This is the second (first: your wardrobe) in a series of post to help you declutter areas of your home and life in 2012. More posts coming up on housewares and hobbies.
When wireless Internet first arrived I thought it was a silly fad. Like video games in the 1980’s.
I thought, why would anyone want to be on the Internet out in public or away from their computer? The spell of being connected hadn’t grabbed me yet. At the time I had a cell phone I barely used and a Hotmail address. I had a heavy second hand laptop that couldn’t connect to the Internet. If I wanted to check my email I visited a friend’s house or the library.
Obviously I know very little about trends and what people want.
But I’m starting to keep my mind and eyes open more when I read that the world is changing. I’m starting to believe that, while we might not be wearing jet-packs to get around, life in 20 years and particularly the way we communicate and receive news and entertainment, will be vastly different than my youth. This isn’t so hard to believe. I mean, I haven’t used a rotary telephone in two decades.
Here’s a trend that isn’t going away and that you shouldn’t ignore: books are going digital.
Books will eventually be solely published digitally for viewing on computers, handheld devices and other nifty reading gadgets yet to be invented. Traditional paper books are going the way of the dinosaur. Or, more accurately, publishing is facing the same radical change the music industry has been dealing with since Napster arrived.
Our world is changing at a rapid pace and bookshelves may one day be obsolete in most homes. Your child may one day receive all of their text books via a tablet computer. Visiting the bookstore may mean visiting something dot com. Brick and mortar libraries will shrink and be replaced with online lending libraries.
I’m not writing this to make you sad or nostalgic for your sixth grade Social Studies text books. But I am writing this to get you thinking about your book collection, how you buy books and, if you have children, how their reading experience will be different than your own.
Your children will not be illiterate if you get rid of a lot of your books. Books on the shelves don’t make a reader. Reading makes a readers.
We sold most of our books during our massive home purge in 2010. What stayed, and has traveled over with us to the UK, is a small collection of a dozen books. Books that we will read again or we have a lot of emotional attachments to. My husband proposed with a book so, yes, I kept that one.
Twelve books but we still read a lot. I have a subscription to the New York Times online and read it 20-30 minutes a day. I read four books in December, three on my Kindle and one that was loaned to me in hard copy.
Henry has roughly 50 books. About half of them are board books and the other half hard backs.
Our son still has traditional books. We will continue to borrow paper books for him at the library, occasionally buy paper books for him as gifts and continue to accept paper books from family. I’m not giving my two year old a Kindle to read from.
This is not a call to sell or donate your entire library. Rather, examine what you have, think about why you have it and determine if there are some hard copy books you are ready to let go of.
When I declutter I like to think about why I have kept the items. Here are some questions to ask yourself about the books you own.
Are you keeping books because:
- they look pretty on a shelf
- you like what they say about you
- you have memories attached to them
- you loan them out to friends
- you will read them again
- you love dusting (crazy, and you can visit my home anytime)
Paring down your home library is a good way to not only reduce clutter but also to really SEE what books you have. Take some time to review all your favourites, make a list of those you want to read again this year and then, donate what you don’t want to your local library, charity shop or sell them to a second hand bookstore.
So often bookshelves just blend into a room’s decor and rather than seeing the entertainment and educational possibilities of them, we just see a long line of books to dust. Sure, books can be nice accent pieces for a room but they are meant to be loved and read. So read them, love them, loan them out or get rid of them.
Has anyone else downsized your library in the last year? Any regrets or are you happy with the tidy shelves? PS. You can see a great photo of a small library here at Small Notebook.