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How to Cull & Curate Your Book Collection

Are you a bit overwhelmed by an excess of books in your home? 

Are you downsizing or moving, and dreading the expense of taking them all with you?

Don’t know where to start in the decision-making process?

Today is your lucky day. I propose two main questions, and a few sub-questions, to help you edit those excess books!

Before asking them, mentally divide your books into divided into Two Groups –

Those you HAVE READ and those you HAVE NOT READ.

If you HAVE READ it – Here’s the first big question to ask yourself: Is it a “Friend, Acquaintance, or Stranger?”  (this question is borrowed with thanks from Judith Kolberg.)

If it’s a Friend =

·       Loved that book and would recommend it to a friend.  Do you need to keep it? Then it stays!

·       Loved it and want to lend or give it to a friend, then it goes.

·       You know that you’ll reread it, then it stays.

·       Important information that you know you’ll want to refer to later also stays.

If it’s an Acquaintance =

·       Did you find it was okay but not stellar? Then it goes.

If it’s a Stranger =

·       You didn’t like it or can’t remember it, also goes.

Then there are the books you HAVE NOT READ.  

I find the question to ask yourself here is this: 

Is it for your CURRENT self, from your PAST self, or for your FUTURE self?

If it is for a CURRENT interest, then:

·       Make or plan the TIME to read it, so it can stay.

·       But if you don’t read it in the next 12 – 18 months, then it must go.

If it has to do with your PAST self, then ask:

·       Does it make me happy and I will refer to it? Yes, it can stay.

·       I am no longer interested and won’t make time for it?  Yes, means it goes.

If it may be for your FUTURE self, then ask:

·       Where else can I find this information? On Google or in your local Library?  If so,  then it goes.

·       Would I rather LISTEN to it? Is it available on Overdrive from your Library or on Audible?  If so, then it goes.

·       Would I prefer to read this on an eReader? And is it available on Kindle?  If so, it can go.

Finally, ONCE you have decided to let them go –WHERE do they go?

Perhaps you can sell them?  Check out the ISBN app from Sell Back Your Book or Powell’s.  These resources will tell you immediately what they will offer you for your books and give you free shipping.

Also, the American Library Association has resources identifying places that are seeking book donations, including international projects and prisons.  Your local library may take them as well!  And you can find information on the valuation of old or rare books at the ALA too.

So use these questions to help you have a book collection that serves you, and doesn’t stress you!