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Press & Media » Simlify 101

Organizing Books

Simlify 101 (Newspaper) - 5/24/2010 by Simplify 101
I mentioned earlier this month that I had five projects on my organizing to-do list, one of which was to go through our books so we could donate them to our school’s book drive. This project was unexpectedly rewarding for me. The original intent was to go through my kids' books so that they could create some space on their bookcases for new (old) books that we might find at the book sale. One child, the avid reader, had recently gone through her books, and didn’t have any more to contribute to the cause. She reads them and they’re organized, so I was okay with that.

The second child (who I would not classify as an avid reader) told me I could get rid of all of his books. I said, “Okay, go get them and put them in the book donation bag” (which was in the family room.) He thought I could do this for him; I insisted he do it himself.

And then—a funny thing happened. As he went through his books he discovered (get this) that he had some interesting books that he just might like to read. While this may sound like a step backward, since he wasn’t letting go of too many books for the sale, I was quite excited. He may pick up a book or two and do some reading this summer. (Woohoo!)

So then it was my turn. I had books in a few different places—my office, our family room, and our T.V. room in the basement. I decided to go through all of them and decide which ones to keep and which ones to donate to the sale. In the process, I reorganized my books a bit. Now all of the organizing books are in my office, along with business books and scrapbooking books (all the things I do in my office.) I have home decorating books, and gardening books upstairs in the family room, along with other reference books and some keepsake books—books I may or may not read again but have special meaning to me. This includes the book a former coworker gave me when I was on bed rest (for the boy who now isn’t my avid reader.) On the bookshelf in the basement are books I’d like to read—either for the first time or a second time.

One of the things that was rewarding to me about this project was discovering books in my collection that I haven’t yet read. Some were simply ahead of their time for me, like this one. I was so excited to reacquaint myself with these books, and I can't wait to do some reading!

Another option is to participate in a book swap. You could either set up a swap with friends, or you check out the website This (currently free) membership site allows you to swap books with other members. When you are ready to share a book, you list it as available for swapping. When another club member requests your book, the system will send you an email asking you to mail it out. You then print a wrapper using two regular pieces of paper and you can add pre-printed postage directly from the site. Then you can mail the book from your home mailbox. You have to pay the postage for outgoing books, but when the other member gets your book, you get credit for sending it. Each item you send gets you credit good to order for yourself. Each book is 1 credit. When you use the credit you earned, the item you order comes to you free of shipping costs. So you get each book for just the cost of the postage you spent to send out a book of your own. Pretty cool.

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