Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

“What Can I Do With All These Books?!”

Too many books in your library?

No real library—just books all over the place?

Not sure what to eliminate?

It can seem like books multiple on their own…

Places to keep them can seem hard to find…

How to organize them can seem impossible…

Enter Alison Hodgson—writer, reviewer, speaker, and humorist—and her article on houzz, ‘Not My Precious Books!’ — Pain-Free Ways to Declutter Your Library.

Here are a few excerpts:

“Reading is my drug of choice, and I know I’m in good company.”

“Before our house fire, our family library included thousands of books…Now I can see I held onto books I didn’t love for one or more of the following reasons:



“It was a gift….

“Pretty cover….

“Having it on my shelf made me look smart.”

“As I decluttered my entire house, I became quite ruthless in what I got rid of to achieve my goal of…But I completely missed the fact that I needed to extend that ruthlessness to the books themselves.”

“I’m a book reviewer, the friend of many authors and a committed book buyer, so there is a constant stream of books into the house, but this is what I ask myself to get some of them back out:

  • Do I love it?
  • Will I read it again?

“That’s it. Those two questions alone have enabled me to keep from holding onto more books than I care to maintain and leave room for those I still wish to replace. I’m having fun rebuilding my library slowly as I remember the books I miss and want to read it again.”

Do go read Alison’s full article—there are some gorgeous pictures of libraries—plus, check out her article, 4 Obstacles to Decluttering — and How to Beat Them.
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6 responses to ““What Can I Do With All These Books?!”

  1. juliecround August 28, 2014 at 5:03 am

    Oh, to be able to de-clutter! I don’t hoard books, except those I read as a child that I believe all children should read, but I do hold on to magazines. Throwing away information is so difficult! If only I could teach myself that the computer is a giant encyclopedia I wouldn’t need to keep them- or would I? There were some perceptive articles among the pages, but, of course, I’ll never be able to find them again!


  2. Jane Watson August 28, 2014 at 8:53 am

    I loved Alison’s suggestions for de-cluttering my library but she did not cover the main reason why I hang on to books and sometimes feel fearful to let go of them: What if the one I give away has some vital idea or image or inspiring thought in it that will propel my next piece of writing? I love the personal libraries she shows in her pics of houses :-)


  3. cmmarcum August 28, 2014 at 11:11 am

    To my delight I found that many of those golden oldies on my shelves were free downloads on my kindle–which made it easier to donate those yellow and dusty relics and live ‘small.’ But it still boggles my mind that I can hold my library in one hand, and I confess to an unsettling sensation of ‘gambling’ by ‘putting all my eggs (books) in one basket.’ Yet, as time goes by, I keep upping the ante.


  4. Alexander M Zoltai August 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    It can be very hard to declutter, Julie, as I certainly know in my own life; though, there is a link at the end of the post that might help…


  5. Alexander M Zoltai August 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I do believe, Jane, you’ve got a compelling point—“What if the one I give away has some vital idea or image or inspiring thought in it that will propel my next piece of writing?“—though it could turn every inch of a home into library space, eh? :-)


  6. Alexander M Zoltai August 28, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Ah, CM, a Solution and a Dilemma all in one………


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