Being a bibliophile doesn’t necessarily mean you should also exhibit traits of a hoarder. We’ve all been there, we found a book in a free bin outside the library, or picked up a book for a penny at a thrift store. Free, or nearly free, is always too good to pass up. However, if that same book has been sitting on your shelf for years now and you still haven’t touched it, or don’t intend to, it might be time to part ways with it, donating it to another free bin or free library.
Thinning bookshelves isn’t an easy task. We always convince ourselves that we’re going to read that book eventually, just not now. Or that that book we read that was absolute garbage is for some reason worth holding onto. A book on the shelf becoming a sort of notch on the belt, exemplifying your ultimate reading prowess.
The best way to begin the process of thinning one’s bookshelves is to first come up with an organization strategy. Pull all the books off your shelf and organize by category and then alphabetically within that category. Or pick a different organization method that best suits you! As you do this, come to terms with books that you need to part ways with. That DIY crochet book that you bought ten years ago with the intention to learn the art of yarn braiding should probably get put in this pile, because we all know you never even bought a spool of yarn. If you’re the kind of person who just adores reading romance novels, you probably don’t need to keep all one hundred and fifty separate books with basically the same plot lines that you plowed through in a day due to the excitement and ease with which they read.
What you’re looking for when you’re thinning the shelves is what books actually inspire you to be a better writer. By all means, if you’re trying to write DIY books or romance novels, the above paragraph certainly does not apply to you. However, if you’re a fiction writer or a children’s book author, stick to a bookshelf full of authors you draw inspiration from. As fun as smut can be, we all know a truly beautiful or classic book when we see it. I love being able to walk over to my bookshelf and pick up a copy of Emerson’s Essential Writings and see what I underlined or highlighted from it when I was in college. When I go home to my parent’s house though, and am confronted with the books I store there, I am always amazed to find the strange books I hold onto–from a distance of course–that mean almost nothing to me. If you’re not lucky like me and have parents who you can outsource your hoarding to, put those books in a “bring to my parents house for ‘storage’ box”…wink wink. If that box just so happens to make it to a thrift store or other type of donation center…so be it!
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