Do You Still Have Travel Books?

When I’m helping clients who are overwhelmed with books, we inevitably come across a collection of travel books on their shelves. In the days before you could easily find information about faraway places via the internet, we relied on glossy, fact-filled books by companies like Fodor’s, Frommer’s, and Baedeker. These books not only had listings of sights to see, they also had recommendations of hotels and restaurants.

Many of my clients are reluctant to part with these books, even though they are decades old. I remind them that the information is now out of date, plus you can get more complete information on-line. Besides, how likely is it that they are going to visit that place again?

That’s good logical reasoning, but their connection to these books is usually more emotional than logical. These books represent some wonderful memories. They have transcended the category of books and have become memorabilia. But they are memorabilia that are taking up valuable space.

Sometimes the client will say, “I like to look at these books and remind myself of the places I visited.” My response to that is, “When is the last time you looked at one of these books?” The answer is usually, “Not since I took the trip 25 years ago.”

So what is the solution to this dilemma? If you are overwhelmed with books and trying to downsize, take a few minutes and flip through each of these travel books. Does looking at it give you the pleasure that you expected? Or are the memories you have, and the photos you took, more valuable to you than what’s in the books?

There are probably some books that have more of an emotional pull than others. Keep the ones that mean the most to you, and let go of the rest.