The Why: I'm a homeschool mom. And I like books. When generous friends and neighbours pass their gently used children's books on to our family I act like I just found the gold ticket. Instead of carefully sorting through the books and keeping only what we need, I hoard them in my basement for all of eternity.
I've tried to sell some in yard sales before. I put a box of books out early in the morning, and throughout the day I find myself walking past the box thinking "oh, no, I can't get rid of this one." and "hmmm, I think I'd like to read this one again" and by noon half the box has made it back inside. This happens every. single. time.
Oh, and just for fun I decided this morning to go through my amazon account from the last year and discovered that since this time last year I have purchased (please don't judge me...) seventy-eight books! No wonder the UPS guy has started asking questions!
What we're keeping:
- Books we want to read again (like, um, immediately)
- Books we intend to (actually) use as part of our children's education
- Cookbooks we use at least once a month
- Reference books that contain useful, up-to-date information and that are fun to browse through.
- Children's books that are delightful family favourites.
Books we aren't keeping:
- Books we might maybe sort-of want to read again someday (If we ever really do decide to read them again, we can borrow them back from the library!)
- Books that look "educational" but we've never actually used.
- Cookbooks that only contain one or two recipes I really use (I'm copying the best recipes into my recipe binder and getting rid of the book. Why keep the whole book for just a few recipes?)
- Mediocre reference books. (Almost anything can be looked up on the Internet at a moments notice)
- Books full of pretty pictures but little information. (I kept 2 decorating books, the rest are going to the library. If I feel the need to drool over some pretty rooms or fabulous table settings or fantastic landscaping, isn't that what Pinterest is for?)
The Verdict: I have the books boxed up and ready to go as soon as the library opens tomorrow morning. I'm surprisingly okay with this. I like knowing that many of them will be available at the library if we ever need them, but in the mean time they will be read and used and enjoyed instead of collecting dust.
And I don't need to store them anymore!
I've decided to start following the one in, one out rule for books. When we bring home a new book, an old one must go. Because we do school at home and have kids in different grades I think I will have to waive this rule for curriculum and the occasional reference material, which means I'll have to be all the more ruthless about the rest of the books in order to avoid ending up on an episode of Hoarders.
We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!