Books Be Gone

Over the last few weeks, Bart and I have spent a great deal of time cleaning out sections of our apartment in order to make room for some baby stuff and to increase the amount of storage space accessible to us.

Of course, Bart and I are pretty minimalist to begin with – we don’t like to have a lot of stuff and we’re both quick to throw things away or send them off to Goodwill. We got rid of a bunch of stuff when we moved from Texas and even more when we arrived in Boston, and now we’re finding even more things to part with. It’s a good feeling.

This week’s project is the giant bookcase in our entry way (displayed in all its glory here).

We realized that if we cleared off the last two levels, we could put in about ten baskets in which to store baby items, toys, games, and other various things that need a home.

Which meant a serious weed through our books.

Look, I know this is an abomination to some people – the idea of getting rid of books for any reason is just horrifying. And certainly there are some books that I will not part with for any amount of space. The hard back set of Little House books my mom bought for a quarter each at the local library when I was six. The Louisa May Alcott series that Bart’s dad kindly found the missing piece of and sent to me. My copy of These is My Words, which I feel certain I’ll reread many times over the coming decades.

But there are so so many books that we simply will never read again. Books that we’ve never read or wish we hadn’t read or don’t have any use for. Books that we can obtain from any public library should we ever DESPERATELY need them again.

And books that we then don’t have back up and unpack every time we move (which will probably be many more times over our lifetime). Books we don’t have to dust or store or shove aside for new, more beloved books.

All books are not created equal. Just by virtue of being a book doesn’t mean a particular volume is worth keeping.

Which is why later this week, Bart and I will be hauling some 150+ books to our local library’s book sale. And then come home to our gloriously unstuffed bookshelves.

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  • Reply Landen May 18, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Which Louisa May Alcott book did Bart's dad send you? Was it Rose in Bloom? Or was there another one missing?

  • Reply RA May 18, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Good on you! I don't disagree with getting rid of books, but I shudder at the thought of THROWING THEM AWAY. Perish the thought!

  • Reply Life of a Doctor's Wife May 18, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    A book lover myself, I always have a hard time getting rid of books. But I wish I could be better about it. There are some books I just hated… some that I couldn't even get through. Why do they deserve a spot on our filled-to-the-brim bookcases?

    We gave away 70 books when we moved last year, and it felt really good! Difficult to weed them out… but good to release them into the wild, where someone else could really love them.

  • Reply Danielle May 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm!!!!!

    I am obsessed with it. Although it doesn't help you clean out a bookcase because you get a new book for every book you swap.

  • Reply Lisa May 18, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    I have been getting rid of tons of books lately, trying to condense them so there aren't piles everywhere. Unfortunately, my husband is much more clingy about his. I admit, I have tons of unread stuff in storage, but of what's in the main living areas it's quickly turning into his his and more his. If my local library has it, it's out of here.

  • Reply Tina's Blog May 18, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I have a very hard time parting with my books, but I will admit that I have been working on getting rid of books I truly won't read again and reducing some of the clutter in my life. If only I had read more of what I own it would make getting rid of things a much faster process. Thanks for the motivating post!

  • Reply TheMoncurs May 18, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    "All books are not created equal."


    Also, check this out:

    I totally want the Darcy one.

  • Reply Packrat May 18, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you. You just helped put things into perspective with your "Not all books are created equal" and "wish we hadn't read".

  • Reply Science Teacher Mommy May 18, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I did a double take at this blogpost title. But nope, it's the truth.

  • Reply emandtrev May 18, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I hear you. I used to be much more of a pack rat, but now hate to have clutter. I still find that I battle the clutter (with two young kiddos, it's just that easy to have it pile up!), but I'm much better than I used to be about organizing and donating and generally not holding onto things longer than I should.

  • Reply artemisia May 18, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    I shipped my books to DC with me, and then back to Wyoming. I finally, about a year ago, said enough is enough and started weeding through. I think I've donated at least 100 books, if not more.

    It was SO HARD. And I felt GUILTY.

    But after that first donation box when out the door? I became hooked. Now I find a book or two every week to donate.


  • Reply Abby May 19, 2010 at 12:03 am

    Good for you guys! I weed my bookshelves fairly regularly and donate books to my library's book sale as well.

  • Reply Mad Hadder May 19, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I tithe my library once a year. It's a start, albeit a puny one. My library (the room over our double garage) is my sanctuary. I revitalize there. I figure I'd rather have books than food, shoes, expensive haircuts, or jewelry. We all have our vices. I've moved in the dozens of times, so I hear you on that. But I guess I'd rather be known as a book hoarder than say a…cleaner. Sometimes I wish I'd come as just a reader. The fact that I also came as a collector complicates my life a little more.

  • Reply Hillary May 19, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I am jealous of that bookcase, but did a similar, if somewhat smaller, purge before my last baby. It was freeing and I've rediscovered the library.

  • Reply Chelsea May 19, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I agree! I have a bunch of books that I never look at. I don't agree with keeping things around just to decorate your shelves. Good luck with the de-junking!

  • Reply Jess May 19, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    We try to be minimalist too. The thing is that our house has so much storage space and right now we don't need much, so there's no impetus to toss stuff. But we try to stay on top of it anyway. So far it's working OK!

  • Reply Katie Rich May 19, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    I am one of those who has adopted the "never throw out a book" mentality – but now that you bring up the availability of some of those books again at the public library, and I might add google books and downloadable books, I am going to rethink this policy.

  • Reply Gretchen May 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    You could try putting some of them on I love it because it lets me read books and keep them if I like them or swap them for other books I've been wanting to read. They even have a waiting list for books so it'll let you know when a book you want becomes available.

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