Yeah, so, we're still hoping to move house sometime in the next century, right? And I was doing pretty well at reading my own books and not acquiring too many for a while last year. Then I fell off the wagon before Christmas, and attempted to get back on it sometime in January. I fell off it AGAIN a few weeks ago, and now I'm clambering determinedly back ON, gluing my butt to the seat and strapping myself in firmly. Because falling off all the time sucks.
You might have noticed that the 'Mount TBR' page on the blog disappeared a week or two ago, because I just couldn't keep up with the updates! Right now I'm in the middle of making a Book Jar - I'll post about it properly when I'm done - which means sitting in the flat literally taking down every single book from my shelves, a stack at a time, sorting through them, deciding what can go, and adding the rest to The Jar. So far I've gone through my general fiction, classics and crime, and I've already topped 300 unread books. I still have sci-fi/fantasy, YA, and all my non-fiction to go through - about twice as many books again.
To put it bluntly, it's ridiculous. There are so many wonderful books on my shelves, and yet I seem to be incapable of not buying more any time I get the opportunity. Joking and book lurve aside, I think even the most die-hard reader eventually reaches a point where they have to hold up their hands and say "Okay, maybe it's time to reel it in a bit." At some point, possibly in the very near future, I'm going to have to move these books, AND find a place for them in a new house where I don't have an annex to conveniently store my excesses.
So, what's the plan? Well, I'm not going for a blanket ban - because like going on a strict diet, that's only going to wind up with me developing a craving for a particular book, then failing spectacularly and buying twenty at once. So if something super-special comes along, I'm not going to wring my hands and wail, I'll just buy it. The important thing will be making that decision and remembering that there are hundreds and hundreds of books just like it at home already that I just 'had' to buy. Generally, abstinence will be my best choice, I reckon, because once I'm in a bookshop, or a charity shop, or a car boot sale, then my resolve is already down by about 50%.
As for the rest...
- I'll finish my book jar, weeding out books as I go. I think I've parted with just over three bags of books from the first bookcase, for example.
- I read an interesting article somewhere (I can't find it now!) about letting go of books that suggested asking yourself this question: "If you saw it somewhere for free, would you take it?" It sounds daft, but I'm imagining myself walking round a big BEA-type event with mountains of free books and the need to be choosy. Would I pick up X book, or pass it by? It's doing wonders for paring down my wishlists - next I'll try it on my shelves at home!
- I'm taking most of my current batch of library books back and focussing on my own books. There are one or two I definitely want to read while I have them, but the rest can wait for another time!
- I'll be using my book jar to pick reads. If I'm seriously disappointed when a particular book comes up, it can go. If I start reading it and it's rubbish, it can go. There are plenty more to read instead!
- I'll be sweeping my already-read books again at least once more before we move, in case there are any more that can be weeded out and taken to the shop.
- I'll be trying to stay away from temptation - bookshops, charity shops, book stalls, book sale emails... you get the idea.
- I'm continuing my general clear-out of other things in my life as well - clothes, magazines, DVDs, random drawers of stuff. Clearing out one thing feeds into another, and I feel much BETTER when things are cleaner and less cluttered.
Yeah, it's a bit of a fuzzy plan, but I'm sure we'd all agree that sometimes you just need to make a good start to help clarify things, and more will then fall into place with each step forwards. Hopefully I'll get great pleasure from reading some of the many hundreds of books I've amassed and ignored, I'll save a fair bit of money towards decorating my new space when we move, I'll not feel so weighed down by my TBR mountain, I won't cripple myself trying to move them all, and I won't have to make books the main consideration when I'm buying furniture!
Over to you - how do you know when it's time to clear out some books? Do you have any rules or rituals that inspire you if your resolve starts to waver (for example, I tend to read articles about decluttering and book hoarding, and head for Pinterest to look at more kooky, pared-down book storage ideas)? Are you good at keeping your bookish purchases in check?