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Blog: The Simplified Home
Five Strategies to Reduce Book Clutter



One of the toughest types of clutter to control is books. Books enrich our books-014lives - they provide enjoyment, humor, an escape to other worlds and they educate - just to name a few of the benefits. We build entire rooms in our home as a shrine to our books and shelves from floor to ceiling are often dedicated to store our book collection. That's why I said in the first sentence that book clutter is one of the most difficult habits to break.
We become attached our book collections and derive pride from a large and varied collection. So how can coveting books be a bad thing?
 
As the old adage says too much of a good thing can quickly turn into a negative. And like any other possession, more of any possession that you aren't using or enjoying regularly is clutter.  Too often a book is purchased, put on a shelf and never touched again. Or the book is read, then put on a shelf to never be touched again. In either case, how is that book, now relegated to a book storage shelf, offering any function to your home or enjoyment to your life?
 
The downside to coveting books is that they take up a lot of space, they collect dust and moisture (that contributes to allergies), they can infiltrate every room and flat surface of your home, and they deprive us of open space for the possessions and activities that we use and do daily.
 
In my old life I wished for floor to ceiling book shelves in my living room that had vaulted ceilings, with a rolling ladder that I could climb to the top and get any one of the hundreds of books that I envisioned filling the many shelves. In this era of simple living I now view books in a different way. Now I view the habit of accumulating books and storing them on bookshelves like any other old, useless possession that doesn't enhance my life on a daily basis. When you look at it this way, aren't bookshelves just storage spaces for unused items to collect dust. I no longer give into the urge to purchase books that in reality I know I won't touch anytime in the near future. And on the many storage shelves where my books were once stored, I've purged and narrowed it down to only my favorites.
  
Here are five strategies for keeping book clutter under control:

1. Pass It On, or Swap for Titles You Want

When you're finished reading a book, pass it on to a friend or make a trade for one of her books you'd like to read. This allows you and your friends to read many books without each of you having to purchase and keep each book in your home.  Here's a great site where you can swap your unwanted books for titles you want - all free.  www.PaperBackSwap.com

2. Use Electronic Media (E-Readers)kindleimage1

To a professional organizer, E-Reader technology is the greatest thing since sliced bread. A few of the top brands are:
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Sony Digital Reader Pocket Edition
  • COOL-ER
  • eSlick Digital Book Reader
In my next post, I compare these four popular brands.
 
The e-Reader allows you to download thousands of book titles from sites like Amazon.com, as well as from free sites like Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is particularly good if you are interested in reading the classics.
 
E-readers are great when traveling especially. I have heard from clients that they loaded five or more books on their hand-held e-Reader that would've taken up half their suitcase and weighed it down too much to carry.

3. Frequent the Library

Your local library is a great option for current titles that you borrow, read, and return. No lasting book clutter. Before buying a book, always check to see if it is available from your local library. Most libraries will let you put your name on a waiting list for popular titles and new releases. Try to delay gratification by renting the book and giving it back when you're done, instead of buying the book and adding it to your book storage shelves.

4. Buy One, Remove One

As I always suggest to my clients, if you bring one in, let one go. Make a deal with yourself that if buy a new book, an older one has to go.

5. Use Audio Books

I love Audible.com. I love the selection and quality of their audio books. Project Gutenberg also has many audio books that can be used with an MP3 player.
 
With my busy schedule, I now prefer audio books, which allow me to "read" while doing other activities like exercising, weeding, driving, or housework. They provide another way for me to read without any clutter.
 
So the next time you consider buying a book at your local bookstore, or on-line consider if you truly have time to read the book in the near future, or will the new book be relegated to your book storage shelves to collect dust along with all the other books you had good intensions of reading.

posted on: 11/30/2009 10:00:00 AM by Janet Nusbaum, The Organizing Genie
category: Homes


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The Simplified Home


by Janet Nusbaum, The Organizing Genie

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About Janet:

Janet Nusbaum creates calm out of chaos, and loves bringing serenity and order to overwhelmed households, cluttered offices, frazzled parents, and transitioning seniors and families. Janet, President of Simplified Spaces & The Simplified Home, is an Organizing Consultant, Senior Move Manager, Author and Speaker.

She is the author of "Mom, Can I Help Around the House?" A Simple, Step-by-Step System for Teaching Your Children Life-Long Skills for Pitching-In & Picking-up".

She is a proud member: National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) & National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD)

Visit our blog - www.TheOrganizingGenie.com, and sign-up to receive our special report "SHELF LIFE OF 75 COMMON HOUSEHOLD ITEMS. Use this report to decide what to keep and what to toss ... then TAKE ACTION!!

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