Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Purging by a Book Lover

One of my goals for 2015 was to work on some purging/organizational projects and I have been attacking those projects with gusto in January.  In general, I would say that I don't accumulate a lot of things as I tend to get in these 'purging moods' often enough to avoid amassing all that many possessions.  Plus, since I graduated from college 12 years ago (eeps, that makes me feel old) I have mostly lived in one bedroom apartments/condos which limits the amount of things a person can accumulate.

That said, while I have done a lot of purging of possessions in the past, one group of possessions that was untouched was my books. As you all know, I LOVE books.  I dream of some day having a study or a library with walls of bookshelves so I figured there was no use to purge my book collection because someday I would have a place to display them all.

But then I got to thinking about the books that I do have and why I have them.  And I read this article on Book Riot about why we keep the books we keep which resonated with me.  And I looked at my over flowing book shelves and thought about how much I dislike the cluttered state of my book shelves and I decided it was time to do a book purging project.

I had two criteria in mind when going through the books on my book shelves:  1)  Is this something I enjoyed reading?  2)  Is this a book I would recommend and/or lend to others.  If the answer to these questions was no, I put the book in the donation pile.  I tackled this project yesterday morning and this was the result...


I ended up putting 59 books in the donation pile.

I thought I would be sad after I completed this project, but I'm not at all.  Those books don't really represent who I am and what my interests are.  Plus it is wonderful to look at my book shelves and not see them overflowing with piles of books that I didn't have room for in the past and it freed up a book shelf for my DVDs which used to be crammed in my TV stand.  

The next decision was what to do with all these books.  Luckily, Book Riot had a great post with lots of options and after perusing this list, I decided to donate my books to Books for Africa. They have a donation site in St. Paul, MN so it is convenient for me to donate to this organization (I also plan to make a monetary donation to cover the per book cost of shipping them to Africa).

It is a lot easier to part with all these books knowing they will go to a great cause. 

Do you own a lot of books?  Have you or would you ever do a book purge project like I did?

21 comments:

smalltownamericana said...

I actually did a huge book purge years ago when I finally finished converting my library to e-books (coincidentally, it was around the same time as I was about to move, so the timing worked out). I ended up just donating all mine to the local library - they were more than happy to receive all the titles!

Becky said...

I love this! I purge my books pretty regularly, but since I gave up a half bookshelf to keep in the nursery I definitely have the "crammed in" feelings on my bookshelves again - this is inspiring me to go through and purge mine too!

Love that you donated them and have more space now! Woo hip!

missris said...

I go through my bookshelves at least once a year and do a big purge. I usually take them to Half Price Books and get a few bucks back. I am an extreme minimalist though, so purging books isn't as hard for me as I thought it would be :)

A said...

You just can't keep every book that you've ever owned. You can't. I usually bring mine to the 'brary to donate (they're resold in a used book sale, with the money going back to the library). But, honestly, working in a library means that I buy waaaaaaaaaaay less books than I used to. (Yet they're still all over my house!)

Stephany said...

I am one of those weirdo book lovers that doesn't really own books. The only ones I do own are the ones I get for free to review on my blog, and I'll usually donate those to the library when I'm finished with them. I'm just not much of a re-reader and have never really been one to BUY books (library FTW!). In my journey to be more of a minimalist, I knew purging my books felt right for me. If there's a book I love and want to keep, now I just buy the e-book version.

Nora said...

I have a HUGE table in my garage right now that is full of books, and I'm still going. I still have 2 shelves to go through. I'm going to donate the books to a Book Fair that Connections to Success is doing in honor of my mom in May (it's going to be a yearly event). I figure what better thing to do with the books!?

Marlys said...

Bravo! I should do a book purge, too, as there are lots of books that you read when you were in high school etc, that I know we aren't going to read anymore. Why is it so hard to part with books? I think what you are doing is a grand idea! I know there are second hand bookstores that I could give mine to, so will have to do that someday!

suki said...

I'm planning on tackling the Konmari method of tidying. I will definitely be getting rid of books. The philosophy behind book purging is that if you haven't read it lately and you planned to, well you're not going to otherwise you would have done it already. If you do end up reading the book at a later date, you can re-acquire it at that point in time. :p

Carolina John said...

Outstanding! Every time we move I'm reminded exactly how many books we have and I get rid of a bunch of them. Kids books pile up so quickly, and my programming language books go out of date pretty quickly too. it's insane. Nice job on the purge.

Gracie said...

I actually own very few books even though I'm a book lover - because I I use the library a lot. I just got used to not hanging on to books after I got married and moved into a small, storageless house.

Amber said...

That's a good idea! I should really purge our bookshelf too. I don't even remember the last time I read a book off our bookshelf. It's mostly full of Eric's books and books I've already read as I very rarely buy actual books anymore, but a purge still wouldn't hurt.

You are rocking your list of organization projects you have for 2015!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Nice job getting started on your yearly projects already!

I always wanted a huge library as well, but there is something to be said for quality over quantity! My books have actually sat in storage for about 10 years since I have traveled so much for work. Now that I am in one place, I am still hesitant to move them in, as if that would signal the end of my carefree days. I have gone through them a couple of times and last time took 3 boxes to Goodwill.

I actually use the library so much now that I have not bought a book in almost 2 years (I still buy them as gifts though, especially for the kids)!

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Good work on the purging! I actually don't own many books- it's been a long time since I was a regular book buyer- I love the library and now my kindle so the only real books I own are teaching ones, and even those a lot I store at work ha ha.

Tara Settembre said...

I have the same criteria! :) I ended up purging a lot when I moved and then again more when I unpacked and put them up in my book shelves.

Elizabeth said...

Nice job here! I tend to go through and purge stuff (closets, items, kitchen goods, etc) about every six months. I do have at least a dozen books I haven't read yet and probably a book box full of "keepers." Sounds like these ones were worth getting rid of :)

Abby said...

This is so cool! I love it! I know it was probably hard for you to let go of these books - but what a great feeling to know they're going to a great cause and will make someone very happy.

I don't own too many books, and luckily by the time I really started purchasing them...I owned a kindle. Ryan on the other hand is a bit of a "project". He has a lot of books. Especially "technical books" - which are large and take up great space on our book shelves and storage rooms.

Jeanie said...

Holy Maloley! Good for you, Lisa! I have a hard time getting rid of books and still have TONS, but since our independent bookstore started buying books for a used section, I've been taking some there (and get store credit, which is nice!). I take some to book club and offer them up to whomever wants them. The others, I suspect, will go to the library for their sale, unless they are targeted special interest -- then I'll try to find a give-away (or sell) home on facebook or through other venues. Who knows!

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I own a ridiculous amount because I cannot jump on the ereader train. My goal is to actually purge them next Saturday. I am going to try to sell some on my local garage sale sites and then I will donate them to the library where I usually stock up on books myself. I am overflowing all of mine and Isla's bookshelves.

CharisFaith said...

I'm impressed by how many you were able to let go of! I hold on to my favorite authors and I re-read the stories. When I moved and had to let go of so much I took my favorite books to my mom and she kept them at her house.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I own a LOT of books, but I have such a hard time getting rid of any.

Shoshanah said...

I really need to get better at this since the amount of books I owned is ridiculous. I do list books on paperback swap, which helps to purge. Although a lot of books people on paperback swap don't want, so those ones I donate to goodwill. I used to keep every book I read so it's definitely a change, but slowly I'm getting more ok with this.