I’m back talking about my bookshelf again. Am I obsessed, or what? There are only two bookcases in our apartment, flanking the dresser in our one and only bedroom, so I guess I spend a lot of time staring at them. I love our teeny tiny apartment, but storage is at a minimum, so I try to do anything I can to curb the clutter and keep tabs on what is being stored so it doesn’t get out of hand. We have two closets and no attic or any other storage, so I really try to be aware of what is being stored and reassess occasionally.
Isn’t that the most fun part of moving, when suddenly you discover your hoarding tendencies and have to sort through years of stuffing things into closets and attics? (Sense the sarcasm.) I’m trying to avoid that experience for the next move, whenever that will be. Recently I’ve noticed that my bookshelves are getting out of hand. I’ve been in the bad habit of stacking new books that don’t fit on top of the rows of books on each shelf.
So I have come up with an action plan involving three steps to get my bookcases back in presentable form.
(1) Remove books that I don’t want to keep, and list them on Paperbackswap.com
(2) Make a pile of To-Read books and actually read them.
(3) Scan the photos from my photo albums, so I can make room on the shelf devoted to them.
In a bit more detail…
(1) If I’m not passing a good book along to a friend, I usually list books that I don’t want to re-read on Paperbackswap.com as soon as I’m done reading. But occasionally, it’s worth it to go through my books again to reassess if I am still as attached to each book as I thought I would be. It also helps me to physically remove them from my bookcase, so I don’t have to look at the clutter created by books I don’t even want to keep.
For now, my solution is a shopping bag of the books slated for PBS.
Of course, that means there’s a pile of books sitting around that I don’t want to keep, but they haven’t been requested yet either—which always makes me re-think my commitment to PBS; why not just give the books away and be done with them? But then I see another book I want to read and when I can order it for free, I fall in love with the concept all over again. And you have to list books and mail them to receive credits to order new books, so on the cycle goes…
(2) I try to keep up with a To-Read list (see my many failed blogging efforts to hold myself accountable…), but somehow I find myself buying new books all the time. I’m tired of fighting it—there will always be another book around the corner that catches my eye—but there still has to be a better way to read the books I already own. I think incorporating un-read books on my shelves just lets them blend in too easily, until I forget they’re even there waiting to be read.
But when I started to make a pile of all the books that I needed to read to clear up my bookcases, the pile was too daunting. Plus, I don’t want to make a mess in addition the mess already created. So I’m starting small, by picking 2-3 books that I definitely want to read next, and they’re sitting on my nightstand.
Manageable, and a visual reminder to start reading what I have before perusing the Kindle store when I’m bored… again…
(3) I’ve wanted to do something with my massive volumes of photos since we moved here last year. It was fine when we had oodles of storage and those bulky albums were hidden away—out of sight, out of mind—but I’ve come to see digitalization as my best bet for preserving photos without the storage dilemma. If I can get them scanned and saved on my hard drive, then I can think of some way to publish them in a slimmer, more manageable photo book—or not at all. I still haven’t decided what to do with the digital versions of all those years of photo prints before digital cameras.
But before I can decide what I want to do with digital pictures, I have to actually scan them… which is a huge, tedious, mind-numbing process. So I’m thinking about finding an affordable portable scanner, which is more like a wand than a bulky printer and seems easy to use. So, that’s the plan, but this third step is probably going to be the hardest to accomplish because it’s so time-consuming.
There you have my plan of action to get my bookcases into tip-top ship-shape! I’ve already enacted steps 1 & 2, and it’s helped, but 3 is the doozy… and it will also make the biggest impact if I can get those clunky photo albums out of sight.
Do you have any suggestions for managing your bookcase clutter in a small space?