Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Of the making of books there is no end . . .

. . . and apparently that’s true of the acquiring of books as well. Recently I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I found it was just what I needed to give direction to my heretofore dilatory efforts at decluttering.

Finished bookcases, this iteration, anyway. :-p

For the last two weeks I’ve been going through our books with the goal of having all my books on shelves (or at least on furniture) rather than in boxes in the attic and in piles on the floors of various rooms, which seems like a reasonable enough goal, given that I have more than a hundred and twenty feet of shelf space available, not counting shelves in the bedrooms, plus end tables and various other horizontal surfaces that normal people adorn with knick-knacks.

Untouched bookcases

To date I’ve gotten rid of nearly five hundred (500!) books, and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to meet the goal after all.

Books everywhere!


  1. [solemnly removes hat and bows very low] Kelly, if you have managed to get rid of 500 books, you are doing very well indeed. I am immensely impressed. I don't think I could manage more than 50, and that would be a stretch.

    1. In all honestly though the first half of that was mostly books that I brought home from library sales on the last day -- if you're still there when they close, they tell you to take whatever you want, just take it. Even those books I don't bring home indiscriminately, but still, you do wind up with a high dross to gold/silver ratio.

      Of the rest, at least half of it was children's picture and story books, and easy readers (I had over a hundred of those), so I asked a fellow homeschooling mom with young children to come look it over. She took nearly all of it.

      The remainder was made up of stuff I bought for school that didn't work out, and practical books that I no longer need to keep -- health and nutrition, gardening and raising animals, housekeeping and home organization, marriage and family, Bible studies and devotionals . . . Things of that nature.

      When I went through my literature, I found very little to get rid of, and I haven't even touched my history or education shelves yet or foreign language. I had just started going through my nature and science books when I stopped to take the picture above. All these last categories are going to be the hard ones.

  2. I did do a preliminary clearout of homeschooling stuff when our daughter headed off to college. But I've got a bad case of "I might want to read it/refer to it someday". I need to go through again with my sister's mantra in mind: "Let the universe store it."

    History is one of the tough ones for me to let go of, too - especially medieval and British. I tend to hang onto those. And literature, and theater (plays, but also costuming and my stage makeup textbook from college) and music books. I also have a ton of fiction I've bought at library sales because it looks interesting, but I haven't gotten around to yet. I really need to prune the latter - if I haven't picked it up in three years, I'm probably not all that interested!

    1. Books are a completely different category for you and me than they are for the author. For us, they are a heritage we're building for our grandchildren, our favorite creative outlet and hobby, and the tools of our trade, so it's natural that some of her standards don't apply to us. She wouldn't expect a mechanic to get rid of his 7/32" 12-point socket just because he'd never used it before.

    2. That's a good point, and I love how you describe books as "our favorite creative outlet and hobby, and the tools of our trade."


What are your thoughts? I love to hear from you!