I hear it all the time, usually out of my own mouth, “I have too many books!”
Why we nerd-kind are still so encumbered by dust-jacket wearing invaders is a bit of a mystery. I mean, I’m an early adapter, I have a Kindle, I don’t need paper books! Part of the reason I got on the e-reader band wagon was a hope to be free from my quad-edged vice. I own every fairytale, dozens of quick read thrillers, and every out of print classic that comes in a downloadable medium. I also own three book shelves full of books! Three! Where did I go wrong?
Enter my new checklist for decluttering that monstrous beast The Bookshelf
1. Find duplicates. I don’t need to own both a digital and paper edition (unless the paper ed. Is signed, a gift, or somehow really sentimental), scrap any identical twins.
2. Sort out beach books. These are the books I bought thinking I’d read on vacation or it was used and therefo cheaper than the Kindle version. I put these right next to my bed in an obtrusive pile so I couldn’t forget I was supposed to be reading them. I also cancelled my queue at the library so newbies weren’t jumping the line. I’ve already found a number of thrift store paperbacks I have no intention of ever reading again.
3. Put my false idols on a pedestal. I have a few signed books, copies of my grandfather’s books, and my own travel journals that are important to me. I sorted these out, making sure they weren’t getting indented or damaged. I stacked a few favorites next to these until I filled up my shelf. I took the left over books and made a pile for reconsidation.
4. School books. Oy. I don’t really need a forensic anthropology field guide anymore and I’ll probably never re-read Roy Strong’s theory of symbolism in portraits of Queen Elizabeth, yet there they are. These have also gone in the reconsiderstion pile but I can’t seem to part. I think it may be some irrational fear that my dissertation will come into question and I’ll be forced to defend it. I did pull out the really boring books and send them off to good will even though they cost a fortune and now no one wanted them. Textbooks are pretty much a waste of money, no need to make them a waste of space. Although I did find an old writing guide book and it was brilliant! So glad I found that again!
5. I let the pile sit for a week and then donated. I needed to be sure I wouldn’t pull a regret and rebuy. My books could still be lessened but my bookends aren’t falling off the sides anymore!
6. Design. I took my pendulum clock out of storage and used it to separate my row, then I set up some prettily covered books in a bookstore fashion to make a dozen novels look like four!