Small house + a million books = big trouble

Some people come to relationships with pets and furniture.

We came with books.

We have so many books. When we fantasize about our dream house, the most important room is always the library, with great comfy chaises and armchairs and those cool rolly ladders and roaming massage therapists who knead away our cares. Reality is instead one bedroom-turned-office, where John works surrounded by great hulking IKEA bookcases in space-saving but truly bizarre configurations. I work in the living room, which affords me the most comfortable chair in the world (the couch) and easy access to a variety of scented candles—but zero privacy.

This arrangement is making us both a little batty. But to change it, we have to eliminate some bookshelves. We have to do something else with our books.

What do other people do? Do you put your books in storage? Do you just stack them in every available space? Or can you actually bear to get rid of them? Desperate book junkies need to know!

3 thoughts on “Small house + a million books = big trouble

  1. Fellow junkies,

    The “trick”, if there is any, might be to go through the painful selection of books you “don’t need right away” (and actually haven’t looked at in years) and put them away in boxes (in the lack of storage space, you may have to shove them under the bed or something). With time you could even be able to “give” those boxes away. That’s at least what I keep telling myself. Though so far I’ve only managed two courses of action: 1) immediately get rid of books I’ve purchased/received but disliked; 2) just stack all the others all over the place (and avoid inviting people over!).

    Remember: it might be an illness, but at least you’re not hurting anyone…

    Good luck and congratulations for the nice informative website!

  2. One option is to loan out quite a few of your books. Some you will get back quickly, some later and some not at all.

    I also keep them under the bed and all around the dresser. And the unlucky ones go out into storage.

  3. Thanks, guys, for the tips. I think we’ll be able to get rid of some books once we’re convinced that no curious reviewer is going to ask us to rehash the plot of, say, Johnny Angel (a truly shudder-worthy Danielle Steel offering). But that will only make the tiniest dent. Now we’re talking about mounting some high shelves in a few of the rooms, which may work fine until the next earthquake comes and we end up crushed. (Probably by Johnny Angel and other books we hated.)

    Storage makes sense. So does loaning, though I think I’d only be able to lend books I didn’t like, because whenever I loan books they come back thrashed, and I’m one of those weird people who can’t bend a book or write in it or like look at it the wrong way.

    Ah, it’s so nice to know there are people out there who share my disorders.

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