One thing I know for sure is that everyone I adore loves their books. We can't seem to let go of them even after we've read them. I mean who doesn't love curling up in a comfy chair and reading a favorite novel? That being said, there is a fine line between holding on to favorite books and letting "collections" become out of control. Perhaps we all have a fantasy in our heads that one day we might have a library of our very own? Or, maybe we keep them to remind ourselves of our accomplishments? All those great books we're holding on to from College Psychology textbooks to Fifty Shades of Grey. We've already read them (or plan to) so why are we hanging on to them and letting them clutter our space?

The reason is simple. Books are associated with knowledge. We want to be considered knowledgeable and by showcasing all the books we've acquired (read, plan to read, gifted or looked through) we can feel productive and scholarly. Maybe we miss the person we once were and having the books surround you keeps you in your nostalgic space. Whatever reason, it's time to take inventory.


Just the idea of organizing your books can be overwhelming. Your book collection is very personal, filled with favorites you cherish, childhood classics, cookbooks and how-to's you use for reference repeatedly.

And then, there's the rest: the books you bought at the airport, the one your book club briefly mentioned at last month's meeting, the one your friend lent you on the beach last summer and, of course, all the books you've bought and intend to read but have not. Truth the reality is, if you haven't already read it, you are not going to. Really.

Don't get me wrong, everyone should have a nice collection but, it really must be maintained and curated.

So, now that you're willing to part with a few, how do you know what books to keep and what to get rid of?

I have put together  a few basic guidelines to help you. Here's the breakdown:

  • Reference Books (Cookbooks, Dictionaries, handbooks etc.) If it’s a book that you  use, can pass down to a child, or has sentimental or monetary value and you still want it – keep it.
  • If you LOVE it - keep it.
  • If it’s tattered, torn, you've already  – donate it.
  • If it’s taking up space and you haven't read it – donate it.
  • Not sure?  Put it in a box in your basement and if you don’t come back to it in 6 months – it can go



Bag or box up all books to donate. There are several venues that will accept used books:

  • Libraries (Public and school)
  • Charitable organizations
  • Senior centers
  • Local book drives

Ideally you want to do your book purge in one day (or a few days depending on how many books you have), but if that's simply not possible, take a 1/2 hour here and there. Every book you let go of is a great accomplishment!

I know this is a difficult, emotional task for many of you! I feel your pain! But, I promise, if you do your purging calmly and thoughtfully, there will be no regrets.

So, how many can you get rid of? The challenge is on!