Weaning Off the Book Habit

This is the third of five pre-written blog postings while I travel.

I used to have a problem with books. I’d buy lots of them and I wouldn’t get rid of a single one, even if I didn’t like it.

Then I renovated and decided on having just one bookcase in the house. Books were stacked three deep, which ruined the bookcase. It was a gorgeous built-in made by my Dad echoing ones we had in the house where I grew up. But it couldn’t be seen for books.

It was time to get the books off my back.

I couldn’t quit cold turkey. I weaned myself off slowly. Putting over half of them in airtight containers in the basement, I pulled them out six months later and reviewed my choices. Most I hadn’t missed. Some I decided to read once more than pass along and some I decided to keep.

I also went through the books I’d kept and streamlined those for any I hadn’t touched or thought about.

Then I called the Trinity College Booksale. I couldn’t bring myself to take the books somewhere, but someone from the TCB was happy to pick them up.

If I had been willing to trade scarce wall and floor space for more shelving, I would have kept more, but my house was small and I didn’t want to live in a used bookstore. Better that someone else enjoy them.

The final step in breaking the habit was a one book in, one book out policy, and I started frequenting the library a lot more.

It felt good to be free.

Someday Lessons:

  • Decide on a limited storage space for your collections and stick to that limit. Don’t give in to overcrowding.
  • You can get rid of things in stages. It doesn’t have to be all at once.

2 thoughts on “Weaning Off the Book Habit

  1. Amy Mowbray says:

    Okay, you’ve motivated to donate books, but do I really have to get rid of my Martha magazines? Or should I go through them and tear out my favorite articles?

  2. Alex Fayle says:

    If you want to keep them, then keep them. No one says you have to throw anything out, but if you know you’ll never look at them again, then get rid of them.

    And unless you’re going to make a scrapbook out of your favourite articles, I wouldn’t tear out pages – they just get messy. Plus in a magazine, articles often are continued 50 pages later, and what if two articles are continued later on opposite sides of a page?

    If you get pleasure out of having them, then find a nice way to store the magazines that gives you easy access to them so that you actually do reread them.

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