I was chatting with a client about New Year’s resolutions – or lack thereof. She doesn’t make resolutions either, but she identified a couple of things she would like to change for the upcoming year. One of the things she wants to do is read more. She could make a book resolution.
Apparently, during the holidays, one of her children mentioned that she doesn’t sit and read with them anymore. Since her children are now too old to have books read to them, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for her to sit and read the books she wants to read during her children’s reading time. Cool idea!
The conversation got me thinking about some of my previous clients – specifically those with extensive book collections. Those clients find it hard it is to let go of their books. And one of my aunts is a writer with a huge weakness for books. Full bookshelves occupy much of her modestly sized two-bedroom apartment.
Why We Keep Books
Let’s examine some of the reasons we hold onto books. The book:
- Cost a lot of money.
- Is part of a set.
- Has a pretty cover.
You can also be sentimentally attached to many of your books because the characters can become friends. I have no doubt they look beautiful on your shelves, the floor, your coffee table, and so on. Now, let’s imagine that you are moving to a smaller home or you are tired of tripping over the piles on the floor. It’s time to do a good edit.
Imagine you were stranded on a desert island. Collect about twenty books you would take with you and place them on a separate shelf. Those are the books you will keep.
Sort Non-Fiction into Categories
Next, sort your non-fiction books into categories. Once you discover that you have twenty books on Home Organizing, you may decide that there is really only one that you will read again. Let the rest go to someone else who will read them and implement some of the ideas. Or if you have 40 cookbooks, but you rarely cook, let alone try new recipes, you could let go of 90% of them. After all, if you need a recipe, there are thousands available online.
Pass Them Along
If you read a book that you enjoy, instead of putting it back on the shelf, consider passing it along to someone else who will appreciate it. Then, ask them to do the same. If you buy or receive a book that you start to read but lose interest in, 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 read a review and want to read the book, add the information 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 a book resolution this year? What are your ideas about managing your books? What’s worked for you?