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  • Writer's pictureJonda Beattie

Books: How many is too many?

After : bookcase

Before: Bookcase

I have long prided myself that I only kept as many books as I had spaces to store them. My bookcases were my containers and if they got full, I got rid of less favored books.

Then it was pointed out to me that it really wasn’t that great to have my bookcases so crowded. Spaces that are completely full block the flow of “chi” (vital energy). Full bookcases block the flow of new information and knowledge. You can believe in Feng Shui or not but I will tell you that decluttering my bookcase helped me to have breathing room in my office and lightened up the atmosphere in the office.

I started thinking about why I have kept my books for so long. I came up with the following list:

  1. I haven’t read the book yet.

  2. It was given to me be a friend or relative.

  3. It was signed by the author.

  4. It was a book that I referred back to for information or ideas.

  5. It was a book I wanted to have on hand for guests to read.

  6. I had fond memories attached to the book.

  7. I might want to read it to a grandchild.

  8. It was expensive.

Then I came up with reasons I could let the books go or reasons why I really want to hang on to the books.

  1. If I haven’t read the book after several years, I’m not likely to want to read it now.

  2. My books are not equated to liking friends and relatives. My friends and relatives won’t care if I give the book away.

  3. If the book was inscribed to me and I was fond of the author, I would keep it. If it just had the signature – so what? – let it go.

  4. If it’s a book I refer back to often, I’ll keep it.

  5. I will chose 5 books of various genres for guests to read.

  6. If a book has fond memories associated with it, I’ll keep it. There aren’t that many.

  7. I don’t have grandchildren and this is not likely to change.

  8. It was expensive but so is the prime real estate that it is taking up. The book can go.

Do you crowd your bookcases? Do you even have books stacked on top and on the floor? Are you really caring for and honoring those books? Think about it and share a comment.

Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer

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