Cataloging to Declutter

A friend of mine recently hired a professional to help her declutter her house, and I read his professional blog. In one entry, he had a woman go through a seemingly neat and orderly bookcase, next to her messy overstuffed closet. The logic being, did she actually need all the books that she had on the shelf?

Given that I probably have more than 1500 books, I decided to take the same approach. First, I went through every bookcase and box of books I have and I immediately culled the books I know I would never read or did not want anymore.

There is a good likelihood I will never, ever read all the books I Have, even if I had independent wealth and nothing to do but read.

After the initial culling,  I decided to turn go through all the books again, this time using LibraryThing.com to actually catalog the books.

I first learned of it in 2007, probably at an convention of the Special Libraries Association. I cataloged about 200 or so books. It only costs $25 for a lifetime membership–so you can go beyond the limit of 250 books.

In about two days, I wound up cataloging 1000 more books.  Using ISBNs or LC numbers, it was quite easy. It not only let me create subcollections (which I did by bookcase), but it also helped me realize I had doubles of certain titles, and also, it helped me put more like titles or themes together on the shelves.

It also helped me get a bit tougher on myself and get rid of more books.

It might seem odd, a librarian getting RID of books, but librarians do weed out collections all the time. And as a librarian myself, I have an idea of what I am likely to read, and what I can probably find at a public library if I really do want to read the book later on.

If I live that long!

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