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How to Trim Down Your Book Collection
Give your bookshelf some breathing room

If you’re an avid reader, you likely have a bookshelf that’s full to bursting with novels. While parting ways with books can be difficult, it’s a good idea to do some spring cleaning and get rid of a few works so you can make room for more in the future.

Take it one step at a time

A helpful way to approach the idea of decluttering your bookshelf is to first think about each book’s significance in your life. It’s important that you think about every book individually so you can determine which emotions you have towards each work, instead of which emotions you have towards your collection as a whole. However, don’t spend more than a minute pondering each novel since you could end up talking yourself out of discarding something after too long. When thinking about a novel, consider whether your feelings are positive, neutral or negative. Any work that doesn’t have a positive association in your mind should be taken off the shelf. Once you have gone through your whole collection, repeat the process with the books you have left since doing so can make it easier to get rid of works that you are neutral about.

Gauge your interest level

If trimming down your collection based on emotional impact is too difficult because you care for most of your books, you can try a more logical approach by determining whether or not you will read each novel. Even if you really enjoyed reading a book once, you should still consider discarding it if you have no intention of rereading it. As for the works on your to-be-read list, be honest with yourself about whether or not you will actually get to each book. It’s a smart idea to set a time limit for reading novels, and remove ones that you have not read within a year of ownership. The exception to this rule is if you have an unread novel that’s signed by an author, since that can be a more valuable addition to your shelf.

Give it a new purpose

Even if you haven’t read a book, it can still be sad to get rid of it. However, thinking of all the good that a book can do after it leaves your shelf can make the mourning process easier. You can give one of your novels to a friend or family member as a gift. Not only will you feel relieved knowing your novel is in a great home, but the right recipient will also be grateful to have a more personalized present. If you can’t think of someone in your personal life who would enjoy a specific book, you can also donate a work to a library, school or charity. Donating a book could end up giving someone a joyful reading experience, which the work can’t do while sitting on your shelf. If later down the line you end up wanting to read something you gave away, you can have peace of mind knowing you can likely check it out at the library.

Parting with your possessions is never easy. However, by following these tips, you can hopefully manage to reduce your book collection and accordingly take advantage of the extra space on your shelves.



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