Leaving the Book Clutter Behind

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

On another thread, I mentioned getting rid of my book clutter. Being an English major and writer, I guess it's no surprise that I love books. Years ago, I had 1000's of books in my house--lots of bookshelves in every room to store my massive collection. Everything was nice and neat and most books were alphabetized, like a little library. I kept every book I ever read. CRAZY!!! I seldom read a book twice unless it's REALLY good. So why I thought I had to keep them all, I don't know.

When I got really sick several years ago, I decided I didn't want to leave my family this burden of getting rid of things that were probably only important to me. So I began culling out my books. I sold a few and carried 100's to the public library. Over time, I whittled my collection down to just a few I hadn't yet read and a handful that I had read but would read over and over again.

Last year I discovered a new author (new to me but she's been around for decades) and bought about 150 of her books here and there. Recently I feared I might be falling into the same old habit. Everyone I know has been talking about their Kindles; they love them, can't live without them, oh you should really think about getting one...blah blah blah. You know how the new gadgets are, everybody's gotta have one. Well, I didn't see what was so great about them...until I scored a new Kindle Fire for $125 recently. It's taken me a month to figure out how to use it, and boy, am I hooked. They really are awesome!! OMG, I'm thrilled!!

I've found places to download free Kindle books, and I found a seller who has LOTS of ebooks on disc really cheap--way cheaper than I could buy the used books. Most of the books I bought last year by this one author are on my Kindle now. So I'm getting rid of about 100 of these physical books. Y'all, I can carry around about 200 or more books, all in my purse, on this little Kindle. I can read anywhere--on an airplane, in my hammock, on my bed, in my car. It took me a little while to quit trying to turn a page the old fashioned way. LOL I've read 3 books on my kindle this week, and I'm hooked!! No more bookshelves, no more book clutter, no more book dusting. Ahhhhh, simplicity!!!

I'm also giving up physical CDs. I have a stereo system that will play music from an SD card and my MP3 player uses the SD Card. A few years ago, my son transferred the songs I wanted from my CDs to my computer. I have a few more to transfer myself, and from now on, I'll just buy individual songs online. My public library lets me download 3 songs a week for free too. I can save everything to SD cards and my computer and not have shelves of CDs either.

I'm sure there's some way to save my movie collection to the computer too, but I don't know how yet. I only have about 30 DVDs, so that's not bad, but I'd love to clear those out. They're favorites that I do watch frequently, so I've got to figure out how to save them to the computer.

Technology is wonderful!! If you haven't figured out how to save your stuff to your computer yet, you should! Books, CDs and DVDs take up too much space and require too much effort. And they're all easily destroyed. CDs and DVDs scratch easily and my dog likes to chew on my books if I leave them on my nightstand. On the computer, they're safe and easily accessible. I can save them to an external hard drive as well as SD card too and they take up almost no space. I can also save these things to my Kindle, so I can read, listen to music or watch movies anywhere. Oh gosh, I get so excited just thinking about it! I think I gotta go read my Kindle now...! :-)


Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

Good Idea Nancy Ann.

I have hundreds of CD's. I have many on my computer. I have also started buying one song at a time.

My daughter has some contraction like a Kindle but it will also read the book to you. So while she is driving around, she listens to her books. She gets a lot of her books from the library. She still has 3 male children at home. One in grade school, one in middle school, one in high school and two girls in college. So while she is waiting around with their activities she can read or listen to her books.

I have an I PAD. I need to figure out how to get on our local library's website. On my list but way down on the list.

All is well here and our weather is still in the high 70s. Busy time of yer because now is when we plant our spring flowers.

Be safe and hugs. Sharon

Crozet, VA

Hi, you two. Long time, no see Sharon. Glad to see that you haven't forgotten us. Anyway Nancy Ann, I am torn on the subject. I have been an avid reader in the past and some years back would do as yourself, and go through about three books a week. I hate to admit, but it is the truth that since moving to this house almost eight years ago, I rarely read anything other than what is in front of me on the computer. I spend sometimes several hours each morning reading on line and that leave little time and little inclination to do any further reading most days. I cannot recall a single book that I have completed in the eight years, and usually just scan magazines that come here.

