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One bookcase can contain the books of a lifetime! 

Some of us have a lifelong love affair with books. They helped us escape to a fantasyland as a child and continue to inspire us today. For others, a book collection represents the tools-of-a-trade or career or tells the story of family life through the decades. 

Do you feel that you can’t part with books yet your own downsizing means you need to?  

Here’s one plan to consider.

Select ONE bookcase that has several shelves and room for a certain number of books. 

Then intentionally choose your favourites from each stage of your life. When you are done, you can glance at your bookshelf and see your entire life to this point. 

What criteria might you use?

Select 1-3 books from each era. Choose what you will keep, not what you will give away.

Select those that spark joy, ones that you could never ever give up, one book from each of 10 favourite authors, books that changed your life, or 3-4 in a particular genre whether fiction, recipe books, inspiration or whatever is important to you. For other ideas check out, Downsizing Books.

My personal goal is to reduce my books to 100. For some people that may seem like a lot to keep. For others, who are book lovers like me, you know what a wrench it is to let 100s of others go. 

I have a favourite author from my early 20s and until this week, I owned all her books. In paperback in small font. I also owned my favourite or hers in hardcover with an easy to read font. I kept it and let all the rest go. I can borrow them from the library when I want to read them again.  

Now, I glance at my shelf and see this one beautiful hardcover book. I am transported back to a time in my life very different from now. I immediately remember what I was doing and who were my companions. Smells, sounds, sights, feelings are all there at one glance. I will keep this chosen ONE by this particular author.

After four rounds of letting books go, my sorting is done. I have chosen a few favourite childhood and teenage ones, several from post-secondary education that were life-changing, three from my various careers, several that belonged to family members, a sampling of novels or memoirs that inspired me, and ones that I read again and again.

However,  I needed to ‘close the book’ on so many others and dream of a neatly manageable bookcase.  Every time I walk by it, I smile with satisfaction and remember the significant role that books have played in my life throughout the decades.