Monday, July 25, 2011

Musing Monday...Hoarders..The Book Edition

Let's check out this weeks Musing Monday question, as always from the desk of MizB at Should Be Reading ...

This week’s musing asks…
Do you need to have your owned books out where you can see them, or are you okay with them being stored away?

Yes...and yes.

I have way too many books. I admit it.
Logically, there is no reason to have all these books.

I own 1400+, about 1200 books that I have read, plus about 200 that I have not read.
According to Library Thing anyhoo, assuming about 100 were library books and not in the house or books that I gave away.

In my pre-blogging days I was able, somehow, to keep my books in check.
I have book shelves in my family room that are about 8-9 feet wide and 8 feet tall, plus another bookcase upstairs that is about 4 feet wide and 7 feet tall. And some how, this was adequate. I was buying books, but I guess I got rid of other as fast as the new ones came in. Maybe I was borrowing a greater percentage from the library. I am not sure, but somehow book storage was not an issue. That bookcase in the family room was full, but not overly so.
And I will admit that I loved looking at them. All neat and tidy, loosely group by subject. I have one shelf of Easton Press books, with lovely, lovely covers. I have part of a set of the Harvard Classics and part of a set of Dickens that was my grandfather.

But them something happened.
I started blogging. A whole new world of books was opened to me
I read reviews of so many books, many of which I bought.
I started requesting review copies and ARC, many of which I received.
And those shelves got no bigger.

Now I live in a small house, a little Cape Cod.
Sometimes I study my rooms, wondering where I could fit in some more book shelves.
Do I really need a couch?
How often do I actually use the dining room?
How much weigh can these 70 year old floors support?

Because I would love to see all the books I own. But I can not.
First, came some double shelving.
Then, the towers of books. A few next to the bookcase. On that ledge at the top of the stairs. Wow, that holds more than I thought! And the one next to my recliner. And don't forget the ones on that cabinet in the dining room.
But before my house started to book like something out of Hoarders, with tiny paths through the towering piles of books, I adopted the Rubbermaid storage boxes. Actually, they are Sterilite 20 gallon boxes with nice locking handles, available at WalMart.
One...then four. Two filled with read books that I should get rid of and two with unread books. Then I moved the boxes to the basement. Out of sight, out of mind. I wonder how many of those storage boxes I can move down there....
Am I OK with them being stored away? Not totally, but it is better than the alternative. They are there, even if I can not see them at the moment.

Yes, I know I need to get rid of several hundred of my dear books. And I do think about it..but it so hard to part with them. I am not sure why. If you share this..dare I say compulsion...maybe you have an idea why. I doubt I will ever reread most of them. I just WANT them.
It is a constant battle between my desire for them to be all tidy and neat {can we all spell OCD?}, my desire for them to be displayed where I can see them and my lack of desire to part with any of them. I can not have it all.
Unless I move to a bigger house...hmmmm...yes....

I read about a guy recently that told a friend that when he moved to France, he shipped 5 tons of books to his new residence!
Imagine what that cost.
Maybe if I moved to France I could part with some of my books.


  1. Hee hee... I liked this little spelling faux-pas... you wrote: {{But before my house started to book like something out of Hoarders...}}

    Did you mean "book like something"? :P

    And, I totally know what you mean about NEEDING to keep them... I'm the same way! Good point about the Rubbermaid totes being a way to still know they're there, even if we can't see them, though! I hadn't thought of it that way! ;)

    ~MizB (who may just be moving, in the near future, and might -- just might! -- be able to get a room for her books!) ;)

  2. PS... I have about 1200+ books in my collection, but my count is the opposite of yours -- I have 200 that I've read, and the other 1000 are TBR. :P LOL

  3. I don't have 1000 books, but the ones I have I like to display, especially if I haven't read them. Since I am not a re-reader, I have no problem donating them to the library. I figure if I ever decide to re-read them I know where they are. I have no plans on moving anywhere, I love my little Reading Corner to much.

  4. hmmmm...1200? Did I read 1200? Then maybe not OCD but more Book addict, which I have finally admitted to being. But then there could be far worse addictions. And you can also look at it this aren't as bad as 5 tons, so don't worry about it and enjoy all of your books lol.

  5. This question and the answers makes me think we need a new reality show "Book Horders and the books they love" ha! ha!

    It's so amazing we get so attached to our make believe worlds. I'm more a book pusher so I don't hold on to as many as I would otherwise. I'm that annoying friend who keeps saying "you've got to read this" ha! ha!

    Anywho, I think you need a bigger Cape Cod if you keep growing your library.

    here's my MM:

  6. New follower. I loved reading your post. I moved from Chicago to Alaska and gave away all my books because of the cost. Guess what? 3 years later I have more books than I had in Illinois. LOL
    I love Cat's idea for reality show.
    Here is my MM:

  7. Oh yes, I know all about the little book 'towers' :)

    New follower!

    Here's mine:

  8. You know, I've never actually counted my books (or even estimated). I know they're scattered all over the house, and even though I read two or three at a time, it'll take years to get through them all.

    Here's my MM:

  9. So you have two conflicting disorders and it is only your OCD compulsive neatness which keeps your book hoarding somewhat in check. Does this mean that if you were to be properly medicated for your OCD, your hoarding would no longer be repressed and your house could be the subject of an episode of that Hoarders TV show? You could be a celebrity!

  10. Actually Mickey, I think you hit it on the head! I have consider that very thing.

    To be on Hoarders would be my absolute worst nightmare..but I think I am ok.
    For now...
    And obviously not alone in this book issue.
    Or the plastic totes for that matter.

  11. I've gotten a little better about getting rid of my books, but I still have way too many! Mine are all upstairs in our office and bedroom and my husband jokes that the floors will cave in.

  12. I'm getting pretty good about getting rid of the ones we've read. We just take boxes of the ones I think people would like up north to dole out among the family/friends who are avid readers. The rest of them we donate to the library for their biannual sale. It's tough storing stuff in FL; the attic is too hot for anything and we don't have basements. I think the book hoarders would make a good show!

  13. Wow!! That be a lot of books!!

  14. I just visited this blog and had to come back and leave you the link.

  15. oh man. storage boxes are the next step for me- otherwise my trajectory is exactly the same. i swear before i blogged i did not have a TBR pile or I did, it was two books big. Now? *shakes head*


  17. I would be just like you ... except my husband put the kibosh on my "book fetish" (his words) and limited me to one bookshelf (but I managed to sneak in a few shelves here and there). It was painful but ultimately I learned to live with it. (Another plus of an e-reader. No one can make you get rid of the books.) But visiting my brother's house recently, I remembered what it USED to and COULD have been like .... the whole house (every room) is FILLED with beautiful books. Sigh.

    By the way, I'm just back from vacation and getting caught up with your blog but I'm only going to leave one comment in the interest of time management. Thanks for understanding.

  18. I use the Rubbermaid bins to store my books. Like you, I have way too many to display where I can see them.

  19. You know, it is possible to be both neat and organized as well as a hoarder. Just stack the containers in neat rows throughout the house and be sure to leave clear aisles to walk.

  20. I have a similar addiction :) Like you, I have now so many books that I started double shelving, and now making piles everywhere. My desk is full! But I love looking at them and I dream of having a room just for them.
    I know that, for me, keeping them has a lot to do with memory. I remember most of where or when I read my books, and they bring back memories of the reading experience as well as of the time of my life.


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