It seemed like as good a time as any to talk about ABCs. No, not the alphabet, a much more dreaded combination - Aging, Books and Clutter. Accumulations of stuff inevitably begin to be a cause for concern as we get older for almost everyone who isn't a star on a tv show about hoarding. Books are a special issue, since readers love to be surrounded by them and have a hard time resisting the urge to add new titles at every opportunity. Some folks have overcome this by switching entirely to use of an electronic device for reading, like a Kindle or Nook. That's great for the future but does nothing to cull the piles already in existence. I have adopted a three-pronged method to cut down on acquiring more by this method:
1. Give books to my offspring, especially to my two older daughters. We have the same tastes, so I buy books though the year, read them, then give them each a bag at Christmas. My oldest son gets one too, but his tastes are different so there's no recycling of my discards.
2. Donate books that it seems unlikely will ever be re-read to the library sale held every year in October. There is a shopping bag in my closet for this purpose and when it's full, it's easy to drop it off the next time I'm at the library.
3. Use this service:http://bookmooch.com/ BookMooch is a service where readers list books they want to give away and request ones they want to read. The donator pays postage. It is a great way to locate titles not easy to find locally, and for ones you want to read and pass along. A similar one is called Paperback Swap, which is not nearly as user friendly in my opinion, but that's just my preference.
Of course, the best solution for no clutter in this area of life is to use the public library, which I have always done, but that rarely stops the voracious reader from picking up more at yard sales, thrift shops and other places. If you recycle any that you don't love with a passion back into the community via a service like BookMooch it will really help your house from filling up entirely--at least with reading material. It won't help a shoe addiction or the person whose car turns into Michael's parking lot automatically, but that's a different issue!
A word to the wise: some years ago I went to a sale in the home of a person who had collected cookbooks. It was advertised as 50,000 cookbooks and that's certainly what it looked like. No false advertising at all. There were so many, in fact, that the foundation of the house was damaged irreparably, from the sheer weight. Who wants to create that kind of situation? Much better to keep only the ones you really love and release the rest.
Till next time,