by Susan McCarthy
Everyday practice: Create rules that work for your purchasing habits. One print book in/one print book out; use the library instead of buying print books; buy one book a month - whatever works for you.
At one point in my life, I had so many books that I asked my brother to build me bookshelves. When he saw the many many boxes of books, he built a structure so sturdy he could lay down on one of the shelves. I thought the piece was oversized, but, when I loaded up the shelves, I was piling books in front of other piles of books.
I was afraid the thing was going to go through the floor.
Whenever I moved, there were more boxes of books than of clothing. I learned that I could carry a banker’s box full of books (and, bonus, those boxes had handles).
I had a vision in my head of someday owning a room filled with shelves of books. A personal library that would speak to my interest in varied topics.
However, this interest didn’t always translate into knowledge. There were months when I bought more books than I read. I had scores of books I’d never opened. I didn’t really own those books. I owned the paper and glue and stitching they were made of, but I hadn’t appreciated the authors’ insights into human emotion through the trials of their fictional characters; I learned no new facts that could intertwine with my knowledge and experiences and expand my intellect.
The books sat on the shelves until I moved and couldn’t taken the behemoth bookshelves my brother had built to my new apartment. So, I stacked books on the floor when I ran out of space on my new Ikea bookshelves.
One year, I saw that my town library was having a book sale and was seeking donations. I filled boxes that filled my car’s trunk. I did the same the next year. After that, I got in the regular habit of culling my books once or twice a year.
When I upgraded to a smartphone, my favorite apps were Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle. I could buy eBooks that I’d always have with me! Squeeeee! And, they were a couple of dollars cheaper than paperbacks.
But, I didn’t have a tablet, I used a smartphone, so the digital reading experience wasn’t particularly appealing. And, then, I realized that if I wanted to pass along the book to a friend whom I thought would enjoy it, I couldn’t.
Also, I realized I disliked cluttering my digital library with books I wouldn’t have held onto if I had them in physical form. And, although I could hit ‘delete,’ somehow that felt like more of a waste than passing along an unwanted book.
And, so, I’ve decided that when I do buy a book (because books are my weakness and, yes, I’m working on that), I’ll buy it as a paperback or hardcover over an eBook because I can give them to someone else to read. However, I am giving myself rules:
Do you have a weakness for books? Have you curated – or started to curate – your collection? Have you given yourself rules about buying or keeping books? Add your story about books to the comments below.
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Susan, chief (and only) organized squirrel at A Less Cluttered Life, loves learning and sharing information about organizing, productivity, and habits. She also likes reading young adult novels, crocheting, and spending time with her cat and husband in their riverside home in Massachusetts.