I suppose if my responsibilities are ever at a point where every hour of my day isn't already spoken for, I may once again love to read just for enjoyment and will purchase one of the new fangled gadgets that will allow me to once again lose myself in a good story. I am really glad that you are loving your Kindle as much as you are. Happy Reading.


Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Sharon, my Kindle will read books to you too. Audible.com has audio books I can download and save to the Kindle. But I don't like being read to. I prefer to read myself. It's strange but I've always been that way. My exboyfriend is a truck driver and he listened to books on his kindle while driving. He loves it.

Ruby, I do most of my reading at night, after I've done all my chores and wore myself out. I actually haven't read much in the last few years, but I decided not to deprive myself anymore. I'm learning to slow down, simplify my life, and get back to the things I enjoy instead of racing around like a madwoman trying to get everything done for everyone. I've learned to say "no" to others so I can have some "me" time. Reading and painting are two things I do strictly for me and I haven't done either in so long. I've missed them. Painting I will get back to this winter. I found a friend in a city not far from here who also paints, so we may spend winter at each other's homes painting.

I actually didn't intend to read three books this week. I had thought to read a chapter or two a night, but the books I chose were wonderful and I couldn't put them down. I was up til 2 a.m. a few nights to finish them. LOL

Crozet, VA

Yep, sounds as though we are the same type of reader and often have trouble putting the books down when they are as good as some I have read in the past. I will give thought to what you say about calming myself down and bit and just "being" rather than "doing." I think my body is trying to send those messages to me now in fact.....have felt generally all around lousy for some time now but suffer with the guilts about not being productive. Am certainly better than I used to be, but still struggle emotionally. No doubt I need to work on it.....I am sure I would be a much more pleasant person to be around if I were feeling better.

Hope that everyone remembers to vote today.


Eagle Point, OR(Zone 8a)

Great thread, Butterfly.
Sharon, I like the idea of a device that will read the story to you, as long as it does not sound like a robot.

Unfortunately, I watched a news story about a man who is trying to save one copy of every book catalogued by the Library of Congress. He has a warehouse in Oakland, Calif. I think. I go near there everytime I visit my family, so now I am fantasizing about hauling all my books down there to donate to this Noble Cause. I am trying to talk myself out of it. How much will the gas cost to haul 800lbs of books 400 miles?
Must back away from this.......

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

Thank you for posting about your experiences with the Kindle. It's worth so much more to me than reading advertising or even ratings following a product listing. Im older and always playing catch-up with technology so your post really helped me get an idea how this would fit into my life. I think I have some fears about losing my downloaded and stored stuff due to technology malfunctioning or power outages or viruses or such. I probably need a better understanding. Im like Charlie Brown. "Security is holding the tickets in your hand." Also I still find looking for a particular chart or paragraph or something in a book or article easier to do with a paper document. I have, however, really got use to reading on my laptop. I read the newspaper that way now and various newsletters so I'm going in the right direction, technologically. Thanks, again.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Huck, each time you go there, just take a few books with you, maybe 100 lbs of books. That's about the equivalent of a child or large dog. In 8 trips, you'll have them all done.

Steadycam3, I love technology but I often resist the things I'm unfamiliar with. I didn't think I could get used to a Kindle. Why would I want to read on something so little??? Well, after I bought on, I quickly found out why. It fits in my purse and is lightweight so I can carry it everywhere! The battery lasts for about 14 hrs I think before I need to charge it. So I'm always ready to read anytime, anywhere. I thought the screen would be too small, but it's not. The great thing is, I can enlarge the print as big as I need to. I don't have to buy large-print, oversized, heavy books. And I've gotten so many free books that the kindle has already paid for itself.

