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Wednesday, June 7, 2017


photo by Heffloaf
In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio took advantage of early retirement from a 31-year teaching career and decided to launch a second act that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

Decluttering My Bookshelves

I delight in the acquisition of a new book. It doesn’t matter whether I purchased it myself or received it as a gift—each book is unique in its own special way.

I like to keep all these treasures. At least, I did until I noticed overflowing bookshelves and unruly piles of books in corners. And I couldn’t remember which books I had relegated to my storage area...two floors down.

It was time to let go of...

…older paperback novels that were falling apart or collecting dust. Many of them are over thirty years old and no longer of interest to me. If I ever wish to revisit these books, I can borrow them from the library or buy the e-book.

…any book that I hadn’t read yet. In the early years of my writing journey, I reviewed books for local and regional newspapers. Enthusiastic editors would send extra ARCs that I mentally filed away for future reading. Checking the publication dates, I realized many of these books were over five years old. Along with the extra ARCs, I have a collection of “gift” books that I couldn’t read past the first chapter.

…any book that reminded me of an unhappy time in my life. While dealing with stressful personal and family issues, I immersed myself in “one-nighters” that would transport me to a safe, predictable world. I have evolved from that place.

…mediocre books that don’t warrant any more attention. Enough said!

What did I do with these books?
I disposed of any damaged books.

I donated the “practically new” and “gently used” books to the library, community centers, and reading rooms in nursing and retirement homes. (Libraries do not accept ARCs)

Thinking and acting globally...
The American Library Association has compiled a list of organizations that distribute books internationally. In most cases, there is no shipping cost. Find out more here.

In Canada, First Book Canada and Books with No Bounds accept book donations.

Do you have any tips for decluttering bookshelves?

Too Many Women in the Room
When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture— Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.

Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?

Click here for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.


Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks for hosting me :)

Liz Boeger said...

Enjoyed your decluttering ideas. Thanks for the tips.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

You're very welcome, Liz. Thanks for dropping by :)

traveler said...

Thanks for this interesting post. I donate many books to the library and retirement homes. Thanks for your interesting feature.

Rita Wray said...

My bookcases are also overflowing. I must do some cleaning and donate them. I used to keep all my books but I don't anymore. If I read a book I love I keep it but if it's just okay I will donate it.

Rusty Rhoad said...

I too was a bookshelf packrat, made even more intense because of a 400-volume collection of military history books. My wife is a professional organizer, but her enthusiasm for decluttering didn't help until I developed my own system. Here are the rules that I live by to keep it under control:

1) Don't own more books than you have shelf space for, ever. If you pack books into boxes, just take those straight to the library or the second-hand book store.

2) There are only 5 reasons to keep a book:
- It's on your reading shelf to read. Go through those periodically. If you've passed a title over for 5 years, you're never going to read it. Let it go to make space for new candidates.
- It's a reference book that you still use.
- You intend to read it again. I have favorites that I actually read over and over. Sometimes nothing else but a Matt Helm thriller will do. I put the date in the back cover for the last time I read it.
- You are saving it to recommend to others. This space needs to be VERY selective, perhaps half a shelf at most. When you give those books out, be loose with your return requirements and perhaps they'll disappear.
- It has true sentimental value. These aren't books so much as memories. Again, be VERY selective. One shelf at most. Perhaps not even on working bookshelves so much as other places as part of the decor--attractively stacked on the piano, for example.

This system may not work for you, but it has served me very well for more than a decade and I am delighted with it.

jbiggar said...

I have the hardest time giving up my books, it's like parting with your kids except worse, lol

Meredith said...

I give a lot of my "read" books to the high where my sons attended. Not just for their library, which has had budget cuts. The reading teachers don't get a budget to create a classroom library if they choose to have one. Even if the books are high school level (or even middle school for struggling readers), the grown-ups are looking for fresh things to read too and the teachers were happy to have some new books to share among themselves.

Angela Adams said...

Love the title of your book, Joanne.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks Angela! :)

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Meredith, What an excellent idea! During my teaching years, I couldn't resist any fresh reading material. :)

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Jacquie, I had to put on my "ruthless" hat and not second-guess myself. If not, I'd still have those overflowing bookshelves. :)

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks for all your suggestions, Rusty! I can't imagine a 400-volume collection...I'd have to rent storage space. :)

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Rita, Overflowing bookshelves is a common problem for avid readers and authors. Annual decluttering would take care of it...but that's so easy to put off. :)

Joanne Guidoccio said...

You're very welcome, Traveler. Thanks for dropping by. :)

Marilyn Levinson said...

If only I could get rid of books not in the best of shape and books I've yet to read. Sometimes I'm lucky and manage to bring a few of those in good shape to my library, but so many books I know I won't read are overflowing my desks and bookshelves. Sadly, I've carried this practice over to my Kindle. I find it difficult to delete books I've read and love, even though I know I'll never read them again.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Good to see you here, Marilyn. I also have an overflowing Kindle filled with "Free" and "99 cents" deals that I probably won't read. Another major decluttering session awaits me. :)