We’re moving in a couple weeks (the first time since I was 9 years old), and I’ve been going through my library of 3000+ books, choosing the books that I could bear to part with and NOT have to pack to move. Which made me wonder…When’s the last time you weeded out your library? Do you regularly keep it pared down to your reading essentials? Or does it blossom into something out of control the minute you turn your back, like a garden after a Spring rain?
Or do you simply not get rid of books? At all? (This would have described me for most of my life, by the way.)
And–when you DO weed out books from your collection (assuming that you do) …what do you do with them? Throw them away (gasp)? Donate them to a charity or used bookstore? SELL them to a used bookstore? Trade them on Paperback Book Swap or some other exchange program?
Okay, first of all – 3,000+ books?! My house is not big enough to have that many books on hand. I wish I did, and someday I hope to have an official room devoted to nothing but books. It is one of the first things on my list for must-have items in my house of dreams. However, since I am nowhere close to getting my house of dreams right now, I have to make due with one old five-shelf bookcase, two three-shelf bookcases, and a closet. In order to keep the chaos to a minimum – because I hate messy bookshelves and disorder – I do weed pretty frequently.
Lately, I have been weeding my books the minute I finish them. I typically divide them into four categories: books I will read again and therefore must keep, books I want my husband to read and therefore will keep for him until he is finished, books that my friends would like, and other. With those in the other category, they go in the Goodwill pile and are donated to that organization when our pile gets big enough. It has never occurred to me to try to sell them or trade them away. I typically want to share the wealth as much as possible, and if it means donating books to an organization that caters to those who may be less fortunate than me, I feel like I have done so. I have read that some bloggers donate their books to their libraries, which I may consider doing as well. Unfortunately, the last time I checked out books from the library, they were returned late, so before I donate, I better pay off that late fee! You would think one would cancel out the other, right?
I’m curious, though, what others do. Am I the only one with a ridiculously small personal library due to sheer lack of space? How do others manage their libraries? And while we are on the topic, how do others manage to cram thousands of books into their house? Let me know what you do!
Sarbear – I think the answer is that I NEED more bookcases.
Michelle, I manage mine with really, really tall, big bookcases, but they are still overflowing. Every once in a while I fill a cloth bag with books that I don't HAVE to keep. I only keep my favorites, which I might read again. I give the others away to people I know, or the library, or if they aren't in good shape, I put them in a box outside that says “Take Me.” People ALWAYS take them!
pussreboots – I have two three-shelf bookcases in my living room, one five-shelf bookcase in my office. The kids each have one three-shelf bookcase, and my son has an extra one as well. I didn't include them in my list. Between the three of us…yikes! I think we just might have 1,000 books in the house!
Matt – My classics I keep whether I like them or not. They are classics for a reason and will never go out of fashion. Everything else I tend to be fairly particular. Again, lack of room or the fact that we used to move every year. We've settled down quite a bit, and my library has definitely grown as a result!
Ceri – That's how I choose to keep mine. Would I read it again? If yes, then it stays. If not, then I give it away. It gives me so much satisfaction to do so!
Barbara – At last count I had over 300 in my bookshelves and at least fifty waiting for me to read in my TBR pile. I really need to get another bookshelf!
Our little home is crammed with bookshelves. We have five in the living room, one in the kids' room, 4 in our bedroom and another 4 in a closet. For a total of 14 shelves. Then there are boxes of books under our stairs.
My post is here.
I get rid of the ones that I absolutely don’t like, the ones that I rate as “Toss” in reviews. I tend to keep books that are of literary artistry.
My book collection was getting out of hand half way through uni so I made a decision to sell half of them because I knew I'd never read them again. Now, after I've read a book I'll decide whether I can imagine myself reading it again in the future or not bothering to pick it up at all (regardless of whether I enjoyed it or not). If I know I'll read it again, I'll keep it. If I know it'll gather dust on my shelves, I'll sell it or give it away. I like knowing that someone else might get something more out of a book I don't need. 🙂
I have no idea how many I have. I don't think anywhere near 3,000! But shelf space is running out — books are shelved two rows deep in some instances — so I am due for a “weeding” soon. Lack of space has caused me to do as you do and sort them out as soon as I read them.
Gautami – I agree where there is a will; unfortunately my minor OCD tends to kick in and causes me to purge more often than I probably want to when it comes to clutter. (That and my husband won't let me get yet another bookcase.)
Crystal – Don't get me wrong. My TBR pile is growing at a much faster rate than I am reading these days. I keep them separate from my bookshelves though. Only books I have read and know I am going to keep get put away on the bookshelves. Everything else is stashed in closets or nightstand drawers.
Novelinsights – Complete with wall to ceiling book shelves, a fireplace, and a cozy chaise lounge or several other cozy chairs!
Mervi – When things get really bad, I've been known to shove anywhere, including nightstands and stacked on top of each other in bookshelves. I also keep my TBR books separate from my bookshelves, which helps cut down on some of the clutter too. I used to move quite a bit when I was first married, so I wonder if that had anything to do with my small-ish library.
Novroz – I commend you for being more of a library girl. My problem is time – I just don't have the time to go to the library and find it a lot easier to buy online and have the books shipped to me. If I lived within walking distance of one, I bet I would change my tune!
Lilly – Here, here!!
That's great that you handle your personal library like that. My problem is I tend to bring in more books than I read. But I'm now working on that better.
Seems like quite a few people have dreams of having their own library 🙂
How do I keep books? When there is a will, there is a way!
Booking Through Weeding
I used to live in a tiny studio just last year, where I crammed books in to pretty much anywhere I could: bookshelves had two rows of paperbacks and more crammed into the top, boxes under the bed, and in the closet.
Now I have somewhat bigger apartment and… more books. 🙂 I still stack books every way possible into the shelves and boxes.
I'm expanding my library with ebooks and audiobooks which I can just save on my computer. Easier to carry during the next move!
I havent got thousands of books, so I can't answer that 🙂
I haven't done weeding yet…coz my collection is still not overgrown yet….I'm more a library girl than bookstore girl.
Like you, I also hope to one day have a separate room designated only for my books and nothing else. I hope both your and my plans come true.