It’s O.K. Not to Throw Away

stack-of-booksWhat!? In case you’re wondering if I have changed my ways on how to deal with clutter, I have not. My company’s approach to getting organized has never been to focus on tossing, but rather to focus on keeping. Really! We focus on how much you are keeping, where you are keeping, and, most importantly, why you are keeping.

When you ask WHY you keep something, you take the divide-and-conquer approach to your clutter. We ask this question, not to get you to toss an item (necessarily), but because you can keep the same item for several different reasons. It’s OK not to throw away as long as you can answer WHY you want to keep something.

Let’s look at books, for example. If your bookshelves can no longer contain your books, then you are left with just two options: buy a new bookshelf or get rid of some books. If you don’t have the space, the budget, or the desire for a new bookshelf, here’s how to declutter your books just by asking, WHY am I keeping it?

Answer: To Read

If you have books that you want to make a point of reading, locate them closest to where you read, maybe your coffee table or nightstand. The fewer you have, the more likely you are to read them. If you’ve got a whole bookcase full of books to make a point of reading, stop buying books for a while.

Answer: For Reference

Your most useful reference deserves an eye level spot on your bookshelf. This rarely includes outdated computer books.

Answer: It’s a Collectible

If you are keeping a book for its value, then it’s all about condition. Keep them well and out of the light.

Answer: It’s a Keepsake

It’s OK to keep a book purely for sentimental reasons, but if you have no intention of looking at it regularly, keep it more remotely and, again, if it’s special enough to keep, keep it well. Free up space on your bookshelf for books you access more regularly.

Answer: It’s Décor

About the only place to unload Encyclopedias these days are theater companies that use them as props. Sometimes we realize that the only reason to keep some books is that they make a statement about who we are. That IS a reason for keeping, but ask yourself how much of your prime bookshelf real estate is devoted to that. Can you afford to give up that much space in your home just for appearances?

Answer: Lost value

Sometimes, of course, we ask ourselves WHY we should keep a book and we run out of answers. THAT is the time to let it go. Of course, if you’ve got a lot of unwanted books, that takes some doing.

Fortunately I have been introduced to a wonderful local resource that can help with unloading unwanted books. Last week I was approached by David Greif of Griffin Books in Stamford. David is a book dealer, who will pay you for books that are sellable and take away the rest that are donate-able or recyclable. He can be reached at 203.353.9193.  I’m thrilled that his services exist and just wanted to share. So if you’ve got a pile of unwanted books gathering dust, give David a call and book ‘im!