The kindle also has "The Cloud" where you can store pics, docs, books, music, any files OFF the Kindle, out in space somewhere, and can retrieve them anytime you can connect to the internet. So that way, you don't have to keep it all on the memory of the Kindle, which is only 8 GB I think. I haven't used the Cloud yet, but I like the idea. The Kindle Fire is really like a mini-computer, a mini laptop without the physical keyboard (has an on-screen touch keyboard). Mine is always with me now. What's great is when I want to show pics of my son and grandson. Instead of whipping out a photo album, I just turn on the Kindle and select the pictures I want to show. But you may not want to get me started. I consider my dogs to be my kids too and I have a million pics of them! LOL

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, BC. I appreciate the support. It's hard to teach this old dog new tricks but once I get it, Im a pretty good ole dog.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I never thought I'd have a Kindle. And I wouldn't have any before the Kindle Fire. I believe it's the only one with internet. That's a big bonus for me. I can check my private email at work. Shhhhhh, don't tell the boss; she might fire me! Oh, wait, I don't think they fire volunteers. :-)

thanks for sharing your experiences.... i am also very afraid of machine malfunctioning.

storage beds

San Luis Obispo, CA(Zone 9a)

I, too, love books. My library was extensive, but when I moved across country to care for my mother, I had to make some decisions. Eventually, it occurred to me that I could always replace the fiction but my reference books were not only expensive, they would be much harder to find again. So I sold or gave away all the fiction except for maybe 20 titles (or editions) that had personal significance and those I hadn't read. Then I went through the reference books on gardening, quilting etc. and jettisoned what truthfully no longer interested me.
My daughter gave me an iPad, but I haven't put any books on it--still haven't finished reading the ones I have! So it turns out that I still have plenty of books so my house doesn't look bare.

Crozet, VA

Welcome Phoolan, and thanks for writing. The way you handled the decision of what to get rid of and what to keep is an excellent idea. Good thinking on your part......I too like the feeling that a shelve of books gives a room.....I too will most likely be a person who will have books, even if I do reading on todays technology, just because I love books in general.

Any ideas on other things that we collectors sometimes find we have too many of and may need downsizing on? What other sorts of things did you have to make decisions on getting rid of when you made your move? I am not planning to move any time soon, or ever even, but do know that I desperately need to still, even after two major de-clutters work on downsizing the amount of things I have collected over the years.....always love hearing others ideas on how to decide what stays and what goes.

Again, thanks for writing and I hope some others will chime in soon.....where are you Nancy Ann?


Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I am working on another declutter myself, Ruby. And I'm still doing dog rescue--I have a houseful...or a yardful, depending on the weather. Still working in Medicine Assistance too. And I want to garden sooooo badly!!

I'm still loving my kindle! OMG I LOVE IT. I go have lunch frequently with another friend who does animal rescue and she is always late...sometimes an hour or so late. With my kindle, I can sit at the table and wait for her while reading a book. The other day, I finished one book and had another one cued up and started it. So I wasn't bored while I waited for her. With Bookbub, I get free books to read; most are by authors I've never heard of, but they've been wonderful! I'm still drawn to physical books at flea markets, but I resist the urge to buy them. I have about 200 e-books so far, right at my fingertips, so I just don't need many physical books. I think I have about 30 or so books on a shelf--mostly reference books for one hobby or another.

An Ipad is great! I've been wanting one, but I have a netbook, which is almost the same. Phoolan, you should sign up with bookbub.com and start getting some free ebooks for your ipad. Then anywhere you go, you can just pull it out of your purse and start reading. Books are too easy to leave at home if you think you're not going to be gone long. But then you may end up in a traffic jam somewhere; with your ipad, you can just pull it out and entertain yourself until traffic moves again. You'll love it once you start reading on your ipad. You can even adjust the print to make it bigger if you have old eyes like mine. :-)

Newark, DE

Hi all,

I used to sell the books I had read on ebay and always did well. Every spring after culling all I had read and posting them there I would make at least $250 each time I listed and sold them. However, with the increase in the ereaders be it a Kindle, tablet or even a smart phone all of which can get the Kindle software more and more people are using those instead of real books. Each have positive and negative and to each his own. I am usually reading 2-3 books at the same time and one stays in my truck for just such things - getting stuck places and having time on my hands. I have one beside my chair where I watch TV because I read at the same time. TV is not hard to follow the way the programs are written these days. Usually you know who did what in the first 5-10 minutes.

Anyway, real books are not selling as well as they once did because of ereaders, but slowly they are coming back in to many who have had problems with their ereaders, losing their libraries in the process because they weren't backed up. Amazon purchases are kept on a cloud and you can download your purchases again, but not all sites do that.

