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2nd Annual Clutter Challenge Week 4 April 28, 2016

Books, Books, and more Books!

We were curious to know how much a box of books weighs on average, so we looked it up and found an answer on

“A typical moving box is approximately 13x13x18 inches. Good quality paper has a density of 50lb/ft^3. The resulting weight is 88lb.”

While that number seems high, we have also packed and moved enough boxes of books to know that it’s probably close to accurate. That means for approximately every twenty-two boxes of books you are storing or moving 1-ton of reading material, which begs the question:

Are you ever going to read it again?

Nine times out of ten, our clients tell us they have never revisited a book in their library after they read it the first time. In fact, many have honestly shared with us the fact that a lot of their library has never actually been read.

Typical Bookshelf

A typical bookshelf contains a wide array of volumes, stored however they fit, and sometimes all jumbled together.

Why do we store so many books?

Often, a nice library or bookshelf filled with literature is viewed as a decorative accessory. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily accurate. Yet, our love affair with books continues – even in the digital age.

That is, until it’s time to move. Once the task of packing up, storing, and/or moving an entire library is upon us, it can feel overwhelming. Editing along the way makes this monumental (and often emotional) task more bearable and manageable.

How do you do it?

First, you have to sort your books into categories, as follows:

  • Collector’s editions
  • Reference/hobby books
  • Coffee table or art books
  • Paperbacks
  • Everything else

Collector’s editions, reference/hobby books, and coffee table books are the ones that are easiest to deal with. For example, if your hobby is cooking, it stands to reason that you might have an extensive cookbook collection. If your cookbook library is stored in the basement where you never see it, you might consider letting go of the majority of it and moving your favorite books upstairs to the kitchen where you can have access. Using the same process for your art books and collector’s editions will allow you to enjoy favorite subjects easily, while also showcasing the best of your collection.

Paperbacks, however, are the exact opposite. To begin with, paperback books come in a multitude of sizes and are therefore more difficult to store. Additionally, unless you use your library for work, family, or hobbies, you’re probably not re-reading any of your books, so why store them?

The same question can be asked of the “everything else” category, and here’s our guideline for keeping books:

  1. Will you read it again?
  2. Does it support your hobby, passion, or growth?
  3. Does it bring back a specific memory you wish to replay (such as a photographic travel book)?
  4. Do you often refer to it, or want to be able to share it with a friend or suggest it to others?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it might make sense to keep the book. If however, you answered “no” then it’s time to edit your library.

Organized Bookshelf

What do you do with the books you no longer want?

Books are easily donated. For example, your local library might have a donation option. Alternatively, there are literary programs nationwide that are in need of additional supply. And, finally, you can always sell them yourself at a garage sale or donate them to your local rummage sale, or both.

The bottom line is books take up an incredible amount of space in our homes, which becomes more problematic when it’s time to move. At approximately 88lbs per box, moving books is both back-breaking and costly. Start now by editing one bookshelf at a time using our guidelines, and within a short period of time your entire collection will be edited to accurately reflect your interests, passions, and hobbies – and you’ll avoid having to pack, store and/or move several tons in the future.

All my best,

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