Weekly Quick Tips
It’s Time to Liberate Your Library
Decluttering books can be especially difficult because often our identities are bound to what we read, or plan to read one day.
We think that our books are testament of our academic success, proof of our knowledge, a narrative of our personalities and interests. We come to believe that if we let go of books, we let go of our sense of self. You are not your books, and your books are merely paper and printed words. Your college degree will not disappear if you ditch your old textbooks. You will not be a better writer, mother or rock star because you own, but have never cracked the collected works of Shakespeare, What to Expect When You’re Expecting or Steven Tyler’s memoires.
Not even a good book can transport you out of a cluttered life. Point in case, EVERY home we have organized has had an organizing book on their overstuffed bookshelf. Only you can do that, and here’s how.
What to Keep: Remember these three R’s ~
Reference, Reread and Rare
Reference Materials are sources of information (data bases, abstracts, journals, maps) that are used for answering inquires. Such items are not normally lent by libraries, can be industry specific or uncommon, or may be used often enough to justify keeping a copy at your fingertips. Keep reference material only if you use it and cannot easily source an electronic version.
Keep the books you reread, not “oh, I’m going to reread it…someday”, but books you have read through on multiple occasions and will read again. Perhaps the Harry Potter series, JRR Tolkien.
Keep the books that are rare or irreplaceable, but think carefully of what rare or irreplaceable means to you. It may mean a signed first edition, or a Dr. Suess book that you wrote your name in 40 years ago. If it brings you joy or cannot be attained elsewhere, then consider keeping it. But remember, you don’t need to keep the whole Dr. Suess collection to recall that you were once a preschooler who defaced books…
What to Liberate
Work these steps to declutter your library:
- Is this book in good condition? If the book is dirty, moldy, water damaged, had damaged binding or pages, is missing covers or pages, or is warped, throw the book away or recycle it. If you would not re-gift the book in this condition, then do not donate it.
- Can I borrow it from the library or find it on the Internet?
- Is this book fulfilling its purpose?
Knowledge is power? Not if that knowledge remains trapped between two covers. You render your books valueless if you don’t allow them to be read. Set your literature free. Let it fulfill its destiny -to educate, entertain, enlighten, empower -by making it available to others.Copyright © 2013 Organizing Lives ® All rights are reserved and no part of this article may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means unless expressly stated otherwise, or except with the written permission of Organizing Lives®. Enquires should be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org