Thursday, October 15, 2009

Booking through weeding

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When’s the last time you weeded out your library? Do you regularly keep it pared down to your reading essentials? Or does it blossom into something out of control the minute you turn your back, like a garden after a Spring rain?

Or do you simply not get rid of books? At all? (This would have described me for most of my life, by the way.)

And–when you DO weed out books from your collection (assuming that you do) …what do you do with them? Throw them away (gasp)? Donate them to a charity or used bookstore? SELL them to a used bookstore? Trade them on Paperback Book Swap or some other exchange program?


For personal reasons we had to move house in April 2008. Before that I owned 4000+ books. That is a lot of books and I had to pared it down drastically. There were some I was never going to read, and some I had forgotten I owned and so on. Some were in such a bad shape that restoration was impossible.

I sorted throught it and made different piles:

1) to give out to Old Age Homes

2) to give out to orphanages

3) to give out to the local library (mostly bestsellers)

4) to give out to friends and family

5) to try to restore

6) to get out those which can't be restored

In two months, my book pile was reduced to 2500+ books. It still is somewhere around that number. I have kept it that way by continually giving out books. I have never sold anything. Swapped yes. Or I simply give away books to whomsover asks for it. And I do occasionally take out books to Old Age Homes and Orphanages. I need to reduce it too 1500 books and I will do that.

Yes, I do keep those books that I mean to re-read or those I can't part with. Like poetry books. Classics. Physics books.

28 comments:

BooksPlease said...

I have around 1,000 books - some are unread, so they have to stay. I'd like to think I'd re-read a lot of the fiction, but realistically I don't suppose I will. Still I can't bear to part with them yet at least.

novelinsights said...

I like the idea of taking them directly to old people's homes although I tend to only give away ones I really don't want to read so maybe no one else would want to either!

Novroz said...

It's a bit hard for me to donate books to a orphanage or other places coz I enjoy reading a untranslated books (English books) and not many people in my country reading books which are not in Indonesian language

lilly said...

Boy oh boy, and I thought I owned way too many books, lol! Your library definitely beats mine. i don't sell my books either, only give them away if anything.

busy91 said...

Good job! One day I'll find a good home for my books....but not today!!!

Mervi said...

Yep, keeping a personal library in a manageable size is hard work. :)

Vasilly said...

Wow! That had to be hard work to par down your book count so drastically. You did great.

Zia said...

Wow the next time my husband says look at all those books you have, I'm showing him this post lol.

Jeane said...

I keep all the really good ones that I know I want to re-read. I had to cull my library when we moved across the country, but then missed all the books and tried to acquire them again! I used to trade them into used bookstores for credit, but now I trade them on paperback swap.

Sarah said...

Gautami, that is admirable resolution and enviable application! I've been joking about my hoarding habits, but actually the fact that you dispose of your excess books so thoughtfully makes me feel a little ashamed...

JoAnn said...

Now THAT is serious weeding! I try to tackle it at least once a year.

Francesca Ivy said...

thanks for visiting!

I kinda love the idea of 'categorizing' your books while you purge them. :)

Barbara H. said...

I've kept most of the classics I have as well. I like the way you distribute them.

I am amazed at how many people know the approximate number of books they have. I have no idea. Maybe I'll try to do that next time I "weed."

Diane said...

That is still a lot of books! Good for you for being able to donate all those to worthy organization...bravo

carolsnotebook said...

Wow, I would never have enough room. I give some away, garage sale some and some are just languishing in boxes. I try not to hoard books in general. I just don't have the room and I'm sure my daughter's tastes will be different than mine.

Marie Burton said...

What a great citizen you are for donating your books for those that need it. Pat on the back for you!

That was definitely a lot of books that you had to sort through, I am not sure if I would like to have that task.

Sassy Brit said...

I never thought of giving them away to so many different places, as you have. If I ever do find the guts, I shall try to be more creative with my options. I have asked on my blog for help regarding book swaps, as I dont know how they work or where to go to get that sorted.

Lately I've only given away cook books - but maybe, in hindsight that might have been a mistake! LOL

Here are my answers for Booking Through Thursday

Sassy
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jlshall said...

I would love to be able to reduce my library by about half, but I just can't bring myself to do it! I'm sure I have books I've forgotten about, too. I guess that's when you know you've got way too many.

Matt said...

Love the idea of giving to orphanages.

I get rid of the ones that I absolutely don’t like, the ones that I rate as “Toss” in reviews. I tend to keep books that are of literary artistry.

Jessica said...

You started out with more books than I've read in my entire life! And to think you'll most likely keep adding more... It must have taken a great deal of courage to cull your collection that way.

pussreboots said...

We have 2808 books in our collection right now. If we had to severely pare it down for a move, we could get it down to 1275. Those 1275 books are ones my husband needs for his research, that are my children's books and that are antique books that wouldn't be easy to replace.

bermudaonion said...

That's a great idea to give books to nursing homes. I need to get better at weeding out my books.

Ted said...

A nice way to keep your collection lean(er)

reviewsbylola said...

I try to keep classics as well.

That's very nice that you donate books to old age homes and orphanages.

cricket51 said...

I cleaned out my books over 10 years ago, it was very difficult to part with many of them, and I am afraid that my work was in vain as I only replaced them

lizzy J said...

I know I can not part with my educational books either. You never know when you might need them.

That is a lot of books, sounds like it took a long time to collect that many. Someday I will be in league with you.

Bryan R. Terry said...

4,000?! That is nuts!

And, you have it exactly right: "There were some I was never going to read, and some I had forgotten I owned and so on." That described my most recent weeding on the nose.

My BTT is HERE

stacybuckeye said...

Oh my! That is A LOT of books. This coming from someone who has a book problem herself! I can't imagaine trying to move that many books.