This past year instead of selling on ebay or Craig's List I found another avenue. A new store opened up called 2nd & Charles, which buys, sells and trades books. They offer cash outright or twice that amount in store credit. When they were first opening I received an coupon in the mail to double my trade in value. I loaded the books I had finished with and took them in. I could have had $35+ in cash or about $75 in store credit, but with my coupon I now have $150 in store credit. There are many small places that do this same thing even if you are not near a 2nd & Charles. I mentioned it to Ruby before and she found a small place not far from her. This may be a consideration for some of you looking to unload books you no longer want and still recoup some of your money. It's also an easy and free way to pick up books you want to read.

Something else I personally think is awesome and would have one myself if I lived in a neighborhood. It's called The Little Free Library. People make a little house with a couple shelves in it. It seals for the weather and it's marked "take a book, leave a book". People have them in the front yards, sometimes at their place of business, sometimes more than one. But it would be a wonderful way to trade books around and do something for your community too. Here is a website to them you can check out. They are cool just to look at all the ideas people have made.There is also a link to a map of where they are, all over the world.


Ruby.... as for ideas on how to downsize - that's a good question. I too would like to hear other's ideas. I have been working on the de-clutter thing myself as you know, but still have too much "stuff". I have learned a few things that have worked for me -

1. After I declutter a room, I move on to the next and so on, by the time I have done 3-4 rooms I realize I could go back and trim some more from the ones I have already "done". There is something intoxicating to seeing a clean space that makes you want to do more.

2. I always start with the easy stuff - the more I can get out of there in the fastest way possible is encouraging for me to keep going and tackle the rest. It doesn't seem as daunting that way.

3. When I get down to something I am not sure of I ask myself questions. Do I use this or will I use this? If so, I keep it. If not, then I ask why am I keeping it? If it is because it's worth money or I paid a lot for it, then it is something to perhaps be sold. If it is because it is sentimental, then why is it sentimental? If "so-n-so" gave it to me, do I have anything else that "so-n-so" gave me I like better and use? If so - do I need everything that "so-n-so" gave me? Why not stick with one special thing and get rid of the rest? Then too, there is the question - do I need to have this thing or that thing to remember that person? No. Their love and memories will always exist in my heart and mind. They are not held in some "thing", they are of the heart. Admittedly these are the hardest things I have found to part with - things of value or that I paid a lot for (mostly because we were poor growing up) and things that belonged to those no longer here. But as time passes and more of the house become de-cluttered and cleaned I see things a little differently and am letting go of more and more. My ultimate goal is to have some "me time" one of these days. Why have a house that needs so much of my time and take away what I might get when I am not needed elsewhere?

I hope to be moving in a couple years so I am trying to lighten my load of crap now. I do not intend to move all this stuff to another place. I want the new place, clean, uncluttered and easy to keep that way. I also do not want stressed about it all when it is time to move. So I am doing what I can now. Ruby, you know what all I have to do with others and how limited my time can be, but I still try to do what I can. I at least get something done each day beyond the normal daily stuff. It might be only one or two things I get rid of in some way that day - but it is something. And if someone keeps chipping away at a mountain it will be just a hill eventually. Any ideas about getting rid of the "stuff" we accumulate is welcome - so come on girls add your ideas. let's help each other.


Crozet, VA

Hi there Butterfly and Debbie.....thanks for chiming in. Debbie, Butterfly Chaser was my go to person a couple of years ago when first tackling my clutter. She had been very successful with her own stuff and had lots of good ideas that I incorporated in to my system at the time. As you mentioned, there is some feeling of lightness and airiness that comes with lessening the load. It was very obvious here when I did it. Again, as you mentioned, it is time again to dig deeper in to things I wasn't able to part with two years ago, and today after much reading and yakking on the subject, am ready to dig deeper.

Butterfly......a local friend called me last Saturday and said that a space at an antiques mall had come open and she had the chance to get it. We have discussed in the past going in to something together when a space became available. I am super excited this week to have a place for some of my better and more valuable things to go. I plan to get up off my behind here in a few and drive to the shop and put out my first batch of items.....really so much fun. Buying and selling was something I did about ten or twelve years ago, so I already have a good inventory. Let's hope another ten years of age will increase the value on some of the things I hope to sell. hahaha Who knows?

