I was chatting with a client last week about resolutions for the New Year… or lack thereof. She also doesn’t make resolutions, but she does identify a couple of things she would like to do more or less of in the current year. One of the things she wants to do more of is read books. Apparently one of her children said something over the holiday season about how she doesn’t sit and read with them anymore. They are too old to have books read to them so that seemed like the perfect opportunity to sit and read her own book during her children’s reading time. Cool idea.
That conversation got me thinking about all of the clients I have worked with who have a huge collection of books and how hard it is to let go of them. And one of my aunts is a writer with a huge weakness for books. Much of her modestly sized two-bedroom apartment is taken up by bookshelves.
First of all, let’s examine some of the reasons we hold onto books. The book cost a lot of money. The book is part of a set. The book has such a pretty cover. You are sentimentally attached to many of your books. Books can become your friends and I have no doubt they look beautiful on your shelves, on the floor, on your coffee table, and so on . . .
Now, let’s imagine that you are moving to a smaller home or that you are tired of tripping over the piles on the floor and it’s time to do a good edit.
Perhaps start by pulling a collection of about twenty books you would take with you if you were stranded on a desert island and place them on a shelf of their own. Those are the non-negotiable ones.
Sort Non Fiction into Categories
Next, sort all of your non-fiction books into categories. Once you discover that you have twenty books on how to get organized you may decide that there is really only one that you will read again and you will let the rest go to someone else who will read the book and actually implement some of the ideas. Or if you have forty cookbooks and you rarely cook, let alone try new recipes, you could let go of 90 per cent of them. After all, if you need a recipe there are thousands available online.
Pass Them Along
If you read a book that you really enjoy, instead of putting it back on the shelf, pass it along to someone else who will enjoy it and ask them to do the same. If you buy or are given a book that you start to read and lose interest in after a few pages, pass it along to someone else who will read it.
Make a List
If someone tells you about a great book that you must read or you read a review and you want to read the book, add the titles and author to a list instead of buying the book. Wait until you have time to read a new book and then look at your list and either purchase or borrow the next book that interests you.
Do you have ideas of what to do with all your books? What’s worked for you?