Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Confessions of a Children's Book Addict

sorting, manage, and donate books

This top image is the "before" image. And if I'm honest, I'll tell you that it's not all of our children's books. We have more in various places. In fact, I have what amounted to a trunk full in storage. This picture only covers what was in our home.

I am a children's book addict.

I confess that I've been under the understanding that you can never have too many books.

I confess that I have combed through yard sales and bought up to a hundred gently used books at a time.

I confess that I have received hundreds of books from friends that know and feed my addiction.

I confess that I have often been a quantity over quality kind of gal.

I confess that I have had buyers remorse over a book purchase because not all children's books are created equal and I failed to read the book before I bought it.

And I confess to keeping those sub-par books.

How We Purged More Than 200 Books

We regularly go through R's belongings and donate the things he has outgrown. At least twice a year. He's always an active part in the decisions, and he's very generous. But we have never carried this practice over from his clothes and toys to my his books. It was time.

I started by gathering all the books into one central location. I cleaned each book and assessed it for damage. I taped up any spines that needed mending. And I asked myself, "do I absolutely have to have this book?"

We had close to 500 books when I started. And after I finished cleaning, sorting, and deciding on which books I must keep... we still had close to 500 books. Apparently I could only part with those regrets I mentioned.

So then I asked myself, "what books could I part with, if they would make a nice gift for one of R's friends?" I made a tiny bit more progress. Not much though.

Then I brought out the game-changing question. I asked R, "which books would you like to keep, and which would you like to give away?"

He loves books. Truly. But he was able to quickly go through and tell me which he had to have, and which he no longer wanted.

It was hard for me. I had to force myself into keeping quiet when I really wanted to talk him into keeping them. I rationalized with myself. What good is keeping books that he does not enjoy? So I let them go.

We parted with around 250 books. Here, my friends, is the before and after.

declutter your bookshelves, say goodbye to books

I have one last confession to make.

My first thought was, "oh yeah! We have room for more books now!"

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  1. Oh how I love children's books! You won't catch me donating any though. My mom did that with all of my childhood books and now that I have my own children I long to have all of those books back, I have so many fond memories of reading books with my mom.

  2. I can relate. Our book collection is overflowing and I always feel guilty getting rid of the sub-par ones, so I stuff them in the closet. The only problem is my kids always find them and bring them back out again.

  3. I used to be addicted but moving to a smaller place, made me clean up and donate most of our books. Now a days, each of my kids has a library card. every 6 weeks, we pay a visit and take 8 books each....16books in total to enjoy 6 weeks long. And the best of it is that after those weeks, we bring them back and get new ones :) You read everywhere that kids love the same story again and children like most to explore new books and best of all...we do not keep them :)

  4. I do the same thing! I keep putting books into a pile to bring to the donation pile...and they wind up back on the shelves. Maybe this will actually get me to bring the books directly to the donation pile in the first place! Once anything is in there, it stays! :)

  5. Wow! you are a strong person. I think I would struggle to let any of our little girl's books go and mine, I even have trouble sharing with her so no chance of them going. You should be very proud of yourself!!!!

  6. And I thought I was a children's book-a-holic! I feel your pain though and I would have said the exact same thing after purging for more!

  7. Why are books so hard to part with? I can donate and give away clothes and toys without looking back. But books? It is hard.

    You are inspiring me to clean out the book shelves - and I will definitely let my girls make the hard decisions.

  8. Thanks for this post, it just the push I need to get rid of some books

  9. wow! that's a lot of books. we need to do this with our trucks....

  10. hahah, oh, I'm the same. My solution.. buy more bookshelves, lol. I shall run out of space eventually :D

  11. Love this post!!! I'm the same way too! But not ready to purge yet!!!

  12. Wow!! I sometimes remind myself that one of the upsides to having a very small house is that is forces me to limit. On the one hand, that many books would be amazing. On the other hand, I have nowhere to put them. I am grateful for the library, which means we can continue to have new books all the time.


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