Over the years, getting rid of books generates the most passionate discussions. I wonder if people fear they might lose the knowledge gained from a book if they give it away?
There is a strong sentimental attachment to books, especially the ones we get lost in. I have no idea what happened during the days I read Water for Elephants. I felt this way about The Great Alone, Small Great Things, The Nightingale, Half-Broke Horses, Educated, Refugee, The Harry Potter Series and so many more!
There was a time when I read less and bought more. But I renewed my interest in reading when I purged nearly all of them.
I felt a weight lifted.
And was free to read new titles. I even joined a book club and set an annual reading challenge in Goodreads.
At any given time, I am reading 4 books. One with my son, one non-fiction, one devotional and one for book club. The best part…I take them everywhere on my Kindle and Kindle App. I love my e-reader and borrow electronically from the library. The library still lends regular books too.
Why Getting Rid of Books Will Make You Read More
I know! You’re struggling to let go. You are not alone. But if you’d like to read more, try this.
1. Count Your Collection
Yes, all of them! Office, home, attic, garage, etc. Set a goal to reduce by 50%. Books took a few passes for me. But when I acknowledged the burden I felt to read books that were no longer interesting, it was easy to let go.
2. Curate Your Collection
Set a boundary. I can tell you why I kept every physical book I own. They “made the cut” because I reference them frequently or know I will read them. I like to donate books to the local library. Their annual book sale supports the services I use. If I’m on the fence about a book, I add it to Goodreads, donate the book, and allow someone else to read it while I’m deciding.
3. Stop Shopping
Commit to not buying a new book for six months. Give yourself a deadline to read existing books and then donate. Remember, the goal is to read more. If your current collection is unappealing, start over. But this time, leverage the local library or a Kindle. I used to buy a book every time I went to Target. Now, I browse their selections and add any interesting titles to Goodreads while I’m standing in the store.
4. Start a Wishlist
Start a wishlist on Amazon to track books you like. Resist the impulse to buy each time you hear an interesting title. Better yet, use Goodreads and start a reading challenge of only library books.
5. Remove a Bookshelf
The easiest and most effective way to declutter is to remove furniture. If you counted your books, consider how much storage space makes sense for your home. The new open space will give your eyes a place to rest. Removing furniture from a crowded room creates a peaceful and relaxed environment. Perfect for reading!
Did I mention that Kindle requires almost no storage and transports easily?
About the Author: Amy Slenker-Smith is a living simply coach and writer at Simply Enough. She lives near Washington DC with her husband Steve, son Zack and Zeke the cat.