Throughout my child hood, I received books as gifts for birthdays and other holidays. I grew up in a time and place where there was no television. I was 17 when I first watched television and that was after I had left Sri Lanka! We would go to see movies at a cinema theater, but that was not an every day event. As a result, reading was a main pastime. I had a collection of my own books, I would borrow books from my cousins and friends, and I would borrow books from various libraries, including the British Council's and the United States Information Services'. When I left Sri Lanka, however, I gave away all my books.
I had access to the university's library when I arrived in the United States, which was good because I didn't have money to buy books, other than text books. Once I had some spare money, however, I began to buy books. I used to belong to several mail order "book of the month" clubs: cook book of the month, craft book of the month, history book of the month, romance book of the month, etc. Plus, there were all the book shops, including one across the street from my office!
At first, my books were kept in boxes, which we covered with table cloths and used as occasional tables because we didn't have money for furniture! Later, I made book cases with some pieces of wood I found and cement blocks and bricks. This was back in the 70s when wood and cement block (or brick) shelving units were quite common, especially in student housing. Eventually, my mother acquired a small bookcase which someone was giving away.
Later, in the early 1980s, I bought bookcases. A set of three for $19.99, each, that came in a flat package which I assembled - I still have two of them! Considering that they are chipboard furniture, that's not too bad! One of them is in the dining area:
|Bookcase in the Dining Area|
|Table Linen in the cupboard|
I display some of my blue and white china collection on some of the shelves, my cookbook collection on one shelf, and table linen, kitchen towels, ect. in the cupboard part behind the doors.
The other one, which has all shelves and no doors, is in the garage. I am thinking of bringing it back in to use in the spare room, but, I need to check it for damage to the bottom (which is why I put it to use as storage in the garage).
Later, still in the early 1980s, when I worked in an office space design/office furniture company, I bought two more bookcases, with my employee discount (cost + 10%, deducted weekly from my pay check). I have those two with me, as well.
This one is in the living room:
|Living Room Bookcase|
Two shelves for display space and three shelves of books. Mostly history-related books, with one or two classics.
The other, matching bookcase is in the family room:
|Family Room Bookcase|
In addition to these bookcases, there are three shorter ones, including the one in the spare room, two wall mounted shelves in my bedroom (for my collection of paperback romance novels!), plus two tall bookcases in my daughter's room, with her books.
According to one of my friends (L), it is not a bookcase unless each shelf is crammed full of books, with paperbacks set two rows to a shelf, and there are books lying horizontally on top of other books! LOL! That is exactly how these bookcases looked, several years ago! I had about 9 linear feet of cookbooks, alone! Also, according to her, there's no such thing as having too many books. I am rather inclined to agree with her, but, I began to feel that I had an over abundance of books.
I have stopped buying books. Instead, I have been borrowing from the library system, which consists of 72 branch libraries (the City of L. A. is very spread out). If your local branch doesn't have a particular book but, it is in the system, you can request it and it will be sent to the local branch, or any other branch you specify (sometimes, when I was working, I used to request it be sent to the branch near my office, as it was convenient to pick it up during my lunch break). In addition, I am a member of the public library system in the adjoining city, too (they have four branches); membership there is free, even if I am not a resident of the city, because I am a member of my city's public library system.
I have been going through and decluttering a few books at a time, over the past several years. My books no longer overflow the shelf space I have for them. But, I still have about 350 books (give or take a couple, and that doesn't include my daughter's books!). I am looking at how many I have and am wondering why I am keeping so many. Just how many gardening/landscaping books does one need? How many knitting books? How many cookbooks? Especially, these days, when there is so much online? How much is too much?
Which is why, in June, I want to challenge myself to declutter 30 books. One book a day. My friend L suggests decluttering one book for every 10 books I have, but, I don't think I can just go across the shelves and pull out every 10th book and put aside to donate! It might be easier to do so, but, that is too random for me! I have read most of the books on my shelves, but there are a few that I haven't read or finished reading, yet. There are a few that I would like to re-read before I give them away, and that is OK, too. But, the goal for June is 30 books to be decluttered.
Anyone else wants to join the 30 books decluttering challenge? You can declutter more than 30 books, if you like, of course, but, for me, for now, 30 is a good number to start with.