I think the editors of Lifehacker were looking directly in my direction when they referenced this WikiHow on how to stop accumulating books. I have discussed here before about how I seem to continually accumulate books and I have officially reached the point where I’m not sure where to put them anymore. Of course, if I actually bother to deal with the shelf of half-filled photo albums, I will have more room for books, but that’s not really a solution to the accumulation problem, now, is it.
I’ve actually been very good about not buying books this year. I have purchased a few books for my Kindle thanks to an Amazon gift certificate, and I picked up one series book (also with a gift certificate) at Borders, but it is part of a series I’ve been reading and collecting, so I don’t feel so guilty about that.
That said, the books just keep piling up! I track my library on LibraryThing, and I officially have 151 books on my to-read list. 151 books! Most of them are in a storage box under my bed, which is why I don’t think I’ve realized just how many books there are. My goal is to half that number by the end of the year. I’m not sure if I can do it. Oh, sure, I can read 75 books by the end of the year. That’s not a problem. But that means no more accumulating books. The other problem is that a number of books I have were passed on to me by friends and family and are the later books in a series, and I always feel that I should try to read a series in order, or at least read the first book in a series to get familiar with the characters. Which, of course, means accumulating more books.
I’m doing it in a money-saving manner, of course, with Bookmooch and PaperBackSwap, but at this point it’s less about the money and more about the fact that this book collection is getting out of hand. It would be one thing if these were books that I had read and loved and wanted to keep. But I have 151 books that I have never read and might completely hate just sitting around!
I think that come summertime, I should re-evaluate my box of books and see if there’s anything in there that I will never read and just list them all on the swap sites. Or maybe I will have some sort of a blog contest. Win ten pounds of books!
Yeah, you’re right, that sounds like it could be the worst prize ever.
I’m sure you’re thinking “Okay, so if it’s not a money thing, then why is this on a personal finance blog?” Because I think that a huge part of personal finance is smart ownership. And by that I mean not only taking care of what you have but making a point to only have things that you want and that you will use. If you are a big gamer and want three different gaming systems (and you can afford them), then by all means, go for it! If you are a bookhound and you have 1000 books that you have read and you love and they take up an entire room in your house, hey, why not? But what’s the point of having things you never use? It’s accumulation for accumulation’s sake which I don’t think is a good way to live your life. If you do it with one thing, what’s to stop you from doing it with two things or five things? Eventually, it will cost you. And yes, many of these books were just given to me. But some I picked up on my own. Some I got through swap sites, which involves paying shipping – not much, but it’s not free either.
By swapping the books, I can get credit for other books that I do want to read. Or I can sell the books and make a bit of money. Even making $1 from each of these books would still pull in a very good amount of money. Or I can do what I did yesterday and packed up some books for mailing to friends who I know will enjoy them very much. And yes, that does cost money, but it’s nice to send little gifts every now and then.