Saturday, January 14, 2012

Project Declutter 2012

I'm not really one for New Year's resolutions, aside from my annual page goals. I find that I set too many goals, get overwhelmed by them, and forget about them a few months later. Nothing really gets accomplished, so there's no point in me setting them.


This year, aside from my page goal, I do have a project in mind. I've declared it "Project Declutter 2012". I have a small two-bedroom apartment and a lot of stuff. Although I live with someone else, I will admit that most of this "stuff" is mine. I'm one of those "what if" people... you know the type. I'm always thinking But what if I need that... or, more commonly, but what if I want to read that again or loan it to a friend? As a result, my apartment is more cluttered than I would like for it to be. Matt and I also have a lot of items lying around that we really don't need or use frequently enough to warrant holding onto them.

So, I am working to get rid of some of our stuff, bit by bit. My first step? Books.

When Matt left college, he packed everything into boxes and moved out East. With everything, including boxes and boxes of college textbooks. Since April, I've been asking him what he plans to do with the textbooks. He told me just to donate them, because he doesn't want to spend the time or energy to sell them. I've always sold my used textbooks online the semester after I used them (except for the rare few I've decided to keep). I sell my books on, an ebay company. This way, I at least get back some of my investment. Let's face it: when we donate textbooks to Goodwill and other thrift shops, how often are they purchased and read? I feel it's a better idea to pass it on to someone who will use it, and get back some of your investment in the process.

Project Declutter 2012 started at the end of December (the end of the semester/quarter for most students) with me posting Matt's textbooks to The result? We have made hundreds of dollars. No joke. Since Matt didn't want to invest the time or effort to post the books for sale and make several trips to the post office per week, we agreed all sales from our textbooks go towards our wedding. Fair enough. So, after a month of wrapping textbooks and shipping them out, we have a solid savings for our wedding, just by getting rid of some of this "stuff". Totally worth it.

But, as I mentioned earlier, most of this "stuff" isn't Matt's. It's mine. I'm probably one of the worst book hoarders you'll ever meet. I'm always so hesitant to let go of books, so they just keep piling up. I have, to date, over 159 unread books in my possession--audiobooks, kindle books, and beautifully-bound print books. To put how high that number is into perspective, keep in mind that last year I only read 38 bound books. I did listen to about 14 audiobooks. So, with the assumption that I go through approximately 52 books a year, it will take me at least 3 years to go through all the books in my possession! Crazy, right? And, that's under the assumption that I wouldn't purchase any more books throughout those 3 years. Yeah, right!

Here's how I mentally defend keeping the books on my bookshelves:
  • This was a favorite book. I wouldn't rule out the idea that I won't read it again.
  • I started this book and couldn't get through it. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood. I'll pick it up again...someday.
  • I read this book and it was ok, but certainly not a favorite. Maybe I should hold onto it, though, in case I think someone else would really like it.
  • It's part of a series. I can't break the series apart. If I liked one book in the series, I must keep all the books in the series.
  • I paid full price for this book. Regardless of whether I liked it or not, I'm going to keep it.
  • A friend gave this book to me. Sentimental value. Awww....
That's how it starts. And to be honest, I've had some of these books on my shelf for 5 years for these reasons. The worst one is the "I started this book and couldn't get through it....". I have tons of books on my shelf that I think deserve a second chance. Whenever I've granted them a second chance, not one of them has been worthy of it. I need to move on. My fifth grade teacher always told us not to give up on a book before the third chapter. What I need to learn is that it's ok to give up on a book if you've read the first three chapters and didn't like them.

Ok, are you all ready to see something embarrassing? No judgements, ok? Here it is...

 This is what I call my "book nook". It's my little book corner nestled between my reading loveseat and my desk in our second bedroom. I have 7.5 shelves stuffed with books! As you can see, I've got a box of additional unread books sitting on the floor in front of my shelves. This is terrible! I also have pockets of books scattered around the apartment (like the stack of eight books for review that sit on my desk).

I have a problem.

So, this is where Project Declutter 2012 comes in: PaperBackSwap. This site allows you to pass your books on to other book addicts. The way the site works is like this: you post books on your shelves you would like to pass along to other members of the site. A member requests a book from you. You pay postage and pass it along. You can also request books from other readers. For each book you pass along, you receive one credit. Each book requested from another reader costs you one credit. So, it's like a Pay it Forward idea--you pay postage to pass along your book, and can request books free from other members after you do.

Now, because I'm sure some of you have figured out the issue: for every one book I get off of my shelves, I put another back on. You clever readers, you. You're right. Here's how I plan to start decluttering: audiobooks. I listen to so many audiobooks that I subscribe to I can order audiobooks on PaperBackSwap for two credits. This way, I can get rid of my Audible account (saving me $14.95 each month), pass along my lovely books to readers who will appreciate them, and start slowly making room for books I really do want to keep on my shelves.

So far, I would declare Project Declutter 2012 a success. I'm hoping to continue to remove my clutter and pass it on to those who want/need these items. I hope you all are inspired to start decluttering your place, too!

1 comment:

  1. Good luck! I really should do this too, as my bookcases are overflowing and I have stacks everywhere. *sigh*

    Will check out paperback swap, as I can't bear the thought of throwing books away and my library is incredibly picky about the titles they accept.

    Here's to a successful Project Declutter!


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