downsizing book collections: in a nut shell

If you don’t have the time or inclination to read every post about downsizing your book collection, here is the information in a nutshell. 

1) Determine the reasons for your book collection: ego…décor…work-related…laziness…reference…sentiment…impressing other people…making a statement…keeping a literary scoreboard…entertainment….information? If your collection has become unmanageable, it might be time to realign priorities.

2) Avoid buying on impulse, and read before shelving. The same applies to gifts of books, read before shelving.

3) Break-up by-author collections and only keep the work you really love.

4) Examine your reading “habits” and stop doing what doesn’t work. Don’t feel compelled to finish a book you’re not enjoying. It’s a waste of time and life is short.

5) Establish criteria for keeping or discarding books. Determine what makes a volume valuable enough to haul, warehouse, and keep dusted? 

6) Continue to refine and define the initial criteria

7) Decide if a book is being read or used (reference) regularly…annually…every five years…every ten years?

8) Decide what to do with discarded books: sell, share, trade, or donate.

9) Consider an e-reader to replace some or all of your books.  

10) Consider when sorting non-fiction: is the information still interesting, is it duplicated in another volume, is it out dated, is it reliable or sensational, is it readily available on the internet, do you think you should be interested or are you truly interested?

11) Decide if you’re keeping a book as a way of honoring the person who gave it to you even though you don’t especially like the book? Is there a better way to honor the person?

In summary:  Keep the best of a subject, keep what’s most comprehensive, keep what you’re truly interested in, keep what you really love, and discard the rest.


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