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We moved last month, and my huge collection of children's books (we've been homeschooling abroad and without access to an English-language library) has been in the attic as we've been trying to think about what to do with it.<br><br>
We wanted to build real library room in the (small) dining room, but the estimates for built-in shelves are despairinly high. We wanted to avoid the cluttered mishmash of our baskets, ikea bookshelves, stacks in on the window sills and beside the beds. But now we don't know what to do.<br><br>
We now live in a great town in the US with a wonderful library.<br><br>
I believe in strewing my kids path with wonderful literature and art.<br><br>
But I really want and have been working towards a less cluttered house.<br><br>
Thoughts?
 

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I struggle with this one. I never thought I would consider paring down the books as I've always had cases and stacks and piles here and there. The kid's collections keep growing. But as I thin out everything else, I have started to narrow the books now and again - sparingly. In the end, I choose to keep the majority of them.<br><br>
I have gone through and taken out books I thought I "should" read or would get to. If after this many years, I still have not touched it - out it went. With the kid's books, every now and then we scoop up a huge stack and start reading. Some are just awful and they get set aside. If the kid's like them, we keep them.<br><br>
My mom and dad were always reading as were my grandparents. I fell in love with my mom's bookcases as a kid and still covet them. I can be ruthless with many items but books are something else. It did help to really look at each book and decide why I wanted to keep it. Took quite some time and it was an emotional trip. Best of luck finding what works for you....
 

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I'd pare them down...let go of ones that are still in print, easy to find, or that you don't really love. Keep the bookshelves that match your decor best, and go with that.<br><br>
I'm a huge book lover, and I've found so much freedom through letting go of books. I still own a lot, but in the past year, I've released perhaps 1000 or so books...
 

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If you look at my pics in the thread about my living room, you'll see I keep all my books! They are my best friends and I adore living surrounded by them, so I'd get rid of everything else in the house first before letting them go. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">:<br><br>
FWIW, I personally dislike built-ins as I prefer keeping our options open, so we just bought a bunch of bookshelves from IKEA and lined them up so they'd be uniform. We added as we went so it never got really expensive, but you could probably do similar via eBay or something.
 

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well, we have a library, so i don't know how much help i am! it's a small pass-through room to get upstairs. it contains our piano, two bookshelves, a cedar chest filled with records, and our cds/dvds in the closet. it used to be a bedroom, before the attic was finished . . . now it functions like a 10x10 hallway/closet, but we call it the library. oh, wait! even worse, the kids' books are in ds's room. lol, they would fit on the library bookshelves (cheapies from ikea that i think look great) but we read in his room several times a day, so it only makes sense for them to be in there.<br><br>
all that being said, i do purge our books. imo, a good book - one you read, love, refer to - is not clutter. but we had a lot of books that didn't fit any of those criteria, so out they went. actually, i need to do it again . . . and i just did it this past winter. why not declutter the books you feel your family can live without? it will make the books you keep, and the books from the library, that much more enjoyable.
 

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Unschoolers here, and we have the same problem. The books are running us over! I don't mind too much, but I know I should pare down a bit. Ds (10) has 7 bookcases of his own (2 large and 5 small), partner has 5 (3 large and 2 small), and I have 3 (all large).<br><br>
I don't have a problem going through them, but it takes a while. It's a big project. I guess I can easily clear out some of the nonfiction that's focused on specific projects I've finished. Those can go. Also, I need to go through son's and weed out all the ones he feels done with.<br><br>
As far as strewing goes, I've found that books I've bought just in case ds ever developed an interest in X, or books I've bought hoping that ds might come across them and develop an interest in X, have mostly been a waste. In fact, ds has so many of his own interests, strewing things he's not already keen on really makes no sense. He still ends up reading wonderful stuff - lots of classics and just generally well-written children's lit.<br><br>
That said, we'll be keeping the vast majority of our books. That's just who we are. Libraries are wonderful things, but we like to have books that we love around us for whenever we might need/want them. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">:<br><br>
(Man, that is quickly becoming my favorite smiley!)<br><br>
ETA: Okay, I guess I must have been inspired. I've been tackling one of my bookcases today.
 

