Thursday, February 20, 2014

Step 2: Minimalism Living - Books

In a previous post, {Here} on having too much paper clutter, I talked about how we limit paper clutter in our home. Since this post, we have greatly limited the number of magazines, etc. that enter our home. Hubby has also graciously decluttered the file cabinet in the office in preparation for taxes.

To keep our home's paper clutter to a minimum, I am trying to read magazines as they come in and then recycle them. We are also doing better with tossing junk mail before it comes into the house.

Another source of paper in our home comes in the form of books. We have the following:

1. Textbooks/Resource books- These include all of hubby's books he uses on the job for reference and all of the books I have for design reference. I also have a lot of art resource books for tips on painting techniques and murals and calligraphy.

KEPT the ones I still use on a regular basis and determined if the others were useful or the information could be found on the internet.

2. Yearbooks: Mainly from college, but some from high school as well (total of 8)

    KEPT all

3. Reference books: dictionary, thesaurus, Bible concordance


4. Chapter books: We have a lot of books we have read and still do reference from time to time. These include biographies (hubby likes to read them), books on marriage and family (we have two copies of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus- one in English, one in Chinese- great book if you've never read it), self help books (I won't ever get rid of my 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book which I do reference from time to time).

   Donated most of these and kept the ones worth rereading at some point or ones we reference.

5. Kid's Books: These are books I kept from my classroom when I quit teaching. They include a lot of the classical books for younger kids, series such as The Magic Tree House books and non-fiction books (I love the Kingfisher Voyages {Kingfisher Voyages}books, the INSiders books {INSiders Books} and the DK Eyewitness books {DK Eyewitness books}). Declan's current toddler books are kept in his room and his playroom, but they will all be in the playroom after we get the shelving built for that room. Thanks honey!! Declan LOVES books so we keep enough for him and he already has his favorites.

   KEPT most of the non-fiction books for Declan so he could use them when he is in school. Sold    some of the series such as Junie B. Jones.

6. Teaching Workbooks/Lesson Books: When I quit teaching, I never knew if I may go back to teaching so I kept nearly everything I had purchased for my classroom. This included a lot of File Folder games that I had created, posters, and books. I have since gone through these and sold a good bit. Since I still don't know if I will return to teaching, there is still a chance, I did keep some of them for future use.

   KEPT the ones I felt I could actually use and ones that had lessons and not just worksheets.  
   SOLD the games and books that were mostly worksheets or practice books as well as a lot of the file folder games. I just don't the space for all of it.

All of these together add up fast. We had books in every room of the house and then some were even stored in bins in the attic. What good were they doing anyone up there? So, I began the book purge with Gary's help.

My first step was to type up a list of books to sell. I did this and managed to earn a little cash which was great. The next step was to go through all of the books at one time and make a donation pile for the library. Our small pile quickly grew to 3 boxes full!! The rest of the books are stored on our IKEA cube shelf in our office. I know I will be able to get rid of more later, but my goal was to only have books in one room, on one shelf. The books here now include design and computer reference books, books for Declan (2 cubbies), dictionaries and yearbooks. Also on this cubby shelf are the paper shredder and a scanner (on top).

We also managed to empty one shelf in the office of books altogether!! It was amazing that we also had books from other people. I think I probably returned over 10 books that had been loaned to us - a biography for Gary, infant and toddler reference books from friends, etc.

It felt great to get rid of so much at once so I think the next thing I tackle will also be something we have a lot of. That way, we will feel successful from the start.

As you can see from the photos, many of the cubbies are empty or half full. The ones on the bottom hold craft items and items I need to file so they will soon be empty. The top two shelves of the bookshelf on the bottom picture have items that are knick knacks or travel souvenirs which I still need to go through. The magazines have been recycled once and will be recycled again once I have a chance to flip through them to gather ideas for clients.

So, there you have it. Step 2 of Minimalist living. If we ever do move, this would've caused a lot of backaches to load all of these books - they are heavy!! And, when the shelves are empty, the rest of the office will be more organized because there won't be things sitting on the floor.

This post is overdue, but the next step-  Step 3 is the post on our closet.

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