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Episode 240 – How to declutter books

If you're a book lover than the very last thing you want to do is touch your precious book collection. Today we're going to talk about why books are so difficult to declutter and the questions to ask yourself to break this project down into manageable chunks.


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  1. I have two types of unread books. Novels and casual reading are in a stack beside the bed. On the stairs I have baskets of research type books that I have gathered up and until I sit down and browse through it to determine if it is a 'keeper' for my research shelves they do not get put into the official collection. In our household we sort our books by subject – crystals, human prehistory, religion, psychology etc. I enjoyed today's podcast. Thank you. We are getting ready to move/downsize and so this topic is near to my heart.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for sharing! Sounds like you have a plan going, but just be careful with having baskets with book on the stairs. I would not want you to trip over them walking up and down. Books are notoriously tricky to declutter, hence we have a whole course about them in our membership. You can even join us for a month if you'd like to do that course alone. You can find out more on members.declutterhub.com. Good luck moving and downsizing.

  2. Four unread books! I've got more like four whole shelves spread out over half a dozen bookshelves, plus several piles scattered around the house, waiting for me to finish decluttering the archives of the business I sold in 2016. And very little of that is fiction – I borrow my fiction from the library, on audio book for listening to in the car, and as paper books for holding in my hands at bed time or when waiting in the doctor's surgery.
    While listening to this podcast, I'm listing the accounting texts that were useful in my old business on the local uni's secondhand book app (probably won't get any takers, so they'll join the 18 years of tax manuals – that were outdated the year after purchase – in the garden as mulch and strange vegie patch borders).

  3. Good one. It inspired me to go online to Libby, our city library app, to review my electronic book and audiobook holds. I reduced it down to the how-tos plus 4. I keep forgetting about all the books I’d like to read and which I own.
    I felt a little frisson when Lesley asked about a count and confess of Unread books at home. Hmm.
    Is it better to possess more unread books or more books which were read but will never be read again?

  4. RE your question right at the end – oh dear, most of my books I haven’t read! I can usually declutter a book once I’ve read it. So how many unread books do I own? Umm, without counting, must be at least 50-60!!

    1. Thank you for sharing Laura! Have a look if you're really going to read those unread books or not. Maybe you can declutter some of those? Also try to find out why you keep buying them, but are not reading them. Is it the buying you love, or is it that you need to make time for reading?

      1. Thanks Ingrid! I stopped buying them Tera ago but didn’t get rid of any! Definitely food for thought.

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