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My goal is that if I'm going to keep something that means I have to take care of it. The rule is that all books need to be level on the shelf (no leaning) and I have to see the spine. I also went through all of my books and cataloged them in LibraryThing. <a href="http://www.librarything.com/profile/mhasel" target="_blank">http://www.librarything.com/profile/mhasel</a><br>
The process of touching every book jarred a few loose. I gave up keeping sets if I was only interested in the one or two volumes.<br>
You might consider giving up older books that are in public domain such as Shakespeare. He'll always be online.<br>
Book storage is still a huge problem at my house. My DH won't deal with his books at all. At least now I have a few gaps in the non-fiction area.
 

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We lined a bunch of Ikea bookshelves up along the wall and they look great. The key for us was these "extensions" that go on the top and bring the shelves up to the ceiling. It makes them look like built-ins! And the top extension shelf is perfect for display. We also got glass doors to keep the dust down, etc. It makes them look very nice and less overwhelming.<br><br>
Dh is a total book collector, but he has a set amount of space. I would rather rotate most books in and out, but it seems that my appetite for acquiring books is higher than my ability to read them. Plus I also get books from the library and tend to read those first before they are due.<br><br>
I think it is great to have a ton of books around for the kids. You never know when something might spark their interest. And it is nice for us to have variety so we aren't stuck reading the same book over and over and over (though that still happens!). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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We are overflowing with books and have more than our four good-sized bookshelves will hold. Problem is that we are acquiring books at a rate faster than we are getting rid of them = not sustainable.<br><br>
I've always liked the look of books, but I'm now casting a more critical eye to how they are stored/displayed in my home. Having them all higgledy piggledy on so-so shelves isn't working for me right now. I think it makes sense to buy stock shelves but carefully check dimensions to ensure that they look built-in-ish. I'm liking the look of glass doors -- I think that the glass surface minimizes the visual clutter of books as well.<br><br>
I'm due for a big book purge and I'm hoping to get dh to let go of book hoarding as well.
 

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Oh, my, former library teacher here. Whew, this is a tough one!<br><br>
To me, books are near sacred. And with beautiful shelves built in, even in every room on every wall, they can look neat and beautiful. I just love books. I part quite easily with a lot of stuff, but I have a lot of trouble letting go of books. I am a frugal person buy have purchased library bound books to make sure they last.<br><br>
But you know what? Donation is a beautiful thing. Take some of the books that have served you well in the past, release it into the universe, and envision the excitement of some other mother of modest means when she finds these wonderful books.
 

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For me, they are clutter. Texas has a great share program, so I can go to any of the libraries in the area, which amounts to a huge amount of books I can get for free. Then, there's the internet with all of the classics and most periodicals being available for free. We used to have a ton of books, but have now pared it down to 2 baskets plus a small shelf for library books we have checked out.
 

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You can get a built-in look by getting matching bookcases and putting them in a row across a wall, use panels or matching shelves at the ends. As a bonus, you could buy like one bookcase a month and spread the cost out quite a bit.
 

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Another option for bookshelves, if you're handy, is to make some from pine boards (I just got cheap ones & picked through them 1st to get ones that were straight), using wood screws to fasten the planks together (you can counter sink the screws & put wood putty in the holes if the sides will show anywhere) - then stain or paint the shelves however you like. You can also use thin plywood as a backing. I made some custom sized shelves like that, & they were great - looked really nice, solid wood, & were cheap to make <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> Materials used - circular saw, drill, measuring tape, pencil, screwdriver, screws (2 sizes), sandpaper, carpenter's square, can of stain, paint brush, solvent, rags.<br><br>
When we lost everything we owned in a wildfire, some of the very 1st things we replaced were some of our books & a shelf to put them on. Right now we have a 7 ft tall, 30" wide bookshelf (some stacks of books spilling onto a nearby table) crammed, double & triple stacked, with books. It made us feel better to have some of our best friends back. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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I find houses without bookshelves really depressing. I do not consider bookshelves and books clutter. Having said that, I *do* think that buying books is less preferable than the library. I get 75% of my reading from the library.
 

