I was moving a bookshelf out of my guest bedroom, where it had languished during a lengthy remodel, back into my bedroom. As part of this process, I went through the books and took a bunch of them to Goodwill and reorganized the shelves so that they aren't overloaded.
This made me realize that I have a serious problem. I either need fewer books, or I need more bookshelves, and my husband will justifiably balk at more bookshelves, since I already have 5 tall bookshelves in "the library". My bookshelves are just ridiculous. Probably half of the books I have are books that I want to keep because I will either read them in the future, or I've read and loved them and will therefore likely reread them. Until I can make a legitimate case that every book I own is either a keeper, part of a collection (i.e., my Agatha Christie collection), or is intended to be read in the near term, then I can't really support a demand for additional book shelves.
A lot of what is taking up space on my shelves is YA books and kids books from when my daughter was in middle/high school - she turns 22 in a few days. It makes sense to hold onto some of those (Harry Potter, for example), but it is frankly unlikely that I will reread a lot of them. Once my daughter comes home for the summer in the next couple of weeks, I think that we will go through them and determine which, if any, deserve a permanent place on the shelf. Tamora Pierce and Madeleine L'Engle will make the cut. Stephanie Meyer will not. She is moving about two thousand miles away in the fall (sobs), and she won't be able to take very many of them with her.
In terms of the children's books, I will winnow them down to a single shelf of my favorite read-alouds, and hold onto them in the hope that someday I will have some grandchildren visit.
But what I really need to do is start knocking out the unread books that have appeared on my shelves from unknown locations. I think that my first step will be to just honestly evaluate whether or not I am likely to actually read the book in the next 36 months. If the answer is no, then it makes sense to get rid of it.
I'd like to winnow this pile down to a manageable number that can actually be read in 3 years at a pace of one per week, which would be 156 books. After reading, I'll decide if they get to go on the keeper shelf, or if they are going to be released into the world. How do you get rid of your excess books? Do you give them away? Do you take them to the UBS? Do you hold onto them?
If step one is acknowledging that a problem exists, then I've achieved step one. I know I'm not alone in my book hoarding issues - anyone else have similar problems?