Sunday 18 March 2018

How to Declutter your Books (without getting the urge to run for the hills...)

It started when I spotted Mary Stewart's classic romantic suspense novels had been reduced to 99p in the Kindle Daily Deal. I promptly downloaded them all. Then it was Elly Griffiths's murder mysteries, then Georgette Heyer's historical romances. All my favourite authors, all books I already owned but was too lazy to unearth them from whatever crate in the garage I'd stored them in. It took a while but I eventually realised that if I kept doing this it was going to get really expensive. Had I finally reached the point where I would have to choose between ebooks and 'real' books?

Too many books?
No, no, no, no, no; that would be far too drastic! Throw away my favourite books, my vintage collections, and all those books I'd bought and not yet read? I just couldn't do it.

Perhaps instead of shoving books into crates, I could reduce their number and bring my favourites back into the house and onto my bookshelves?

Here's how I decided which ones to keep and which ones to donate to my local charity shop.

1. I kept all my favourites, obviously - mostly romance and crime, including my Agatha Christies with their amazing vintage covers. Some look even scarier than the stories.

My favourite crime novels!
2. Anything falling to bits went into the recycling bin. It was a wrench - but also a good excuse to buy again on Kindle! Although I'm already on my second copy of several Jilly Cooper books; they have literally been read to death, poor things.

3. I weeded out duplicates. I have a bad habit of accidentally purchasing books I already own but I do like to buy favourites again when they're on offer. Amazon will tell me if I've already bought a book from them but not if I've bought it from Waterstones. I can't think why.

4. I took out anything I was never likely to read, or read again because I hadn't enjoyed it or my tastes had changed. Goodbye contemporary romance and 80s bonkbusters. I also had a collection of vintage Mills and Boon (even older than me!), with some very dubious consent scenes between hero and heroine. I'm afraid they had to go, along with the erotica I bought after the success of Fifty Shades and thought 'Hey, that looks easy to write. Maybe I'll have a go?' (Note to self: Don't ever chase a trend that is so far out of your comfort zone!)

My 80s bonkbuster collection is now halved!
5. The books I had left (not quite half, more like two thirds) I sorted into genres and stacked them back into the crates, now labelled with the authors' names so I can find them again.

6. Everything I hadn't read but still wanted to read I sorted into smaller crates, creating possibly the biggest to-be-read pile ever. Or, as my daughter said, 'That's not a to-be-read pile, that's a small library!' I'm keeping them in my study, to shame me into reading them! I did toy with the idea of adding them all to my 'want to read' list on Goodreads - but I think it would be quicker to get on and read them!

So that's my book collection streamlined and waiting for me to buy another bookcase. Now all I have to do is start reading! 

And in the meantime, make sure I stay out of the bookshop, the library, Netgalley ...

Now THIS is a
to-be-read pile!

Related posts:

And if you want to know more about the books I love reading,
 visit my book blog!

Once More Unto The Bookstore

Image Copyright: Mine, except top and bottom: Shutterstock