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I've decluttered lots of books over the years. I'll be moving in a few months, and I should be down to 5-6 copy paper boxes of books - I can't tell you how much of an improvement that is!<br><br>
When I first moved to my current city 12 years ago, I had four bookcases of varying sizes. 500+ books. Gave away lots, mostly to the library. Bought more. Sold a bunch on Amazon. I go through this cycle.<br><br>
Problem is, lots of the books I like to read now are related to my faith and are not available at the library. I can't always borrow them. So I buy them. On the occasion that I don't want to keep them, I donate them to my church's library so others will have the chance to read them.<br><br>
I'm now down to one small bookcase, 3 shelf, just above waist height.<br><br>
I DO keep the classics, but I've gone to one-volume "complete" editions, if possible, such as Jane Austen and Shakespeare, as they take up less room on the shelf than lots of the little Penguin Classics paperbacks. I like to have a book in my hands, not just read something on the internet, so I will keep my Penguin Classics of Dickens and some others. I will keep a few books boxed up in the closet, but not many. Mostly seasonal ones. I'm down to about 100 books total (or a little less) now. I'm TV-free so I read a lot.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>YesandNo</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11623908"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I find houses without bookshelves really depressing. I do not consider bookshelves and books clutter. Having said that, I *do* think that buying books is less preferable than the library. I get 75% of my reading from the library.</div>
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I've got a little bookcase, but there are a few books scattered on surfaces around my LR. If someone has NO books around, it IS depressing.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Masel</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11609837"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">also went through all of my books and cataloged them in LibraryThing. <a href="http://www.librarything.com/profile/mhasel" target="_blank">http://www.librarything.com/profile/mhasel</a><br>
The process of touching every book jarred a few loose.</div>
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I cataloged my daughter's books on Library Thing and had the same experience. Holding each book and listing it allowed me to find a few duplicates that went to the library sale, to toss a few that were in dreadful condition, and to pass on a few more that were no longer age appropriate or beloved enough to keep.<br><br>
Next up, I'm tackling my husband's books, leaving mine for last.<br><br>
I'm fond of lining up bookcases on outer walls, filling them with books, and then calling them insulation. Dual purpose!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Tradd</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11624141"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Problem is, lots of the books I like to read now are related to my faith and are not available at the library. I can't always borrow them. So I buy them. On the occasion that I don't want to keep them, I donate them to my church's library so others will have the chance to read them.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"><br><br>
Most of mine are nonfiction and out of print, and they're books I find myself returning to again and again - lots of home/unschooling, hippie parenting, crafting, grammar, frugality, cooking, natural/simple living, homesteading, etc. I also have an entire bookcase filled with poetry books, many (most?) of which are also out of print. I think I have only about a shelf-and-a-half of fiction.<br><br>
Our library is somewhat dinky. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I could make use of the "TexShare" program and order books from other libraries, but ours charges a fee for the service, and it's hit or miss. I usually still can't find what I'm looking for. Besides, the books I've kept over the years are all ones I want to have on hand, anyway. I'm really kind of ruthless with which books I decide get to stay. Even if there are a lot of them around, I'm happy to keep and maintain them.
 

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Books are my only clutter. I have paired down, but still love to see shelf after shelf of great reads just sitting there. Love those books!
 

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I would donate them to your public library. I'm still trying to talk DH into donating books, but they are very hard for him to part with, and I understand that. it it were up to me, I'd keep the favorites and donate the rest, but to him they're all favorites. We're in the process of moving at have at least 10 (16x16) boxes of books.
 
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