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How many books do you own? If you are like me you’ve probably lost count. My problem is that I have trouble parting with any of them. My bookshelves are so full that now when I consider buying another book, I have to stop and think about whether I’m willing to sacrifice a current one to make space for the new one.
If you’ve decided that enough is enough and your book collection is getting out of control or it’s time to downsize, here is how to do it. It looks a little daunting but trust me –it’s worth the effort.
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Allow a couple of hours (or a day – depending on how many books you need to sort!) Clear a space where you can set up four piles, one for each of the following categories:
- Enjoyable Escapism - to absorb and transport you (Fiction, poetry)
- Educational or informative (Non-Fiction, How-to and self-help)
- Beautiful and uplifting (Art, photography, coffee table books)
- Sentimental or valuable (First editions, special gifts, photo albums, etc.)
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Take a couple of books from your shelf at a time and put them into the appropriate pile. For example, your thesaurus will go into pile two, your John Grishams will go into pile one. You get the picture.
Now – when you have your four lovely piles of books, make yourself a cup of tea and move onto the next step.
Take two boxes and mark them ‘keep’ and ‘get rid of’.
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Starting with pile one – fiction, look at each book and answer the following questions:
Have I read it? If not – Will I read it or would someone else appreciate it more?
Did I like it enough to read it again?
This should help you to decide whether it goes into the ‘keep’ box or the ‘get rid of’.
Do this with each of the three remaining categories.
For pile two, non-fiction, ask yourself:
Have I read it?
Do I refer to it regularly?
Is the information still current?
Could I find the same information (or better) on the internet?
For pile three ask:
Have I read it?
Do I read it regularly?
Do I still get the same joy from it?
Pile four will be the most difficult. The questions to ask yourself here are:
Do I love it enough to make space for it?
Would a friend / family member appreciate it more?
Should it be on display or stored away in a safe place?
By the end of this exercise you should have cleared your four piles and they should be sorted into the two boxes – but the job’s not over yet. (Make another cup of tea if you need to.)
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Take Box number two – The 'get rid of' box and separate the contents into three piles:
Move them on as soon as possible. There – that wasn't so hard, was it?