It's hard to declutter books

From my reading, it seems that getting rid of books is a challenge for many people. It's medium-hard for me, not so much because I'm getting rid of a book per se, but because I can always see the possibilities in any book as an art or craft project.

  • Vintage books with yellowed pages are great for making those paper wreaths you see all over Pinterest. 

  • Hardcover books are fun to alter, and make great art journals. 

  • You can tear out pages and draw, paint, or print on them.

  • You can make paper flowers with book pages. I haven't mastered this one yet, even though I've been trying.

  • If you're trying to be "green", you can tear out the pages, roll them up, and use them for starting a fire in your woodstove.

  • You can tear up the pages, soak it in water, and make paper mash out of it. If you don't want to go through all that, you can tear the pages into strips and use it for paper mache projects.

You can see the problem, right?

My husband and I have been stepping up the pace a little recently when it comes to getting rid of books. I don't want to buy another bookcase just to store books we probably won't read again, so I'm trying to whittle down what we have so they'll fit on our two small bookcases, and the shelf on our headboard.

One round of book decluttering took care of the books that had print that still seemed tiny even when  reading glasses were worn.

Another round took care of books that were read once or twice, and that I had planned to sell, but changed my mind because of the hassle. I'd rather get the books OUT of the house than have them sit here taking up space, waiting for me to list them somewhere. I'm just not into that now, so I either take books over to the library for them to sell to support library projects, or we take them to our town's freebie building at the recycling center.

I was reading Undercover Minimalist last night, and she said that she doesn't read as many print books now because she tends to read more blogs than books. That's true for me too. I do most of my reading online these days.

Sometimes I pull out a stack of books I think I'd like to get rid of, but am not sure about. In that case, I have to ask myself...

  • Do I think I'll read this again? (Probably not.)
  • Is information online more current than what I'd find in this book? (Probably.)
  • Is it realistic to think that I'm going to bother listing this book for sale somewhere and wait for it to sell, only to get pennies on the dollar that I paid for it? (Nope. Too much hassle for too little return.)
  • Do I need to start any more art journals? (No.)
  • Am I REALLY going to take the time to do a paper mache project? (No, no, and no. I don't want the mess of making paper mache items, and I don't want them spread out all over the place to dry.)

 For some more tips on decluttering books...

How to declutter your bookshelves  I like how she says she and her husband leave their culled books in a box on the way out for a couple of days so that they have time to realize it's not so painful to let them go after all. I do this too sometimes.

Painfree ways to declutter your library I loved the photos of people's bookshelves and libraries that were posted with this article. The funny thing is, once you declutter and downsize your collection, you wouldn't need anywhere near the space that some of these homes have for books.

How about you? Do you find it hard to part with books?

1 comment:

  1. When I blogged about decluttering our books it generated a lot of heated discussion. I did wonder about blogging about decluttering our children for a comparison response rate.

    I got rid over over 500 books and it was one of my eureka moments. I felt a huge sense of shame that they had been gathering dust on my shelves when somebody else could be enjoying them. When people commented to me that they could never get rid of their books (with a not so subtle undermessage that they were intellectually or otherwise superior and thus needed their books) I told them this story.

    Imagine that all the great artwork in the entire world is gathered together in one huge museum. Twenty thousand people are given special tickets that allows them access 24/7. Not one single one of them takes advantage of this privilege and the rest of the world misses out.

    That is the situation my books were in. I was never going to read them again but there were hundreds of people who would love them. As they all went to a book charity called Borderline Books I know that they went to good homes.

    Don't get me wrong, we still have lots of books but they are either ones we know we will read again, are as yet unread and will be read, are textbooks or academic books we need for work or are one of a handful of books with great emotional value. And I do mean handful.


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