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booksBooks! We try to figure out whodunit in mysteries, love being surprised by unexpected plot twists and turns in suspense novels, read about the lives of celebrities, students learn great American classics.

They lift our spirits, make us laugh or cry, suspend reality, teach us stuff, and provide a healthy way to relax while engaging our brain. They are tactile, unlike e-readers. Old ones have a distinctive smell some readers enjoy.

Do you keep them after reading them? Do you remember them – for a day, a month, two decades? Reread them? Keep outdated texts? Hold onto outdated texts?

Why is it so hard to let go of books?

Here’s the conundrum. People keep them even if they:

  • Remember/don’t remember them
  • Think they’ll read them someday (read: decades)
  • Desperately need the space occupied by their books
  • Bought them because they were on sale
  • Are no longer interested due to changing tastes

The vast majority of my organizing clients have a really hard time letting go of books. Over the years, I’ve discovered it’s easier if they’re donated someplace meaningful to them, like their church drive.

Needy places to donate—and do good at the same time

  • Better World Books sells them to fund literacy programs
  • Operation Paperback sends books to soldiers overseas, and U.S. military families and veterans.
  • Prison Book Program sends paperbacks to inmates
  • Books for Africa go to kids and adults in all 54 countries in Africa
  • Little Free Library is the largest grassroots book sharing network worldwide
  • Local thrift shops, houses of worship, library (to sell for fundraising), charities such as Goodwill and Salvation Army

I admit I have plenty of books but rarely make time to read them. That’s because I need to read the whole thing in one day. My memory isn’t what it used to be and I forget what I’ve read!  That’s OK. I enjoy it at the time.

While it’s fresh in your mind, this would be a good opportunity to review your collection. Keep the ones you enjoy (and plan to read), donate the rest, and learn ways to organize the keepers.

I just motivated myself to donate a bunch of my books. How about you?

Adriane Weinberg

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