Do you ever look around your house and realize you have way too many books collecting dust on the shelves? Books that you read once, or maybe you only read a few chapters of and then set down because you couldn't get into them? You tell yourself that eventually you'll read the book (again) but the reality is there are few you will actually read again. Many of us have probably felt this way at some point in time. Maybe it's books, maybe it's clothes, maybe it's something else.
Here at Trevi, we've been talking a lot recently about banishing clutter in all forms from our lives. It's a hot topic. Over the next months, you'll see some recurring themes around this as we explore the impacts of clutter in some of our blog posts, and how we think about the concept of "less is more" - sometimes also known as "minimalism." Clutter has some pretty serious impacts on our health, relationships, and finances. Rarely is that impact a good thing.
So let's talk about books. Over the years, I've accumulated A LOT of books - and just to be clear, I am a really big fan of books, and more importantly of reading. Those who are really successful (and this can be defined in many different ways - not just based on the size of a bank account) are generally people who read a lot. Knowledge is power. Knowledge helps you see the world in new and different ways. And books are a cornerstone in helping build knowledge.
Over recent years, the internet has made it so easy for us to buy books. I've spent a lot of money on Amazon - I am sure many of you can relate to this.
The availability of books and more importantly knowledge over the internet has been a very good thing in so many ways. But I also realize that as a result, I've spent more money buying books than I really should have - and that's money that I won't get back. As I look around the house, it's caused a bunch of clutter. Clutter than we don't need.
So I did something about it this last weekend. I took a whole bunch of books to Half-Priced Books and sold them.
It was really great to hear a buy offer of $91 - I was thrilled with that. But in reflecting, I also realize I spent way more than $91 on those books over the years. The great thing about this? I have $91 dollars that I didn't have before - and we eliminated a whole bunch of clutter. We've got some more books to sell, but that'll be for another weekend.
The bad thing? I wish we wouldn't have spent the $ in the first place to buy those books. But, here at Trevi, we aren't about beating ourselves up about the past - we are about learning lessons to move us forward in the future. So here are some ideas for you as you think about the clutter of books:
- Sell or give away things you don't use. If you don't use it currently, you probably won't ever have a real pressing need for it. Get rid of it. If you can sell it great. But, don't sweat it. If it's a lot of work to sell it, consider giving it away. We're big fans of the Buy Nothing groups on Facebook that allow you to up-cycle items in your local neighborhood.
- Just because it's easy to buy doesn't mean you need to. The internet makes some things really easy. But that doesn't mean you need to buy it. Be intentional in your spending. Think about the utility of the thing you are buying. If you are going to use it once, does it really make sense to buy it? Books are a great example here.
- Can you get the item free? When it comes to books, use your public library! More likely than not, you'll only read that book once. Why buy it when you can borrow it for free? (Or remember, you've already paid for it with your tax dollars!)
- Be intentional in buying. You hear us talk about being intentional a lot. It's a really important thing when you think about both your finances and your life. A few years back we decided that rather than buying a book on Amazon, we'd check it out at the library first. If it is a book that we really wanted, we'd make that decision after reading it and buy it at that time if we thought we might read it again.
As you embark on the second half of the year, think about ways that you can reduce clutter in your house. As you move to reduce clutter - you may also find ways to get a few extra dollars in your pocket.