Welcome to week three of my Shelf Awareness series! Last week we talked about how to decide which books to get rid of when your collection becomes overwhelming. I loved everybody’s comments saying that you hate getting rid of books and refuse to do it very often (or never at all) and oh goodness do I relate! If it weren’t for having a toddler that has quickly taken over every square inch of my apartment I probably wouldn’t either!
This past week, though, I accepted the fact that my collection was getting out of hand. I started choosing things to unhaul on Tuesday and finished up on Thursday with the help of my husband. I had chosen a really good chunk of books to clear myself, but really felt like there was more I could do. He went behind me and pointed out a few things which made me talk about memories attached to certain books or helped me realize that there wasn’t actually a reason to hold on to a certain one.
What did my shelves look like beforehand?
The situation was getting bad. I was stacking books anywhere I could, but even the little nooks and crannies were running out. There is one other bookcase I have that I cleared books from, but it’s even more impossible to get a picture of than the one in my hallway. You’ll just have to trust me when I say it was just as bad as all the others.
How successful was I?
When I started I really didn’t think I’d be able to part with many. I’m somebody that loves holding onto everything. The few times I mentioned my plan, either on my blog or Twitter, I kept saying I would attempt an unhaul, not that I would be doing one. I was trying not to set myself up for failure. Even when I told my husband my plan he was pretty skeptical because he knows how I am. But y’all, I ended up clearing 230 books from my shelves! Seeing the piles grow and grow felt so freeing and I love that I have space for new books again. I’ve actually been in a pretty bad reading rut, but this has really put the drive to read back in me.
What do my shelves look like now?
They look so much better! There are actually holes where I can fit new books and I don’t remember the last time that happened. I was actually expecting my shelves to be more empty when I saw that I had removed over 200 books, but I’m trying to remind myself how much the books were piled on. And when I really compare the before and after pictures I can definitely see a difference.
How did I do it?
I actually really tried to take Marie Kondo’s advice of not keeping things unless they spark joy. The majority of the books I got rid of weren’t necessarily bad, in fact I’d say that I enjoyed them. As I was going through my shelves though so many of them just sparked feelings of meh when I thought about them on my shelf. Yes, I loved reading them, but keeping them forever was another story. Especially when I knew that getting rid of them would make room for new things.
The unread bookshelf was a whole other problem of its own to tackle. I am such a huge what if person, so even if something has sat unread on my shelf for years (some of them have been there since high school) it’s hard for me to get rid of it because I might want to read it one day. I knew this was a huge problem area for me though, so I used Twitter to help. I found a whole bunch of books that didn’t sound interesting any more or seemed like something I wouldn’t enjoy and created polls that people voted in and gave me their opinions. This helped me clear out so many unread books and while my TBR is still pretty huge it feels more manageable than it did before.
What am I doing with all the books?
After doing an unhaul I always have a hard time with the next step of finding them homes. I absolutely love selling and trading them on Twitter, but that takes a lot of money I don’t have. This time I had the idea of stocking up some Little Free Libraries around my area! I found a whole bunch within 20ish miles of where I live and my husband, son, and I are going to make a day of visiting them soon and hopefully spread some book joy.
My shelves are still pretty messy looking and disorganized, so my next step is to make them look nice again. Next week I’ll either be sharing tips on how to decorate your shelves or I might make a post about my Little Free Library adventures. Which one would you prefer to see? I’d also love to know what you do with the books you decide to get rid of, so let me know in the comments!
Did you miss a previous week of Shelf Awareness? Don’t worry, just click the links below to get caught up!
Shelf Awareness is an ongoing series where I tackle our beloved bookshelves and talk about various things that go on with them. Have something you think fits into this category you want me to cover? Let me know in the comments!