I talked about how I was doing a whole Bookshelf Revamp project in the Spring and I just, this past weekend, finished step 1 which was culling my books.
It. Was. The. Hardest. Thing. Ever.
I mean, to be fair to myself, I was busy (and also lazy when I wasn’t busy) this Summer and Fall so it kind of took a while. BUT it was so agonizing to cull my books that every time I thought about doing it I just thought about how much brain power it took to try to decide what books I wanted to keep and what ones I didn’t. I’ve culled in little bits here and there before but NOTHING like this.
A few years ago I talked about my system for how I decide what to do with a book after I read it (I’m pretty ruthless about getting read of books I’ve read). My system is super solid for the most part though I do have these books that don’t fit my requirements for keeping that, thanks to Bookstagram, I want to keep just because I think their covers are pretty/maybe I want to keep for a picture. SO HARD trying to keep my shelves at bay….I really need someone to invent #4 on here because then I would just keep them all and have them at my disposal.
But here came the problem when I was doing this massive cull….
IT WAS SO HARD TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH UNREAD BOOKS….which makes up the majority of my shelves.
There were some I absolutely knew without a doubt I wanted to keep. And there were some easy ones I knew I wanted to get rid of in one second — that I had lost interest in or just knew I wasn’t going to read it ever.
Then there were ones in this grey area that I was like WELL I DON’T KNOW.
Some of them I had owned for MANY YEARS and they have gone unread. There were some I had gotten for review, as finished copies, that I put on myself but don’t know if I would have ever picked them out for myself to read. There are books I was REALLY excited about. Books that I knew nothing about. Books I wasn’t excited about but I wasn’t not excited about them.
I tried to Marie Kondo it and hold the book and ask myself if it sparked joy but it wasn’t feeling right. I was still being indecisive like “I don’t know if it sparks joy…? It’s a book…so it DOES spark some sort of joy in me?”
So then I just tried to think about things like:
- If I’ve owned this for this many years and still haven’t read it what is the likelihood I will read it?
- Why was it on my shelf in the first place? What made me excited about it? (ie did I buy it? Was it for review?)
- If this book was gone would I even know it was gone?
- What is this book even about and does it interest me?
- What are reviews saying about it and does it seem like something that would be a me book?
- Have you lost interest in this book? Or…this type of book? This genre? (That’s what happens sometimes when I have books on my shelf for 7+ years when my reading tastes change)
Logically I was like “really it doesn’t MATTER if I get rid of something I’m unsure of because I can always library it!!” But then I would just have my typical “but what if I want to read it and it’s not there feeling?” with a very practical thought that was like “what if I never end up picking this book up BECAUSE it’s not right in my line of sight?” Which maybe should have been an indicator some of these could go if I would not think about them again to get them at the library.
So I culled the best I could and accepted that I wasn’t interested in some of these anymore. Got over my guilt if it was a book I bought and never read by reminding myself I was donating them to teens who might actually read it. But then I put a stack of 8 books in my closet of books I really couldn’t choose whether or not to let them go and told myself if they don’t get read in the next 8 months they are gone.
Anyways, culling my shelves was not easy. What if I was passing on a book that could become a new favorite? If you haven’t noticed I am really good at convincing myself I need to keep things. I need to create a more foolproof system for culling my unread books like I do for my read books.
So let me know, guys….
How do you decide whether or not to get rid of an unread book? Or do you even cull? I want to know your system if you do/have one! Tell me how you do it!