Decluttering books

Everytime I try to go past a bookstore I fail. I have to go in and have a look. No, I don’t want to buy something, I just want to have a look. But I could actually buy one, only one book. It has been a busy week, and I could reward myself.

But which book to choose? I love detective stories, and historical novels, and fantasy books, and … In the end I leave the store with two books. At home I look at my book shelves and sigh – they are all crammed with books.

Some of them I haven’t read for decades. I bought them in my twenties and kept them for the memories which are attached to them. Some of the books in my shelves were books which I haven’t read completely. The title of the book promised more interesting content than the book itself provided. I kept them because decluttering them made me feel ashamed of my lacking ability to assess the book properly.

But then I was seized by a decluttering attack. A few houses away from where I live is a social institution which collects books and other things and sells them for a low price. So my books would not be thrown in the trash can (something I cannot do with books), but offered for other people to read.

In the beginning it was very difficult to select a book for donation. But I asked myself if I would ever read that book (again), and after answering the question with “no” things went pretty easy. I got two plastic bags filled with books (they were all in a pretty good shape), and yesterday I parted with the last one.

Now I look at one of my shelves, and actually I’ve got a lot of place for new books. Ah well! Off to Amazon…

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About Ulla Hennig

I live and work in Berlin. Taking photos is one of my hobbies, and writing is one of my hobbies, too. So I decided not only to show some of my pictures here but also present some of the thought which came wth the pictures.

6 responses to “Decluttering books”

  1. Kari says :

    Hello, I was just browsing through random blogs, I hope you don’t mind me commenting. =)

    My dream is to have a home where I will have a room as a personal library, and it will me the room I never leave. =) … but I like the way you made it sound: making room for the new. That makes complete sense. Nice blog =)

  2. Ulla Hennig says :

    Hello Kari,
    Thanks for dropping by and commenting! You are always welcome here!

  3. Joanna Paterson says :

    Ulla, I know what you mean, I find it easier to let books go know there are so many charity shops that take them and sell them on. I have a lot of books that I know I won’t read again but still need to keep – there’s too much emotional attachment to them. But there are some that didn’t really leave a mark, read or unread, and they’re the ones that can open up the space for the new 🙂

  4. Alexandra says :

    I think “recycling” books this way is a wonderful practice (I’ve been doing it myself for years now). It not only frees up space on my bookshelf but it also helps decluttering my mind, getting rid of books that no longer mean that much to me as they once used to …

    The only exception I make is for old computer books. These do tend to end up in the Altpapier-Container … 😉

  5. Karen Swim says :

    Ulla, donating books, reselling them or participating in book swaps is a wonderful way to declutter. Like you I could never dare throw away a book and letting them go is difficult. In recent years I’ve tried to use the library more and buy fewer books but when I return them there is that sense of loss. I suppose the best way is to buy and then pass on to make room for more. 🙂

  6. Judy Adamson says :

    The secret is to get rid of them straight away once you’ve made the decision. Many, many times I’ve sorted out a box of books for the charity shop, not taken them straight away and they’ve gradually found their way back onto my shelves! On the other hand, I find I buy fewer non-fiction books these days as there’s so much information on the internet so my six tall and three shorter bookcases are not overflowing too much! And anyway, books are a wonderful ‘decoration’ for a room – I’ve even got a big bookcase in my utility room!

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