Are Your Shelves Buckling Under the Weight of Books?

Published: 13th July 2010
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How many books do you own? How many books do read in the average month or year? October is Book Month. Books are a fabulous source for information, fun, escape, new learning, etc. However, as important as books are, they can also cause clutter. It's time to explore ways to encourage reading without causing clutter. Depending on the number of books in your collection, one or more of the following ideas will help you protect, cherish, and find your books.

• Carve out a 15 minute block of time in your schedule for two days each week and go through one shelf of books, pull out those that have outdated information, don't appeal to you anymore, or pertain to an interest you no longer hold (did you stop keeping tropical fish 13 years ago?). Put them into a box. Place the box in your car and drop them off the next time you pass a library or donation site.

• Take books you no longer need to a used bookstore. Sell them or use the credit to buy a book or two. Limit your purchase to no more than $3 over the credit that you received!

• Each time you buy a new book, donate one or two books currently on your shelves.

• Books that your children have outgrown may be accepted at a children's consignment shop, place of worship, daycare, or school.

• Put a ban on buying new books and borrow from the library.

• Borrow, download, or buy digital media that you can listen to while you drive or exercise.

• Periodically meet with booklover friends to exchange books and then donate any that no one wanted. You may not, under any circumstances, take home more books than you arrived with!

• College textbooks that you haven't opened in the last year can be sold to a college bookstore, donated to non-profits which provide education in less wealthy places, or may be recycled if your community accepts them. If all else fails, you have my permission to dispose of them. It is okay. There will not be long-term penalties for throwing away a book!

Books should be enjoyable and informative; they should not be a burden, a source of furniture damage, or dust-bunny collectors. Take one step today to cull your book collection so that no matter which book you put your hand on at any given time, it is one that you would get pleasure or benefit from reading.

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