Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Simple Rule for Getting Rid of Your Excess Books

If you read a lot of books like we do, perhaps you share our problem: Our home is gradually getting overrun by books. Piles of them.

Sure, we've made resolutions to control the spread of our collection, like "no more buying books!" and "only get books out of the library!" We've tried these approaches, but unfortunately, not only do rules like these suck the fun out of life, they're also ineffective. The thing is, even though we do get most of our books out of the library, and we don't really make a practice of buying books, we somehow still seem to have more books than we know what to do with. And the piles seem to grow, slowly but surely, with every month and year.

Earlier this year, however, we adopted a simple strategy to control our book creep, and it has worked so well for us that I decided to share it with you in this blog:

For every new book you bring into your home, you must immediately remove two.

It doesn't matter whether you donate the books to a local charity book sale, Bookmooch them, or just give them away. The point is, you must get those two books out of your home. Right now.

The key advantage to this rule is this: you can still enjoy the pleasure of receiving or buying new books, yet over time you will be guaranteed to reduce the number of books you own. Just make sure that the minute a new book arrives in the mail, or the minute you return from your trip to Barnes & Noble, you pick out the requisite two books per new book acquired and get them out of your home forever.

You can also set the number of "removal books" to three, four or more, depending on how aggressively you want to reduce your book collection. Just don't set this number below two: the whole point is to make sure that each time you acquire a book it results in a net reduction of the total number of books you own.

Try this rule and see if it helps you control your out-of-control book collection. Let me know how it works for you!


Jim said...

I couldn't agree more! And if you have any books in my bookmooch wish list, let me know! ;-) http://www.bookmooch.com/m/wishlist/jiminnyc

But seriously, I try to keep pushing books out the door. No point in them sitting on my shelf forever if someone else can read them.

Nice post, and nice blog in general. I never knew about this one before!

Daniel Koontz said...

Hi Jim and thanks for the feedback! I hope you enjoy reading.