Sunday, July 24, 2011

To Weed Or Not To Weed? That Is The Question

Christinabean and I having been having a hectic week, what with her moving and me at a family funeral, so we haven't had much time for reading and reviewing. But I did have some thoughts I wanted to share with you, and these concern weeding.  No, I'm not talking about the garden type of weeding, I'm talking about weeding books.

Those of you who are involved in the library world will know what I'm talking about, but for those of you who aren't familiar with the term, it basically means throwing out the old to make room for the new.  Some people find this really easy to do with books, and I will admit that at work I have no problem at all.  At home though, that is a whole different ball game.

I have ten bookcases (yep, that's 10) and they are all full.  Many of them with books in double rows and stacked vertically so I can fit more in - know what I mean?  One of those bookcases has all my embroidery books, but apart from a couple of other shelves, the rest are all my fiction.  Every now and again I pull a few older titles out, if I know I'm not going to read them again, but it's like parting with your children - only worse (the kids keep coming back!).

My husband has finally put his foot down and has said 'no more bookshelves'.  I don't think it's fair myself - I don't tell him no more tools - but I have to admit that my books take up a lot more room than his tools do.  So my problem is this.  If I want to keep buying new books I have to get rid of some of the old ones.  I'm practically in tears at the thought of it.  I have been taking a few copies in to work to sell on the book cart, but it is soooooooooo difficult. I even bought an e-reader so that I wouldn't have to buy so many hard copies, but now, if I read an e-arc that I really enjoy I go out and buy myself a copy to keep - yeah, yeah, I know, don't say it!

So I would like your advice.  At what point do you decide it's ok to part with a book.  Is it age, condition, relevance or some other secret formula that I haven't yet worked out?  I know I have to be strong, and I reckon that if I haven't re-read something in ten years, I probably won't, but at the same time I know that 2 months afer I get rid of them I'll decide I want to read them again.  As I said - to weed, or not to weed, that is the question?  HELP!


  1. There must be some books on your shelves that you don't wanna read any more! I understand that having all those books become attached to you. I think that you should at least try sticking with eBooks because they are SO convenient especially with storage and on the go. Also, put your own foot down with buying hard copies! lol I will tell you this now, it won't be easy. In the long run though you'll be thankful. And so will your husband lol

  2. If I won't read it again, or think my teens will read it - its gone. I either donate them to a local library (tax deduction) or give them away in a contest. I also have a few that I keep for family to read. Once everyone has read them, they'll be gone too. And you could do what steph su did. Announce your giving away books. List the ones you getting rid so people can request them of and the blogger you give them to has to pay shipping via paypal. Your out nothing and made some great friends. :) (steph su reads is the blogger)
    Good luck. :)
    PS, To make peace with the hubs I would get rid of one book shelf/cabinet too - then you won't be able to buy more books to replace the ones you got rid of. I know its hard, I love books too.

  3. I try to swap the books I have that did not particularly tickle my fancy that are in good condition on However, be warned that I have a problem now with all the books I received in swapping I do not have time to read.

  4. If you question parting with it - do not part with it. I box anything I haven't read or am not sure if I will bother to go back to again, and then stash those boxes far out of reach. Then, some considerable time down the road, when you've forgotten what is in the box (do not under any circumstances label it!), go back through. Whatever you're excited to have found again, keep. Anything else: hug them, have a good laugh/cry, and share a glass of wine, then break up with them. But gently. Find them another loving home.

    I do the same with clothes. And cat toys. It's like going shopping at home for me, when I find something I haven't worn in a year. And the cats haven't had toys bought for them in forever, because when I bring them back after a few months abscense, they're like brand new again!

    Good luck curlypow. I'd rather keep weeding at work too!


  5. Thank you all so much for your suggestions. I took them to heart and cleared out about 4 shelves worth. I figure that's a good start, and perhaps when I dry my tears, I'll go and clear some more!

  6. Great blog!

    Myself, I work at a high school, and have the same problem with too many books. I now make myself sit down after I've read four or five and really decide if I am ever likely to pick them up again. If the answer is no, or even a probably not, then I force myself to take them the next day to school and donate them to the library. Its two-fold. I'm contributing to (hopefully) getting kids to read. But they're also there if I ever decide I do need to reread them. :) Good luck! It is hard!

  7. I don't think I could ever do it. Saying goodbye to a book and getting rid of it would be just too tough for me now! You have some tough decisions to make... :(

  8. Wow! You cleared out 4 shelves worth? So is that where the stash I gave you goes? :P See, I don't even have a bookshelf to weed....I just keep digging through them each time I move and end up giving many of them a new home...or loaning them out and forgetting about them. If it is a book/series that I LOVED and will read again or something that is signed then it definitely goes into my library. If not, you may be seeing more in a giveaway....I laughed at Special K's response...only because I know she's addicted to buying...