Earlier today, my mum and I decided to go through old books in the house and just clear up some space (actually, I decided and forced her to join me). I spent the better part of my day going through everything from old school notebooks, really old pictures, textbooks from the 19th century, old journals, calendars, half-torn dictionaries, my grandmother’s nursing materials, my brother’s write ups from his creative days in high school, my mum’s literature texts from her Primary school up to university level, my Dad’s encyclopedias and old disco records, my romance novels from my teenage years, and so much more junk.
The whole exercise got me wondering about books and the likes. Everyone I know, myself included, has made it a habit to buy books and build a Library. Where do we draw the line between saving good books and storing up junk?! I’m sure my mum thought she was saving good books for her kids to read when she was buying them but they’ve just ended up collecting dust over the decades and have now been thrown and out and some even burnt. In fairness to her, she does have some really interesting literature and some timeless classics but how many of them have we read? I buy books all the time and I have so many I haven’t read. My brother is even worse. Between the three of us (mum, brother and I), there’s always some new book to read. When are we ever going to settle down to read my mum’s or grand mum’s old stock? I admit that as kids, some of these books were helpful and blah, blah, blah.
I don’t even know where I’m going with this post anymore. I think my point is that we had waaaaaaaayyyyyy too many books in this house that were more of a nuisance than anything else and I’m beginning to rethink my decision to build a library for my future family. Keeping those academic books after they have served their purpose is just cruel to your kids who have to clear them later. I mean, my mum’s school books were outdated long before I was even born. *sigh*
Okay to be honest, it isn’t all bad to have a library in the house, I’m just peeved cause I had to do so much work and I think all the dust I inhaled might be affecting my thinking. So I’ll just give a break down of some of the books I think are necessary and those that should be flung out!
* Classic Literature – I’ve found these to be quite useful over the years. My brother would even agree more. Growing up, we read a lot because there was always some book lying around that we could flip through. My love for literature was as a result of my mum’s books we read as kids. From Charles Dickens to Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, and every classic literature imaginable, we read them all.
* Photo Albums – This one has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Let me just say you don’t need to save a photo of EVERYTHING, there should be other ways to preserve memories. Keep the pictures tidy and neatly placed in albums following some order so the kids know where to look when they want to see a photo of daddy when he was four or of mum when she was in college.
* Dictionaries, Encyclopedias and the Likes – With the internet and software these days, this may not be entirely necessary but they can come in handy.
* Journal – Now unless these journals contain information you are willing to share, you may want to throw them out once they serve their purpose.
* Magazines and the Likes – Keep this to a minimum though. You don’t need to save every issue of all the magazines you subscribe to.
* Academic Books – If any of your kids studies a course similar to what you did, it may be good to have old references but please as soon as any book becomes outdated, get rid of it (unless they are for research purpose, in which case you would do well to send them to a research institute).
There’s more to write about but I’m tired and sneezing, so I’d take a break here. The key is moderation. You don’t need to save everything. Give things out while they are still useful. Donate books to a local library if they won’t be needed anymore. Keep your library or study room orderly and properly organized. Don’t be one of those people your kids will resent for leaving so much JUNK. Know the purpose for keeping the library anyway and don’t over do it. Maintain and tidy up the library regularly, going through the books stored there and reviewing the purpose of each book on the shelf. Make sure books are kept in good condition.
As for me and my house, “Hello Kindle” 😀 (I still love the smell of new books though *sigh*)
P.S. We have been trying to locate a local library or book store where we can donate some of the books that may be useful to others (still haven’t found one yet). We have given out some of the academic books to school children around who need them.