I love books. I have books in almost all rooms in my house. My favorite store is Barnes and Noble, and I know all the major online bookstores as well. I can also pinpoint the location of every used bookstore and library branch within five miles of my home.
Sad, isn’t it?
The one thing my book addiction leads to is major clutter. I have a tendency to buy books…and then never get around to reading them because I have been captivated by a different title or subject.
Recently, I cleaned the shelves. I gave myself permission (in three separate purges) to get rid of books that I hadn’t gotten to in the past six months. The purge allowed me to get to a point where the clutter is maintainable. Here are my ongoing strategies for keeping book clutter down:
1. Pass It On
If I buy a book on impulse, I will pass it on to someone I know when I am done. A co-worker shares an interest in fantasy books, and after he forgave me for getting him hooked on the long George R. R. Martin novels, he took other recommendations as well. I only do this with books I think worth reading, though, since I don’t want to waste my friends’ time with books I couldn’t stomach. The poor books will either be donated to the library sale or to another charity.
2. Use the Library
Before I buy a book online, I always check to see if it is available from my local library. My city has a reciprocity agreement with the city I work in as well, so I can check books out of either library. The online card catalogs allow me to place holds and will save me the expense of purchase.
3. Buy One, Remove One
This strategy particularly goes for my non-fiction books, which I tend to keep as reference. If I buy a new book, an older one has to go. I rarely have trouble finding a slightly out-of-date technical book to get out of the way.
4. Use Electronic Media
I started using electronic media years ago, with the advent of the Rocket eBook. These devices, with long battery life, and the ability to load in HTML and text, were my mainstay of reading for several years.
After finding Mobipocket and then Pluckr for the PDA, the Rocket was retired to home use only (it is fairly big and not as easy to transport as the PDA, which is with me all the time).
The Amazon Kindle promises to take up where the Rocket left off.
All of these devices can take in content from book publishers, as well as from free sites like Project Gutenberg These free sites are particularly good if you are interested in reading the classics.
I use this format if I will be traveling and want to take many books with me.
5. Use Audio Books
Audio books allow me to “read” while doing other things: exercising, weeding, housework. They provide another way for me to read without any clutter.
All of these methods have allowed me to keep my book clutter down to a minimum. I have gotten my to-be-read items down to one shelf, and I really work on limiting the clutter.
Photo by babblingdweeb