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(S)P(l)urge - The Book Dilemma

As you know, I've been Konmari-ing my home for the past year and a half. Old clothes and shoes are being sold or donated, clutter is being cleaned up, toys are being Varage'ed and the whole goal has been to purge excess and try to simplify our stuff. You know, in case we ever move again;

Fewer boxes = easier, cheaper, and faster move.

Anyway, I'm getting to be pretty adept at this purging business. However, there is one area that has been a very fatal weakness for me: books. Specifically, Little L's books. I'm a bibliophile at heart, and I have been amassing a fairly decent library of books for my girl since before she was even born. Add to that Hubbs' collections of books from his own childhood days, as well as birthday and Christmas gifts that tend towards beautiful hardcovers, and the collection grows quickly. I'm also a sucker for cheap books, so whenever the Scholastic flyer comes a-callin', I answer with an order, even if it is just a minimal one. And then there are my completionist tendencies; it just seems wrong to have only *one* or two of a series, when you can have the whole set. Currently, our Little L book count is somewhere in the 300's, if my estimates are correct. I dare not count, but judging by the pics (and the full bin of Mr. Men/Little Miss books, plus the two-row-deep shelves in some cases), I'd say that is a pretty fair estimate.





Books are heavy though, and also space-eaters. They take up room and they also get dog-eared and worn out, particularly if they are paperbacks and printed by Scholastic. Some of our books have seen better days, and are currently bound together by an intricate web of packing tape that speaks to my prowess as a former library page and book mender. But I can't bear to throw any of them out, or sell them.

Because they have sentimental value to Hubbs.

Because they are still being read by Little L.

Because they are part of a set that is beloved by the whole family.

Because they would be too costly to replace if we ever needed to get them back.

Because they're quality children's literature, and/or a Newbery or other literature award winner.

Because they've been signed by an author.

Because they were a gift from someone special.

Because.
Because.
Because.

Now don't get me wrong; I've already gotten rid of a good number of board books or duplicates. Little L and I periodically sift through her library and make keep/donate piles. For the most part, the donated ones aren't usually missed when they're gone.

However, my kid is a bit of a packrat and has an amazing memory. She will sometimes ask for books that haven't been read in over a year. Her attachment to certain titles make it impossible to covertly purge them without my feeling immensely guilty.

And if I'm being honest, I am a bit of a packrat too when it comes to our books. I love children's literature, and I am not quick to part with titles either. Hubbs is a bit more ruthless, but even he has second thoughts about donating some of the books we've kept from his or Little L's early childhood.

So what is a girl to do? At the rate that I'm going, our book count will definitely hit 400 by the end of the year. I will continue to do the quarterly inventory with my little bookworm, but if our track record is any indication, she only relents on about 15 titles at any given purge. Those same 15, and more, are quickly replaced within the quarter, thanks to Chapters-Indigo, Scholastic, and Costco.

While I'm hopeful that a day will come when the Little Piggie Boynton book set can be sold, or she has moved on from the crappy paperback stories we've ordered from Scholastic (half of them are kind of duds), that doesn't seem to be the case anytime soon. We are running out of bookshelf space!! Please send help...or more bookshelves.

How do you decide which titles to keep or to get rid of? What's your bookcase situation?


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