A simple guide to decluttering books (without the guilt)

A simple guide to decluttering books (without the guilt)

Posted by Little Mash on

In the next few months I will be moving across the . . . driveway to the house next door. Literally! It's kinda hilarious. We've been in our current house for a little over a year, and even though I knew moving in we would only have a short stay, I'm still really sad. It is the first home I made with just my daughter and I and it has been so so good to us. Luckily we haven't really accumulated much 'stuff' in the past year, and so the move should be relatively straight forward (and I am stoked I won't have to organise trucks and trailers!), but this next house is significantly smaller and so there needs to be a thorough clean out before we pack up.

I have always considered myself to be a bit of a minimalist and as a kid I was constantly in trouble for secretly throwing away my families things. I don't get overly attached to furniture or even sentimental trinkets (my childhood journals and high school yearbooks are long gone) and if you came to my house you might be surprised at how sparse it looks - it almost echoes. But despite all this, there is one thing I find incredibly difficult to part with and would definitely attempt to save in a fire. My daughters book collection.

The first book I ever bought for her was 'Kuwi's Huhu Hunt' by New Zealand author and illustrator Kat Quin - I found it in the Invercargill Museum gift shop in early 2016 and it is still my favourite (thrilled that this book is now available at Little Mash - it's my go to present for all the little birthday parties). Later I decided to collect my favourite childhood books as a gift for her and it became an absolute obsession. Some books were easy to find and others required some opshop patience and online hunting. Last week I found the remaining book on my list in Australia and begged and pleaded for them to send it to me. I had been searching for this particular book for over 3 years and even contacted the publisher and author for a copy. I finally found it listed on Ebay, and for a split second I seriously considered buying a plane ticket to pick it up. It's on its way to us now and I have been religiously checking the letterbox everyday, crossing all my fingers and toes for its arrival.

Anywho, it's safe to say her collection has grown significantly since its humble museum beginnings, and lately I have noticed that the sheer volume of books has resulted in her overlooking treasures hidden amongst the shelves. So - deep breaths - I have decided our move next door is the perfect opportunity for us to declutter her library. I know, it feels sacrilegious! This is going to be hard.

I scoured the inter-webs in search for some inspiration and found this simple list of questions really helpful:

  1. Do we all enjoy reading this book?
  2. How often is this book read?
  3. Is this book age appropriate?
  4. Does this book have correct grammar and punctuation?
  5. Is this book in good condition?
  6. Does this book have sentimental value?
  7. Does this book have questionable morals or contradicts our family values?
  8. Do the pictures match the text?
  9. Does this book have substance? Are the characters and storyline well developed?
  10. Does this book support my child's current interests?

A few obvious and some not so obvious ideas in that list, and I will definitely use it when buying / adding books to our collection in future. I felt some motivation to get started this afternoon and I am surprised at just how easy and quickly it was to create our discard pile. It is clear that not all books are made equal after all.

Is your library overflowing with ignored, tatty or annoying books? Consider a declutter and make room for value adding stories your children will cherish for years to come. If you have older kids, you can definitely involve them in the process - it's actually quite satisfying once you get started.

Tania X

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