How many books do you have?

one corner of our home library, which I've just dismantled

I have over 1500 children’s books.  I know because in the late 90s, I was teaching and, imagining the future children I hoped to have, collecting books mostly via the Scholastic book clubs I sent home with my students, and I created a database of all of ones I had then.  They numbered 1500 then. I slowed down in collecting them in the last decade, but I have acquired many more.  We’re redecorating our house now (see previous post) and don’t plan to use one of the rooms as a “library” with walls full of bookcases anymore.  The kids, and we grown ups too, really, prefer to learn and get information with the computer nowadays.  My self of the 20th Century who wanted many walls lined with books would be shocked, but gradually I’ve come to think of the books, at least the excess number of books, as clutter.  My kids don’t sit in our home library browsing through the books.  Even my my daughter who was an early reader and very much enjoys good books is not interested in having a big library.  When I first asked her, she just shrugged; then after a few seconds, she said I just need to keep Harry Potter, the Penderwicks, and a few others.

I have removed all the books from the shelves in our former home library.  The bookcases all moved down to the basement, so I could just move all the books down there.  But if the kids weren’t using them much on main floor, I doubt they’d use them any more than that down in the unfinished basement.  I’m planning to severely cut the number of boooks we have and donating them to the library/homeschool group friends/Freecycle.

I’m curious what you think about books . . . how many books do you and your children have?  I have never regretting giving away anything else when decluttering, but maybe with books that will be different.  I really like most of these books.  I do plan to schedule a regular visit to the public library now.  Funny how my kids haven’t spent much time in our home library but they love going into the public library and picking out books.

some of the books piled up in the family room, awaiting their fate


  1. I have always loved books. I cannot remember a time that I did not love them or have them around me. My twins are quite the same. With their moving off to college, and us trying to reorganize and and fine tune all of the ‘stuff’ we have aquired, books have been on the “what to do with/where to put” list. As much as I love them, I too have come to view them as clutter and disorganization even when shelved nicely. We have donated many to the high school volleyball team for their annual yard sale, donataed many to new and upcoming teachers with very little ‘stock’ in their classroom libraries, and donated the rest to local community charities. We have one shelf we keep ‘must have’ books on (I still cannot let go of the smell of a new book so must still read rather than use a screen to read a novel) and then usually have a few circulating in a ‘pay it/read it foward’ notion.


  2. I would keep all books that teach any type of skill–from gardening to canning to knitting to sewing to cooking to keeping animals to learning to read, photography, woodworking, etc. I would also keep any books–hardback–that are classic stories and entertainment. Many of the paperbacks won’t last because of the glues that are used. One day the world–our nation– may not have the luxuries that it currently enjoys. Our old, outdated electrical grid is barely keeping up with the task of supplying electricity to a nation that wants more and more power. The internet is dependent on this grid. I’m for keeping hard copies if storage allows. Peak oil and climate change are/ will impact and will continue to impact our lives. Check out (or The Oil Drum or ASPO) to understand how, why, when…


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