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How to downsize your book collection

Over the course of the last three years I’ve been involved in running an annual Bookfair for my local Rotary Club. Starting with around 25,000 books in the first year we started; book numbers this year peaked at 80,000 plus!

If you love a good book, the chances are that you’ve gained quite a collection through the years. Realistically though, very few individuals will have 80,000 books at home, but many of us might have 1,000 to 2,000 books on their shelves around the house.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a ‘reader’ you probably have more books than you might realise. There is no denying that books take up a lot of space. Many people hold onto books for sentimental value, but remember, you don’t need to keep the physical book to keep the memory.

When it’s time to downsize your book collection, try following these simple steps:

Stop thinking “what if I need this in the future?” Removing outdated or unused reference books is an easy place to start. We’re talking encyclopedias and dictionaries… the ones that probably take up the most space and weigh the most!

With the internet, there’s really no need for these types of books anymore.

Give yourself permission to keep your very favourite books. These are the books you truly adore and would happily re-read again and again.

Do you have books you’ve never read? Keep the ones you know you will eventually read and remove the books that you know you will never read.

For the books you’ve read but think maybe you’ll read again; think about how much time you can actually devote to reading books and how much physical space you have to devote to storing the books. You may have to make some tough choices here.

You only need, at the most, one copy of each book, so if you’ve got multiples these are ‘no-brainers’ to downsize and declutter.

Ask yourself, is the material in this book out of date, or still current and relevant? No one needs to keep an atlas that is 30 years old and no longer accurately reflects the names of countries or other places, for example.

If you’ve got books in your home that you have never read, ask yourself ‘why are you keeping them?’ It’s all right to have a small number of books in your ‘planning to read for the first-time category’, as long as you actually are planning to read them.

Don’t keep books in order to convey a certain status. If you love the classics, and reread them all the time, by all means definitely keep them. But don’t keep the classics which you hated reading in high school and haven’t even considered reading since then, just because it looks good on your bookshelf.

Be careful if you’re keeping books for sentimental reasons. There are books that are life changing, that you read over and over, and you feel like the characters are family members. Keep those books but only if you’ve got enough room for them! Finally, do something good with all the books you’ve removed from your collection. Donate them to a local library or shelter or give them away to friends and family. Books are expensive, so save someone else some money!

An important consideration not to be overlooked:

Remember that many people prefer books to wallpaper. If your home library space looks like this then I suggest you ignore this entire Blog!

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Westmont Aged Care Services Ltd is dedicated to providing aged, community care and lifestyle options to the people of our region with respect, dignity and choice.

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