43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Ask MeFi on sane solutions for book clutter

Advice for clearing literary clutter | Ask MetaFilter

There's a thread on Ask Metafilter about book-centric clutter that's getting lots of good comments right now. It started when matildaben asked for "practical and creative systems for reducing the number of books I own," saying:

The vast majority of my possessions by weight and volume consists of books. I would like to develop a system for getting rid of them that will have a very practical, behavioral, methodical approach to the emotions that compel me to keep them...

The solutions people offer are thoughtful and suggest that many of the better ideas are coming from fellow bibliophiles who've struggled with The Book Problem.

Like several folks in the thread, I think this comment from occhiblu gets to the heart of what makes clutter such an emotionally complex problem:


On kind of a meta note: To some extent, I think de-cluttering involves recognizing that regret is part of life, and being OK with that. Yes, I've given away books that I now often wish I still owned. But I've also screwed up relationships, made iffy career choices, etc. -- you suck it up and move on. If you try to cling to every single thing (material, spiritual, or emotional) that you might need one day in the totally hypothetical future, you're going to end up bogged down in a lot of stuff.

Yep, that pretty much nails the problem and the cause for me.

Recap: Merlin's "War on Clutter"

As it happens, I'm about to begin the next phase of My War on Clutter. If you're in the same boat, here's links to my articles from that series.

Jacki Hollywood Brown's picture

Book Clutter

Books are meant to be read. I always suggest donating books that are not being read to a local library or school library. There are several things that you can do to keep your books close to your heart but still get rid of the clutter.

Start a bibliography on your computer or notebook: Take the book information (ISBN, Author, Title etc) Add a photo of the book Write a paragraph or two about the significance of the book to YOU, the impact the book had on YOUR life, who gave you the book, why you kept it, to whom you would recommend the book.

If you can't be bothered writing about how important the book is to you than do you need to keep the book?

If you are writing SO much about the book that you've started a second page...maybe you could keep that book.

Certain reference books should be kept like dictionaries, and atlases because sometimes it is quicker to look up the information in a book than it is on-line.

I got rid of (almost) all of my cookbooks as I can find a bunch of recipes on-line for almost everything I would ever want to eat. I did keep my Nanny's Purity Flour cookbook because it has her note taking about how to make a perfect lemon meringue pie!




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »