Sunday, February 2, 2014

Slower & Simpler - All Those Books

One area of my life that definitely needs attention is my horde of books.  I'm ready to clear out my accumulation from the years...except for all of my basketry, beading, and craft books.  That will require additional enlightenment, I'm afraid.

Mike Burns has a great blog on why we keep our books:

4 Faulty Reasons That We Keep Too Many Books

4 reasons too many booksBooks are hard to get rid of.
There’s something about them that makes it hard to say “goodbye.”
It may be the smell of the pages or the texture of the cover. It may be the memory of how much the information inside them changed our lives for good. Perhaps there’s a sentiment attached because of our feelings toward the person who gave it to us.
There are lots of reasons why we want to hold on to our books. But, for many people, book clutter is a significant problem.
I often hear people talking about how difficult it is for them to declutter their bookshelves (and the boxes of books in their garages!)
I can relate.
I love to read.
Over the years, I accumulated MOUNDS of books. Some I read, some I skimmed, and others I stored away, waiting for some “extra time” to pull them out and dig in.
Until it just got plain ridiculous.
We’ve moved a number of times over the past 15 years. We enjoy it. But, what we did NOT enjoy, was dragging around totes and boxes of books that felt like they weighed 3 tons each!
The pain of keeping them became great enough to move us to action. So, I began getting rid of some books…a little at a time.
I did this a number of times, until finally, I committed to drastic measures when we moved across the country with just a small 6×12 UHaul trailer. At that point, I whittled what was left of my huge book collection down to only 18 physical books.
I learned some things throughout that process. I learned a little bit about myself and why I, personally, held on to so many books. I’m going to share a few of the reasons with you, in hopes that you may resonate with them.
If we can identify our resistance points, then we can work against them and make clearer decisions.
Obviously, there is no magic number of books that each person should own. In fact, if owning 3,000 books makes you happy and doesn’t interfere with your priorities, GO FOR IT! There are no simplicity police that will come and knock on your door. It’s your life, and you have the right to have your own library if you choose to do so!
But, for those of us who are frustrated by the piles of books and want to do something about it…. I remind you that “You CAN do this!” You can identify your faulty reasons for keeping them, remind yourself why they’re faulty, and declutter your collection.
Here are a few of the things you may be telling yourself.

4 Faulty Reasons That We Keep Too Many Books:

“I’m going to read them again, soon.”

Be honest. You probably won’t. You want to, but your time restraints and appetite for NEW books will likely drown those intentions. There may be a few that you actually WILL read again. If so, keep them. But few is the key word. If you haven’t read them by now, it’s not likely that it’s going to happen.

“My children will read them one day.”

Maybe. But probably not. There are a few books that are “timeless.” But most are very time- and culturally-specific. There are so many books being written every day and that is not likely going to change.

“I don’t want them to go to waste.”

This is totally understandable! But, there’s good news… They don’t have to go to waste! You can pass them on to other people in a number of different ways (by selling or donating them). Just because you are finished with them doesn’t mean that their work is done!

“I might need to reference them in the future.”

This was more of a legitimate concern before the internet. Today, it doesn’t carry much weight. As long as we have online access, we can find whatever little piece of info we need in a matter of seconds. And, I’m fairly certain that online connectivity isn’t going anywhere.
These are just a few. You may have your own faulty reasons that aren’t on this list. Whatever they are, face them. Call them what they are.
Don’t forget…I’m an author. I’m not trying to do away with physical books. I love them! I hope people keep buying them.
But too much is too much. At some point, they have to move on. There are others who could benefit from them. I’ll keep a few that I really love. But I won’t keep them all.
How about you?
Do you have too many books?
What faulty reasoning has held you back from decluttering your collection?

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