All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

On Organisation…..

on February 7, 2020

So today is my birthday. It’s not a milestone birthday, although it’s quite close to one (in 2 years I can describe myself as turning “the new 30”) and I’ve really noticed that my attitude toward ‘things’ has changed quite a bit over the past….well almost 2 years I think. We had to move house and both my husband and I well, we’ve had trouble letting go of things. That move was when I got rid of my baby stuff and my youngest kid was 6!

When I was in my 20s, I enjoyed hoarding books. I wanted to build this huge collection and look, part of me still does. It would be my dream to have a house big enough to truly have the book collection of my dreams – a dedicated space to it with huge shelves where nothing was double stacked and everything was a dust-free dream reading space, where I’d always know where the book I wanted was and no matter how many more books I acquired, there was always room for them.

But this is reality and the simple fact is, my house isn’t big enough for that – and it won’t ever be. In fact as my kids get older and do their own thing, my houses will eventually decrease in size and so that means….not keeping things. I’ve really begun to notice again, after culling books to move, how cluttered my shelves were looking. I’m not a neat freak but I have a point that I get to where things bother me and right now, the bookshelves are bothering me.

We have six bookshelves in this house, each one for a different thing….I decided to start with the biggest one and I made myself look at it objectively and think about books that I wouldn’t miss if they were gone.

This bookcase is amazing – it holds so many books! I wish I’d bought a couple more of them – there are 3 other bookcases beside this one, 2 IKEA ones and another smaller one. This one was primarily a bookcase I turned into just being for books by Australian women writers – I had so many of them! As you can see it was pretty crammed full, in fact I had not realised that one of the shelves was being held up entirely by books crammed onto the books on the shelf below it. I had to pull everything off the shelf and reaffix the studs. I made myself really think hard about whether not I was going to ever want to read a particular book again – if I didn’t think I would, it went into the cull pile.

I have access to such a large amount of books these days – print copies from publishers, eBook copies from publishers, my local library, sales on amazon and iBooks, as well as print copies I buy myself. There is very little time to re-read anymore and I’m hanging onto a lot of books for the sake of it…..when really, I could find them new homes.

This is the after. It honestly doesn’t look like much room has been created – and I still have to organise it and reshelve everything alphabetically, because I just cleared things out and pushed books back. But in case it looks like I didn’t get a lot off this shelf….here’s the pile of books to cull:

So this is from just that one shelf – next for me is to go through the piles of books I’d begun stacking up on the floor in-between this bookcase and the one next to it and then I’ll move onto the others, 2 of which are full of books I’ve already read and 1 of which is books I describe as “long term TBR” aka books I think I want to read but who knows when I will.

Just because I’m moving these books on, doesn’t mean I didn’t like them all. In fact, I enjoyed a lot of them! It’s just they’re books I cannot see myself needing re-read or needing on my shelf for years to come. And I feel as though they could find homes elsewhere although I have to research best places I can donate most of these. And in the future I plan to donate books more regularly, rather than leave it years and end up with stacks upon stacks.

I’ve gotten to a place in my life where I am just….over clutter and mess. I honestly wish that I could move my collection solely to eBooks, because then I could have many thousands and it wouldn’t matter. And I do have a huge amount of eBooks but ultimately, I cannot let print books go, I just love the experience of reading an actual paper copy book too much! And it’s not just books – I’ve been culling clothes, letting go of things that I’ve been holding onto for years in case they fit again or because I “might” wear it again someday. I’ve been culling my kids’ stuff as well – chucking toys they don’t play with and are too old for, books that they’ve outgrown, shoes, clothes, etc. I’m about to tackle my craft stuff as well….I often describe myself as going through fads where I throw myself wholeheartedly into something that requires I buy a lot of shit and then a few months later I am bored with it. It just means stuff piles up around my house and I keep moving it around, trying to find spots for it in a house that has very little in the way of practical storage. I won’t say that I’m a minimalist, or even moving towards that, but I’m definitely getting to a stage where I appreciate less clutter, and a more tidy, organised house. And books are going to be a part of that too – I could never get rid of them completely, but I am going to be a little pickier about what gets a permanent home on my shelf.

 


10 responses to “On Organisation…..

  1. Mic says:

    What a massive amazing job. I’m beginning to think I need to collect more ebooks… but I need a dedicated reader, not my 10 year old Samsung tablet.
    I need to do the same thing across my house but just can’t find the energy to start.

    • Yeah I need to keep going now that I’ve started and not let myself fall into laziness. I really want to free up some more room, look at the books critically and make some honest decisions about what I’m really likely to actually read and what I’m just hanging onto for no reason.

      I think moving forward I’m definitely going to buy more eBooks. I use my iPad which works a lot of the time but I don’t always want to read on a backlit screen. I might have to look into eventually replacing my original kindle, which is 10 years old this year!

  2. Firstly, happy birthday. I can so relate to your dilemma. I miss not having bookshelves. Could not quite fit on in the caravan!!!! They are so pretty when they are all together, which you don;t get on a ereader, sadly. But I, too, Kindle it these days. Good luck.

    • Thank you Jenn! See sometimes I think I need a situation that would make me really cull my stuff….not quite to fits-in-a-caravan level, but more along the lines of manageable amount of things level! I do like a beautifully arranged shelf but it doesn’t take long for it to look really messy unfortunately.

  3. Happy Birthday 🎂🥳
    Even though I know I should, culling is beyond me. Just as well I am fairly immune to clutter 😉

    • Thank you! I wish I could be – I used to be! It might be different if I knew it was never likely I’d have to move. But I can never be certain so it’s always at the back of my mind that I’m going to have to keep finding places that fit my book collection and that will get harder and harder in the future.

  4. Marg says:

    Great job! I culled a couple of hundred books about a year ago. I do keep on looking at my shelves and thinking that I could get rid of more!

    • I think I’m always going to be looking at them….I want to be more proactive and toss things as soon as I know I’m done with them. Rather than just letting them pile up on shelves for a few more years.

  5. Happy birthday! :))))))) <33333
    I frequently do this with my books. I simply don’t have the space to store all of them so I donate them to charity shops. It’s very cathartic to clear the space I find 🙂

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