At this stage we switched towards monthly goals to try to keep this a new habit, a way of life, not just a thing to do once in a while.
Step 1: Goal
One month to 1/2 our book collection from 4 full shelves (28″ x 14″) with two rows of books each, plus three storage cubes full of kids’ books, to 2 full shelves and 1 kids’ bin.
Step 2: Book Selection
Pairing down books is hard! And so we did it in stages, from easiest to hardest.
- Books in bad shape physically (recycled)
- Text books we will never use again
- Home design kind of books – we now do everything on online forums for ideas
- Children’s books that my kids have outgrown
- Travel guide books and maps
- Older books we don’t love and are not likely to read again, novels, etc.
- Books that we like but not on our immediate radar and are easily available at the library
Step 3: Assessing Results
The first 4 items above were relatively easy, 5 started to hurt and 6 and 7 were difficult, especially for my husband.
That said, I was surprised to feel relieved to give away books that “I will read some day” and were just sitting there (and my reading was going nowhere). Instead, I took out two books from the library during this time (on minimalism and happiness); I finished one in 2 days and in the process of reading the second one.
We still have a decent amount of books but this is good progress for us at this stage. Further, we agreed not to acquire non borrowed or e-books from now on, else we will have to take 2 out for every one in.
Ready for Phase IV, our next challenge: Collections: old basketball cards from husband’s childhood and random coin collection from a family member that keeps sending them to us for holidays and birthdays :(.