Comment: Why decluttering your book collection is easier said than done

PUBLISHED: 11:35 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:20 20 November 2017

If you have ample storage, is now ever the right time to cull your book collection

If you have ample storage, is now ever the right time to cull your book collection


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Tracy says that purging out of date travel books should be an easy place to start, but weirdly I find the opposite to be true.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.

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