Too Many Books

Is it possible for a book-lover to have too many books?

Yes. If they are making you crazy.

Otherwise, no.

Tee shirt given to me by a friend and fellow book-lover who, like me, has also run out of shelf space

While I was working in schools, it was a joy to come home and just relish the sight of all my beloved books, and the unread books that held such possibilities of enjoyment.

But something changed when I started working from home. They seem to be staring at me all day, and some even waving at me, saying, “Read me! Read me!”

Even the ones I’ve already read are getting on the bandwagon: “Write a review! Give me away!”

Because I am at home most of the time, they must think that I am now independently wealthy and have all the time in the world to lounge around!

And then there are my Kindle books, which are easier to ignore because my Kindle is out of sight behind the door of a bookshelf. And even when I do open the door, it is so deceptively thin it masquerades as a magazine or pamphlet.

Then there are virtual books on my “For Later Shelf” at my public library’s website. Now these shouldn’t present a problem, because they are really just a list of books I’d like to read in the future. But they are in the back of my mind as an item on my To Do List.

Which brings me to the point of this post:

I’ve realized that this is actually causing me anxiety.

My physical space is de-cluttered, but clearly I also need to de-clutter my mind.

So I started with the rip-the-band-aid-off method. I got on my library’s website and deleted the list of books I was planning to read. I couldn’t believe what a weight it was–and still is–off my shoulders!

By the way, I was inspired by this video by Rincey at Book Riot–she is such a ray of sunshine! Her video and the comments made me feel better as I realized that I am not the only one to have over a hundred books on my public library “For Later Shelf”.

Lesson learned: I shouldn’t start looking for books to read until I have read all the ones I own.

Continuing with the rip-the-band-aid-off method, in the morning of a day when I would be running errands, I pulled books of my shelves that I didn’t absolutely LOVE, and put them in the trunk of my car for trading/donating. That was pretty easy.

The hard part was telling myself that it really was okay to get rid of them, EVEN IF (a) I was pretty sure it would be a great reference book for an amazing article or book I was going to write “one day” (yeah, right); and (b) someone had given them to me as a present (I cherish gifts from people I love, yet got a new perspective from watching this decluttering video, starting at 14:00).

Next was the “there’s no time like the present” method. On a quiet weekend afternoon, I picked up a book off my shelf that has been catching my eye, and which I wasn’t sure I’d like. I figured once I started reading it, I’d know pretty quickly if I liked it or not, and if not, it would go into the trade/donate pile, which would be a victory.

That book was Calico Joe, by John Grisham. I read it straight through, start to finish, in one afternoon. (I only skimmed some of the play-by-play details of baseball games to get back to the plot.) This is why I pick up John Grisham novels in the first place–excellent writing and gripping plots. What a delightful way to spend a few hours! Then off it went to the trade/donate pile for someone else to enjoy.

The result?

Ahhh.

I’ve reached the balance I was sub-consciously longing for. I am now getting along well with my books, and have that joy of being surrounded by so many I love and look forward to reading.

Can you relate? I hope this been helpful. Do you have more tips? If so, speaking for all book lovers, de-clutterers and minimalists who land here at HappilyWriting, thank you for leaving your tips in the comments!