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Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Peek at our Future Declutter: 112 linear feet of books

Frugal Son is living with two roommates in a house in New Orleans. Thanks to one roommate who was working on a filming project with a producer, the house was chosen for a makeover on a reality show! Our main request: bookshelves.

Mr FS and I have long been accumulators of books. We are constant readers, but things had gone too far. Perhaps it was the tempting offer: 5 books for a dollar at Goodwill. The poor books languished and languished. Of course, they needed to be rescued by an appreciative person, who might even get around to reading them someday. Luckily, Goodwill raised its prices recently, which eliminated the need to get books in groups of five. Both our children are readers and we couldn't wait to give them some books. The moment has come for Frugal Son.

The designer told me to prepare for more than 100 linear feet of shelves. She offered to buy books in bulk to stage the shelves. OH NO! We have the books, plus it's so wasteful to buy all those Reader's Digest Condensed books by the foot.

I am about halfway through the culling. That's a lot of books. And guess what? I've hardly made a dent.

This is a vision of my future declutter. My parents weren't readers, so when they retired and moved, they didn't have books to contend with. (That's probably why I love books in quantity.)  Mr FS came from a set of readers. They had zillions of books, but could barely stand to give even a few away.  (That's probably why Mr FS loves books in quantity.) Then--because of health issues--they had to move. Mr FS spent a week in California packing books for the move. Then they had him bring boxes upon boxes of books that wouldn't make the move with them to a charity shop. The charity shop rejected the books.

Frugal Son can't wait to get his library. He is especially eager to peruse the cookbooks I've set aside for him.

Meanwhile, I came upon some books I should read. I started The Assistant by Bernard Malamud. It is an incredibly powerful book, so powerful that I can only read a few pages at a time.  Since I started the process, I have not bought a single book. I have so much to read!

Check out these photos of the office of a famous decorator. I have the books, but not the exquisite decor, alas.

I figure we have about five years to get rid of the excess. Did you have an event that knocked some sense into you about over-accumulation?





10 comments:

Janice Riggs said...

One of the smartest things I've done recently is purchased (through ebay) bulk quantities of padded envelopes in a variety of sizes. They're a fraction of the price of walking into a store to buy them, and their HULKING presence in our home is a constant reminder to keep selling those books and CD's. Good luck!

SewingLibrarian said...

Oh, I'm laughing when I think of someone buying books by the yard to fill F S's new shelves. Clearly, he can stage the shelves with your help! I am fairly disciplined about getting rid of books periodically, but my husband is not. Right now, in fact, we are looking for a carpenter to build shelves in our new family room. My bête noir is fabric! I find it hard to get rid of even if I haven't sewn it up in 20 years.

tess said...

Funny, I also have the books to furnish several home libraries, preschool and up, this also after I gave away huge amounts. Like the "stored energy" around the waist, it is much easier to gain than lose.

Please post pictures after the built in shelves are installed. Looking at pictures of full bookcases makes me exceedingly happy.

Why the 5-year plan? Retirement? Move?

Atlantic said...

Lots of books here too. I did go through recently and basically asked whether it was either:
1) a book I personally love and might consider rereading
2) a book I plan to read
3) a book I would press on someone else and tell them they had to read it

I realized that if I did not love it, wasn't going to read it or recommend it...then it needed to go. Turns out there are a lot of second-rate books

GeckoHiker said...

A long time ago, I frugaled my way out of clutter by refusing to buy books unless they were 10 cents or less, at the usual types of outlets. And those books were just as quickly recycled for a dime or more at my own yard sales. To this day I don't really own any books--I just use them for a spell. Now I have a Kindle and it is full of free books, plus I can use it to borrow e-books from the library. I guess I'm more of a minimalist than a frugalist, as I can't abide seeing things I don't need cluttering up shelves.

dotsybabe said...

I have a lot of books but about 1/2 of what I used to own. I started with cookbooks, which was easy as most recipes are available on-line. Then went the "coffee table" books, then decorating books, travel books, etc. Then work-related books (again so much current theory, etc., is available on line). Then my beloved medieval studies books (available in most libraries) and mystery books (OK, I kept some vintage exemplars). Oh, and then I kept a few books that had been owned by my father. So I started with the big and heavy and worked down to the slim and paperback. At the same time I curbed my book-buying habits and ratcheted up the trips to the library, especially for current fiction and non-fiction. I could reduce further -- an ideal occupation for the next polar vortex.

Shelley said...

Books are one of our weaknesses as well. I 'rescued' a bunch of biographies when our library downsized. It wasn't that I really wanted to own them but I did want to read them before they disappeared! Fortunately, our local community centre has an annual book sale to which I'm able to donate my spares (and acquire more). I'm currently struggling with managing my fabric stash (of scraps). I have 25 days to turn my sewing room into a guest room (and finish three rather large projects...).

Revanche said...

I can't resist keeping books but I reread the ones I keep pretty regularly. Any that don't get rotated through frequently are fair game for purging. And I've been working at keeping the accumulation to a minimum over the years. It was having to face a move, packing and unpacking dozens of boxes of books, that kicked me in gear.

Duchesse said...

Books are easy to accumulate because they murmur, "I am edifying".

I only keep a book if it is deeply sentimental or rare, like our set of first edition Jim Harrisons, warmly inscribed by him.

When I moved and retired, I found younger colleagues who wanted my professional library, and now with Kindle I appreciate being able to have many new books in e-format.

Frugal Scholar said...

@janice--I used to do this, but most books have very little value these days. Perhaps I'll try again. Great tip on the envies.
@SL--My late mother-in-law had fabric AND yarn. As with books, always room for more, alas.
@tess--We probably have to wait till after the show airs to post pics. 5 years: I am 60, DH is 62. We have no specific plans, but try to be mindful of possibilities.
@Atlantic--Wise words. But I still hesitate.
@Geckohiker--Luckily, there are no ten cent books here, or I'd have even more. I have a lot of trouble reading on a kindle--I should try to get used to it.
@dotsybabe--You are way ahead of me. In fact, I can hardly get rid of a cookbook (love reading them) and medieval studies--no way! I'll keep working on it.