and I love seeing our books lined up waiting for me to come read. I have read a lot of the books--more than half--but there are many things still waiting for me, either because I haven't had time since we bought them or because they belonged to my husband before we moved in together and I haven't read them yet. The promise of new stories is like a miracle to me. There's almost nothing as exciting as thinking that any of these books, which I haven't met yet, could be as lovely as some of my favorites.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:07 PM
 
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We have TONS of books, too. I swear I have a book fetish. I am trying to get rid of some before we move.

But does anyone know any good resources for bookshelves? Or how to make built in bookshelves? But NOT horrendously expensive? Our crappy Target ones are only 6 mos old and ready to bite the dust.

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Old 04-10-2007, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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dnw826,
Duct Tape is our Friend!!!!!
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:32 PM
 
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I have been weeding out all paperback books. We do still have a few that are really old and have sentimental value, but that's it. The rest are all hardbacks. Now I need to go through the hardbacks and weed some of them out. I'll probably get rid of the ones I didn't particularly love first and go from there.
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:59 PM
 
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Have you looked at Ikea for bookshelves? They have reasonably priced ones starting at $29.99. They are unfinished and I'm not sure about the quality as I have never seen them IRL.
I got our mission-style bookshelves at Staples when they were on sale for around $60. (we didn't have a local ikea yet)
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greengmax View Post
Have you looked at Ikea for bookshelves? They have reasonably priced ones starting at $29.99.
The Ikea Billy series is great for bookaholics like us We have the add-a-shelf units that go on top so the shelves go to the ceiling. Plus the corner units mean no wasted space there. I think we have about 30-35 bookcases... as one pp said "every available wall". For us that includes hallways and ends of staircases! And all bookcases are currently overflowing with more books stacked sideways in front of other books. My dh works for B&N and is kind of out of control. There are a lot of worse habits he could have though... I keep telling myself that
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:07 PM
 
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: Billy Bookcases are great. We have 12 of them. Some have the doors on the bottom so we don't completely look like book junkies
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