As for reading.......only reading I do currently in on line.....I don't yet own any of smaller gizmo's that make Internet access and the like available. Until now I haven't had a need for such, but that may change is the space in the mall take off well. I plan to do as I once did and attend some near by auctions each week. I used to really get some cool things for a little bit of nothing then. Haven't been for some years now, but still have a fondness for the activity.

Gonna close by wishing those reading a very pleasant weekend. You gals are tops.


Newark, DE

Butterfly - I don't know about where you live but here, at our county libraries, they lend out books on Kindle (and other ereader apps) too. You just download them from wherever you are and never need to go in too. It works though an app called Overdrive and it's tied into Amazon. Of course, you use your library card, you can "check it out" for 7 - 14 - or 21 days. When you're done you just click on "return this book". However, if you don't return it, there are never any late fees, it simply just won't be accessible beyond the date you said. Anyway, they are free of course and they have both new and older titles available. They work on all ereaders, tablets, whatever. You might want to try that too for an enourmous source of free books.

Also just a FYI - I found a great website for book info a few years ago. I use it a lot, particularly if there are books from an author I like that are in a series, because it groups those works together and puts them in order for you. Here's the link in case you're interested -




Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Lovetopaint, I love your suggestions! The little library sounds like a wonderful idea! I'd never heard of it until now.

I used to get a bunch of magazine subscriptions. When sitting at a doc's office or some place, I'd read them and leave them behind for other patients. They really don't have good, entertaining mags or uptodate mags in the doc's office, so I felt like the next patients might appreciate Oprah, Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Gate, etc.

I will probably not return to carrying physical books anymore. I REALLY love having them on my Kindle. I even have my Amazon books on my computer so I can access them even if I can't get online. And I backup all my other books onto an SD card. I can plug my Kindle into my computer and retrieve any books I need anytime.

I still have a box of Nora Roberts books that I need to sell somewhere. On Ebay, they'd probably only bring $1 and I'm not really thrilled about packing up books for $1. If I don't find a place to sell them soon, I may donate them to a retirement center. I have all those books on my Kindle too and can carry them anywhere I go.

I'm really surprised that I'm so pleased with the Kindle. I've always been a book person since I first learned to read. I just eat up books! I thought the adjustment from book to Kindle would be difficult, but it really wasn't. After I read my first Kindle book, I knew I wouldn't be buying physical books again.

I don't like borrowing the library books. It annoys me that I have to return them. I know that's silly. Logically it doesn't make sense. But I like to savor my books. If it's a good book, I may take a month to read it, savoring each chapter a while before moving onto the next one. Sometimes I hate for the book to end so I prolong finishing it. Great books I'll save and read over and over.

I really like being able to give up things I've collected for so long--books, nicnacs, etc. When I look around and see space, I feel relieved. So much less to dust and clean. I rarely bring anything home anymore that doesn't fit the decor or style of my house. And I look for things that is multipurposeful. For example, my "end tables" in the living room are actually nightstands--made for the bedroom. I have the table surface and the drawers to store remote controls, batteries, candles and such. I'm trying to make the most of my space without cluttering up my house again.

I do regularly go thru rooms, closets, and drawers to declutter. Recently a friend's house burned and she lost everything. She's coming over tonight to get a couple of big boxes of things I've gathered up for her. I didn't think I'd have much to give her, but I just kept going thru the cabinets, closets, and rooms. Looking at the stuff I'm sending home with her, I can honestly say I won't miss any of it. Some of it, I even wonder why I kept anyway. Not that any of it is bad stuff; it's all useable; but it's excessive stuff for me. For her, it will all be used.

Crozet, VA

Debbie has a lot of great ideas....she is the go to person it seems with any dilemma because her brains seems to love solving problems. This is all just a sense I get from reading her posts. Keep up the great work Debbie....you have really given me some great ideas about different things over the past few months.

Here is one for the two of you......last week on several occasions I had a company calling me asking me to provide them with my credit card number in order to stop a five year long subscription to a magazine company I evidently signed up for somewhere along the line. I know that recently I have been receiving at least two magazines that I didn't order. Yesterday in the mail there were two more new titles. I don't know what is going on. The company was asking for my credit card number in order to stop a five years subscription to these magazines.....I refused to give them my card number. They haven't called for a few days now.....what would you two ladies do in this position? I plan to try contacting someone soon to see what the heck is going on....I am not sure where to start though...any ideas? I don't want the excess paper clutter coming in to the house and I certainly don't want extra credit card charges on my account......thanks for any ideas.


