When I suggest to my clients that we review their bookshelves and see if they can let any books go, they usually look at me in a panic and say, “But I LOVE my books!”
Books are just like any collection: a bunch of individual items that are viewed as an entity but are actually quite diverse in terms of their usefulness or emotional value.
In reviewing books, we generally separate them into five piles:
- Books they reference.
- Books they haven’t read but plan to.
- Books they have already read but would like to read again.
- Books that have a strong emotional significance to them.
- Books they are ready to let go – either because they don’t plan to read them or re-read them, or because their usefulness as reference books has been superseded by the Internet.
By dividing the book collection into those categories, it becomes clearer to my clients which books they can let go.
I recently took a cue from my own playbook and created a shelf on my bookcase solely of books that I haven’t read yet. It has turned out to be a godsend!
As a result of having all of my unread books in one spot, I’ve been reading a lot more. I have been setting aside time in the evenings to read. As soon as I finish a book — and place it into the “donate pile” — I pick out another one. I feel like a kid in a candy store! All those books just waiting for me to crack them open and dig in.
If you have unread books in your home, try putting them all together. It may shock you how many books you have accumulated but never read. Give away the ones you know you will never get to . . . and then jump in!