Comment: Why decluttering your book collection is easier said than done
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I’ve written before about my inability to get rid of random things I no longer need but can’t quite bring myself to part with. My tower of music papers from the ’90s, for example, or the suitcase full of dodgy second-hand clothes from that same decade. Then there’s the books. So many books.
When we moved in to our current house, my dad, an ex-joiner, built us some amazing floor-to-ceiling shelves. The down side of having storage space is that it allows you to keep hold of way more stuff than you really need – and, as Tracy Ross pointed out in last week’s article on decluttering your book collection, sometimes you just need to get rid.
My collection is a time capsule that takes me back to my teens and twenties. I know I’ll never read most of them again, but how do I get over the sentimental attachment and clear some shelf space?
Tracy says that purging out of date travel books should be an easy place to start, but weirdly I find the opposite to be true.
I haven’t been to New Zealand in almost a decade and can’t see myself going again anytime soon – and if I did, I probably wouldn’t rely on a 10-year-old guidebook. Yet the book is a souvenir I’m reluctant to part with. And seeing its spine reminds me that I used to get about a bit, once. As Tracy said, your book collection reflects your personality and experience - every spine tells a story and all that, in more ways than one.
My fiction faves are in a semi-organised state: broadly, the ones I loved and will never part with (while probably never reading them again) and the ones I haven’t read yet but think I will one day. As far as the latter group is concerned, I can see Tracy’s point. I’m planning on following her advice and giving them six months; then, if they’re still not read, I’ll get rid. Honest.