1 room, 3 bookshelves, 234 books Well, it’s an improvement.

I’ve reduced the number of books in my room from 553 to 234. Still a lot, I know. But this number will be reduced further as I am planning on re-gifting some books at Christmas and selling some books on Amazon (or trying to). I also have a tall pile of books I want to read/reread before deciding what to do with them.

What did I do with all the books? I donated most of them to our church bazaar, and some to the Cerebral Palsy people. My aunt took a few (or a lot, depending on your perspective) and I threw a couple in the recycling bin as they had come apart or were water damaged.

IMG_1466My goal is to get rid of this one bookshelf that prevents my closet door from opening fully. There aren’t actually a lot of books in it. It holds mostly CDs and VHS tapes (and some cassette tapes if you can believe it). But if I get rid of enough books on my other two bookshelves I’ll be able to move these CDs and tapes and totally eliminate this bookshelf from my room. I already did a cull of my CDs last year but I can probably get rid of some of the VHS and cassette tapes.

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Duplicates + 1 = Triplicates

Remember when I talked about duplicates? Well I found some more.

I went through one of my dad’s bookshelves. He has a collection of books by Robert Ludlum, Louis L’Amour, John D. MacDonald and others, totalling 189 books. While I was putting them in alphabetical order, I discovered the following:

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  • Two copies of the entire Bourne Trilogy (we must really like Jason Bourne)
  • Two copies of one John D. MacDonald book
  • Duplicate copies of ten Louis L’Amour books
  • Three copies of The Burning Hills by Louis L’Amour!

Now we are into triplicates! Sheesh! I am realizing just how ridiculous our situation is.

Well that’s another fourteen books that we are donating to the upcoming church bazaar.

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Am I really decluttering if I just give my stuff to a relative?

We had our Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday this year and had nine of our relatives over to visit. I mentioned to them that I have started to declutter our house and that I was donating most of the 553 books in my room.

My aunt (not the one that just moved into the retirement home, another one) then asked if she could have a look at the books I was getting rid of to see if she wanted any. I said that was fine, thinking she might want one or two. But of the 60 books I had put into the donation pile so far, she took over 30! And these were mostly children’s books! My aunt is in her 50s.

So, while I am happy to get 30+ books out of the house right away, I have a feeling it’s going to come back and haunt me in the future. 25 years from now, when she has to move out of her house, I bet I’ll have to help her get rid of 30,000 books. (I don’t know exactly how many she has, but it’s a lot. She likes books more than our family and, that’s saying something). Her house is two-thirds the size of ours, but I’d estimate she has three times as many books as we do. She also has a storage locker full of books. Seriously.

So I’m feeling kind of bad, because now my poor uncle has another pile of books in his already cluttered house. A few years ago, we had to switch Easter from their house to our house because they had so much stuff, there wasn’t room for the family. So even though I myself am less cluttered, I feel bad that I have added to someone else’s clutter.

IMG_0957Perhaps I can look at this as finding a good home for my books, where they will be appreciated (because like I said, my aunt really loves books). And I can’t be all that judgemental because I am also guilty of accepting relatives’ cast-offs. My aunt (not the book lover, the one now in the retirement home) recently gave me her 8-setting, 6-piece bone china dish set, tablecloth and napkins. And I accepted them, even though we already have dozens of dishes. They really did make the table look nice, but I’m sure no one cared about what dishes we used. We were all just thankful that we had a delicious meal with family we love.

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1 room, 3 bookshelves, 553 books, yikes!

ImageContinuing on from yesterday’s post, I decided to count the number of books my family owns. I started in my own bedroom and was somewhat dismayed to discover I have over 500 books across three bookshelves.

This includes children’s books, Nancy Drews, romance novels, old textbooks, Archie comics and everything in between.

My goal is to reduce this number to under 200. It would be less, but I don’t know if I can give up the 42 Archies just yet. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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The Library

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This is one quarter of the books that are in our “library”

Our family has too many books.

We have a room that we call the library because two entire walls are filled with floor to ceiling bookshelves full of books (and VHS and DVD movies – but that’s a story for another post). There are also bookshelves in the three other bedrooms and in the living room, hallway, back room and basement.

It never dawned on me that we have an abnormal amount of books until quite recently. Perhaps I was subconsciously comparing the number of books we own to the number of books Rex Harrison owns in the movie My Fair Lady. Compared to that library, we hardly have any books at all really. However, in the past year or so, I started noticing that most real people I know only have one or two bookshelves in their entire house/condo. We have nineteen.

I am almost afraid to count how many books we own. I’m thinking it’s in the thousands. Yikes! Now I’m thinking of all the trees we have personally killed. Now I am sad. 😦

I’m sure between the four of us, we have read all of these books at least once, but I estimate that we only reread about 5% of them.

I don’t know why we felt we had to buy all of these books in the first place. There is a magical place where we can get almost any book we want for FREE. It is called the Toronto Public Library.

I feel like we shouldn’t have to own all these books if the Toronto Public Library is going to go to the trouble of owning and storing all those books anyway. We might as well take advantage of the free storage.

I think using the public library is great. If we had used it more in the past, then we wouldn’t have all these books in our house now. I’m going to have to start donating and selling some books, but with so many it’s hard to know where to start. At least I got rid of the bathroom joke books by donating them to the Cerebral Palsy foundation.

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