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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.

allanf's picture

Clutter Suggestions

There is an awesome book called Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. A teacher of mine recommneded it to me a few years ago. Don't worry, you don't need to rearrange your furniture.

Here are some great points she makes regarding getting rid of books.

Aim to end up with a collection of books that represents you as your today and the intended "you" of tomorrow.

Holding onto books doesn't allow you to create new ideas and ways of thinking to come into your life.

Learn to let go of books when it's time. She suggests starting with cookbooks and warns not open them to check for recipes. Moving on to other books you haven't touched in years, novels you didn't like enough to finish, books with theories you don't agree with.

Move onto books that inspired you years ago but whose concept are now so much a part of you that you no longer need to read them any more.

She suggests donating the books to a local library, so you can borrow them back if you ever need them.

It is an easy and fast read and really helped me get started on getting rid of books and cd's, and other things. One thing for sure it was a long process. I didn't truck them all out in a weekend.





An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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