The Culling Game

By giving it the title of the culling game I am of course being ironic, for any booklover that moment when your shelves (or maybe your partner) simply groan with the strain of all those books can be the beginning of what is an emotional, conflicting and painful thing – sorting out all those books you have somehow accumulated. It is something some of us have to go through once a year, some of us much more regularly. Dear readers and fellow book lovers, I am at that point and will be enduring it for the next few days/week. Starting today…

The hardbacks are the first in the line for sorting...

The hardbacks are the first in the line for sorting…

I am going to pace myself though and have a system in place both for how I attack (it sounds so vicious) these books and how I decide to keep them or not. Firstly I am not doing it all in one go. I will firstly go through my shelves of hardbacks and trade paperbacks, then my shelves of recent paperbacks, then my shelves that got mixed up because I had no space and had to buy more shelves and then onto my six boxes of ‘backlist’ books. I am giving myself a day for each of those set of shelves (even though there’s loads in each) and two days to do the boxes. This will stop any small (read as massive) meltdowns I have along the way, as has happened before. It is a long game this one, especially as I want to reduce my books by not a mere quarter, or a tricky half, but a true culling of two thirds of what I own. I know, it’s drastic but I think it needs to be done.

My criterion for books staying are these three simple points (because anymore and you start making excuses and this is a Savidge cull)…

  • Did I buy them/ask for them/are they a special edition?
  • Could I get it from the library, which should be used as much as possible?
  • Have I owned this book for more than two years and if so why so?

As odd as it may sound there is actually quite nice about the feeling you get post cull. I find that not only does everything seem neater and more organised (with me actually knowing what books I own) but it also reinvigorates how much I love books. Yes, even when you have just got rid of lots. This is because if you are anything like me books are your addiction and hoarding setting. To get rid of a book, even if they are going to good homes as mine do, is like snuffing out a potential adventure that you might have had within those pages. Yet we have to look forward and the fact that the books we have on our shelves are ones we know we will love and are desperate to read as well as freeing up the space for future reads.

It is this feeling that I will be focussing on along with a) the fact that I want to have all my shelves sorted by June the 23rd when I have an unofficial restart of the blog (so I need to sort the backlogue of reviews I have by then too) giving me a goal b) thinking of all the people who will get enjoyment out of the books I am passing on – this will mainly be my mother who I am off to see this weekend for my sisters 17th (I feel so old) birthday. It is going to be quite a torturous task but I am going to feel so much better after!

Right, less chatting on here and more culling, wish me luck!



Filed under Random Savidgeness

16 responses to “The Culling Game

  1. emma townshend

    This is nice. V good luck!

  2. David

    Interesting looking at that photo, and it’s something I’ve noticed with a few of your recent “Other People’s Bookshelves” contributors: your shelves look pretty similar to the ‘new fiction’ shelves in any bookshop with dozens upon dozens of books published in the last couple of years. I assume this is a blogger phenomenon whereby you are sent these by publishers? No one could ever get through everything new that comes out (and half of it probably isn’t worth getting through anyway). If stuff has come to you gratis, I’d find that would make it a bit easier to lose some, but I’m essentially useless at culling – I try two or three times a year but don’t get rid of anywhere near as many as I ought to.
    Having something on my shelves unread for two years would not for me be a criteria for culling though. I’ve picked up books I’ve had languishing on my shelves for fifteen, even twenty years, and discovered a new favourite author.
    Anyway, good luck with it!

  3. Best of look to you and best wishes to your sister.

  4. Excellent title!
    And good luck. I fully expect to have a full-on cull at some point, but not until all my books are reunited.

  5. Sounds like a very well thought through system, though I still feel that in practise it’s always difficult and always painful, however it’s done.

  6. YAY #2 and the local library. Good Luck. I’ve kept mine manageable but really need to read some older ones.

  7. kaggsysbookishramblings

    Good luck Simon! I keep having little culls, but it’s becoming more of a gradual weeding out process. It does feel good to donate or give away, and I just keep trying to be realistic about what I will really, really read. Very hard though….

  8. Annabel (gaskella)

    Good Luck! I’ve sorted out another half a dozen bags full and will be doing a Yard Sale in a few weeks time I hope to sell a few, before donating the rest.

  9. Good luck and Happy Birthday to your sister!

  10. This is a point of contention in my house! I do like keeping hardbacks/books sent for review. The rest I let my daughter pick through, although she won’t take many as she’s at college and works at two jobs, so time’s an issue. I’m really keen on supporting our very local charity, Mary’s Meals (which on Tuesday reached the landmark of feeding 1,000,000 children every day!) How can I not give them as many as possible?! But it’s a tough call, culling. You have my sympathies!

  11. Remember to allow yourself time for sitting in front of the bookcase, rereading parts of the books you’re getting rid of….

    I’m making a point of getting rid of books after I read them unless they are very special to me (after all, when will I have time to reread with all the other books I have/the library has/I get ARCS of?) but then have found myself wishing I’d not got rid of some! Two in particular I think I might actually reread if they appeared again.

  12. Danny

    What do you do with all the books you get rid of?

  13. I have culled and then rebought (the sadness!) because now that my children are older I want to be able to offer them that exquisite joy of a book at a certain point in a life 🙂

  14. Michael F.

    We are gradually letting go of our collection. I kept many of them over the years thinking that my sons may eventually want to read them. But, alas, our tastes have diverged. My youngest son likes Charles Bukowski, John Irving, Cormac McCarthy and Kurt Vonnegut (all of whom I confess, I loathe). So, many have been sold online, donated to local organizations and some given to friends. Sadly, some have just been tossed in the bin. That said, I do have some fine, leather-bound Dickens and Austen sets that I just don’t see myself ever parting with.

    Best of luck with “the cull”; I understand how stressful it can be.

  15. Good luck !
    There seem to be many decision to be taken.

  16. Pingback: May Recap 2015 | The Oddness of Moving Things

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