Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What to Do with the Books?

Here it is the third week of the New Year, and I finally feel like I am getting it. I've gotten back into the routine, and I've been getting some stuff done. Monday I tackled the bookshelves in the library. I was planning on thinning out the shelves to make room for all the books that are piled in my room. As I started pulling books off, I noticed the layer of dust at the front of the shelves and behind the books, so I decided to take them all off and dust the shelves so that my books would return to a nice clean home.

I am trying to be more selective about the books I keep (especially since I receive between three and eight review copies each month). I loan books out, give them away, and this week, I decided to pack some up. I go back and forth about the practicality of having books in boxes. In my gut I feel like I should just let go completely. However, there are some books that I might like to have access to, and I do have some attic storage. There have been times that I've wanted to access a book that was boxed up and couldn't find it.

So I came up with a solution. Each time I decided that a book was box-worthy, I wrote the title down on the outside of the box. I organized it into columns by category so that they would be easy to find: parenting, travel, Christian, fiction. I tried to be ruthless about what to keep, but ruthless has a loose definition. My parameter was a book that was not readily available, meaning I probably couldn't get it at the library, excluding books that I love from the ruthless process simply because I love them.

In addition to the box full of books that will go into storage, I have a shopping bag full of books that I will give away, and look--empty shelves!! There are books in piles in my bedroom that will soon fill those spots, but I'm excited to use at least a couple of shelves to store books that I want to read soon, not just as a showcase. It seems practical and efficient.

This is linked up to Rocks in My Dryer's Works-for-Me Wednesday. Click on over to see other tips from around the blogosphere.

Speaking of bloggy happenings, I've decided to become a Company Girl.

Rachel Anne has always been such a sweet encourager in the art of creating a Home Sanctuary. This month she kicked off a plan to help us create a better home by doing the small things. Click the button for all the info. It's not too late to join in. Due to her challenges this week, on Monday I vacuumed the hall and my bedroom in addition to the downstairs rug to help get things back in order after the weekend. Then today I tackled a bed--you know that crawlspace that hides clutter? Since Amanda's bed got moved to Kyle's room, and she's sleeping in her loft, I decided to see what had accumulated under his bed in the couple of months it's been in there. I threw away a couple of handfuls of trash and cleared out some books and shoes that were hiding.

I'm looking forward to see what new habits I'll make one small thing at a time.


Beck said...

I'm loving Rachel Anne's home plan! It's been a blessing for me.
Great tips about books. WE're pretty ruthless about keeping books over here and we still have SO many. It's like a disease!

Mamabug said...

Have you ever looked into It is a great trading spot.

Stephanie said...

Good for you for being ruthless! It's so hard to get rid of books. I've been trying to convince my husband to let a few go before they completely take over the house. = )

Org Junkie said...

Awesome solution Jennifer! That's what it's all about!! I love your bookcase, that is so cool.

I'm a Company Girl too :)

Kelly said...

I really need to take this approach. I have a very hard time packing books away. Great solution, though.

Katrina said...

I am very impressed by your empty shelves! I haven't seen an empty bookshelf in this house since we moved in... Good idea about the boxes and writing the titles on them.

I love the Company Girl idea... I haven't officially joined, since I'm on the internet so sporadically these days, but I try to check her site once or twice a week and do at least something (even though I'm not keeping score...). Maybe when my laptop comes, I'll jump in with both feet.

Jenn said...

That is such a great idea. We have so many books on our shelves that we want to keep but don't necessarily need out in view. Until now I've never been able to figure out what to do with them. Bingo, problem solved!

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

That's a great idea for your books. I recently committed to not buy any books this year, & to get rid of the ones I can part with after I've read them (donating to church library). I like your storage solution, though. My problem is...I'd forget I had them boxed up. In fact, I think I have some books still in boxes from a move 6 years ago!

I'm a Company Girl, too. It's a great way to get things done!

Angie said...

What a great idea! I wish I would have done that before I culled out a bunch of books. I miss some of the ones I got rid of. I'll check out the links.

It's been too long since I last visited you! I love your blog.

Rachel said...

what a great idea! We get a lot of moisture here on the MA coast, so i think I'll get the plastic tubs instead of cardboard. I'm getting about that many review copies a month, too. I love it, but you're right - it is hard to know what to do with them. My answer is "More Shelves"! ;)

I'm posting my book site as my URL - I'm running a giveaway for a new Christian parenting book if you're interested and haven't already received it.

Helen said...

A happy new year to you! Actually this is my first visit to your blog this year - I just don't seem to get along reading ALL the blogs I really like, but I come back to yours all the time :-)

I loved seeing another booklover that does not say "ohhhh, so how can you dare to give books away".

I have given away a lot of books during the last year and it felt great to finally having more space and just 'meanful' books.

Now it seems strange to me, that I was never able to give Christian books away till a few months ago. Also I clearly new, that I didn't think all of them were a help or good, I had some feeling, I wasn't allowed to give them away.

I have been much more selective now in which book I allow to have "room" in my life!

Carrie said...

(Catching up a bit around here.) I "LOL-ed" at your book cleaning. I tried doing that recently and didn't get very far. WOW you outdid me in organization (labeling the box) but I'm impressed! That takes a lot of effort, motivation and sacrifice! (Heavy on the sacrifice.)