Getting rid of books

Monday, June 28, 2010

A feng shui book makes Rich Rennicks from Forbes ask, can you have too many books?

These days, my writing ambitions and practice are proceeding down different paths, and reading Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui helped me realize that I'm never going to use most of these books again. The very fact of their presence, their hoarding of shelf space, the way the unread ones quietly guilt me, and their overflowing selves requiring organizing and dusting take mental energy and focus that I could be using more profitably elsewhere. Off to Goodwill with them all...

If you've decked out your place with wall-to-wall shelves with fancy staircase storage and you're planning to stay put for a while, you may not need to worry about this, but most people have to draw the line somewhere. For Rennicks, this meant discarding portions of his library that he had already read and no longer needed for reference, or subjects that no longer excite him.

How do you decide which books to keep and which ones to give away? Do you only keep books you haven't read, or do you hang on to special volumes, even if you don't plan on reading them again? Do you maintain a "service library," one that serves a purpose for reference, or a "trophy library" to show off your impeccable tastes? Would you ever keep a book just because it looked nice on the shelf?