Newark, DE

Hi Ruby thank you for the compliments. You are a sweetheart. ^_^

As for the magazines -

1. NEVER give your credit card info to anyone over the phone unless it is an order YOU inititiated and made the call. (like ordering something)

2. Anything you receive in the mail and you did not order, you are not legally bound to pay for it, regardless of it's value. Not my opinion - that is the law.

3. If you somehow did order some magazines, then make them prove it to you - have them provide you with your order form or other documentation of your order. If they cannot provide it, it never happened.

4. Another point to consider is; why would anyone need credit card info to STOP a subscription? Simple answer is; they wouldn't. Even if you inadvertently ordered some magazines, then all you have to do is say I don't want them and do not send them. That stops a subscription (you likely never started). Any reputable magazine will allow a free trial issue.

5. This sounds like it is a scam to me. Send you stuff and then say to continue receiving you must pay or to stop receiving you must pay, but the point is to get your credit card info. Don't do it. Besides, even if you inadvertently subscribed - how did you do so to 5 magazines and each for 5 years - not 1 for 1 year??? It makes no sense.

6. You may have stopped the calls if it is a scam by telling them to stop calling and not falling for their line to get your info. If not and they call again, request they provide you with proof you ordered anything. If they can't or won't - there is your proof that you didn't. If it were me I'd have done this on the first call. If they cannot prove it, then any calls beyond that...well, lets just say I used to be an oil worker and I won't print what I would tell them. LOL

7. As for the clutter - you can take them and drop them off at a doctor's waiting room but I would go one step further - I would draw some lines through my name and address (but enough where the magazine can read still read my name) then write on it in large marker.... "Refused - return to sender"...that way if your address is illegible they have to pay return postage. They will get the message you don't want it.

8. Who to call? No one. If you didn't order them then you don't have anyone to call. If it still bugs you, you might call each magazine, explain that you did not order them, have no idea why you are receiving them and do not want them. They will likely stop the subscription on their own and perhaps launch an investigation into it if someone is using their magazine to run a scam.

Watch your credit card statements and if anything appears that should not be there - call the credit card company and tell them it is not your charge. They will credit your account and investigate it themselves. This happend to me on a porn thing believe it or not - and trust me I don't do porn!! The credit card company actually called me and emailed me before I even got the statement and said there was a charge that didn't look like mine. So I'd say they are aware of a lot of scams out there and this sounds like one to me.

Hope that helps!!


Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

Ruby, Debbie said exactly what I would have said. Also if you get a bill for magazines you subscribe to, check the label on your magazine. That label will show you when your subscription expires. That is another scam. You get a renewal bill and you pay it. Pretty soon you are paid ahead 5 to 10 years. I saw that in the AARP magazine and checked my DH's subscription. His Men's Health expires November, 2019. And I am a retired Mortgage Banker and I pay the bills.

Also, if anyone is offering you 4% insured interest rate on your money. Do not go near them. They are just trying to steal your money.


Crozet, VA

Thanks ladies.....I did exactly as you advised, I asked to speak with someone who could tell me when I started the subscriptions and such. I believe they hung up on me. I didn't speak with them three times, only once, but saw their number three times on my caller ID. They really wanted my number didn't they? I knew also not to give out credit card info to someone calling me.....I read the AARP magazine too. So good to see that you are reading Sharon.....I sure do miss your sound advice on issues that arise when I come bellyaching to Dave's with.

Sharon......I will be meeting Debbie in person next month at a plant swap the Mid Atlantic Gardeners here are having. Turns out that she lives very nearby where the swap is taking place. The get togethers twice a year with this group are something that I always look so forward to attending. Much of our gardens are from other members of Dave's efforts....yours included.......I spied the Rain Lilies one evening last week when out back where they are planted. I missed seeing a bloom on them but did see lot of stems...nice doing business with you.

Anyway ladies.....thanks again for your advice....seems I was on the right track in what I did.


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