Decluttering: Books, Desk and Office Supplies

July 21, 2014


It’s been one week since I showed you the inside of my entryway + bedroom closets, and I’m happy to report I haven’t missed a single one of the items I removed from them. In fact, I actually decided to part with one more item of clothing – a t-shirt I can’t ever remember wearing. Oh, and then I bagged up 41 clothing hangers. (Does anyone need extra hangers? No? Ok, they’ll be donated, too.) With that, the 63 items I claimed to have parted with last week is now up to 105. That’s. Crazy.

As I continue with this massive declutter and purge, I can now safely say that clothing will be one of the easiest categories of items I tackle. Fashion and accessories have always lived at the bottom of my list of interests, so I had no problem throwing item after item into those black garbage bags – especially the ones I tried on and felt awful in. However, I knew things wouldn’t go quite as smoothly when I stepped in front of my bookshelf.

I know I’ve mentioned how much I love buying books a few times before. In fact, two-and-a-half years ago, I wrote an entire post about how I planned to always buy books, so I could have a huge library in my home and be able to share all my favourites with family and friends. I even proclaimed I’d share the hobby of acquiring new hardcovers and paperbacks with my future children. But something I don’t think I’ve ever fully admitted is that I used to be seriously addicted to buying books on

Years ago, when I was still in the midst of racking up credit card debt, you could’ve found me on a couple times each week. I’d look at newly released titles, see what the top sellers were and add 2-3 books to my cart – just enough to barely go over $25, so I could get free shipping. For probably a good 2 years, I would guess I made an order every 2 weeks (which would be 52 orders in total). Using $26 as the sample amount I spent on each order, we could say I spent:

$26 x 52 orders = $1,352 on

And that’s an extremely low guesstimate. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t closer to $2,000 or more. The problem with placing so many orders, as you can imagine, is I never found/made the time to read all the books I bought. As a result, I now own more books I haven’t read than ones I have. And even though my addiction to buying books isn’t as bad as it once was, I continue to buy 1-2 books each month, despite already owning a stack I haven’t read. I’m consuming for the sake of consuming!

All of this is why I knew my bookshelf would be tough to tackle. At first, I looked at my already-organized shelves and thought, “There aren’t that many books here. I can probably just keep them all.” Then I tapped my right index finger on each one and counted to 95. Ok, maybe that’s a few too many. I had my little library organized into genres, but I decided to take them all off the shelves and reorganize them into three new piles: read, would read again and still to read. If anything went into the read pile, it was to be donated.

In the end, I bagged up 33 books; that’s 35% of my original collection. I think I’m going to bring them all to the Port Moody Public Library this week, to see which ones they’ll take, then either sell the rest to a used bookstore or just donate them. What I’m left with are three bookshelves filled with 62 books – only 8 of which I’ve read. So, while I was sad about the fact that I’m not allowed to buy any new books for the next year, this will actually give me the opportunity to “shop my bookshelf” and finally read what I already own.


*Please note the bottom four books re: why we shop, why women shop, why we all overspend, etc. These books are the first on my to-read list and could make for some really interesting discussions.

Aside from just books, my shelves were filled with a number of other things: namely, magazines and office supplies. For the past two years, I’ve had a subscription to MoneySense Magazine. And, for the past two years, I’ve probably only read half of each issue. It’s not MoneySense’s fault; sometimes their issues were just focused on things that weren’t relevant to me. Anyway, I decided not to toss them yet. Instead, I chose not to renew my subscription and am going to read each of these issues cover-to-cover before I do.

In the rest of the baskets on my shelves, I found only a few small things to get rid of: 1 photo album, 1 small storage box, 2 binders, 3 notebooks and 2 dried up bottles of liquid paper. Oh, I also discovered I’d been hoarding one thing: pens! I put together a pile of 28 pens to toss/donate (gave some to a friend who is a teacher). Altogether, I only got rid of 37 office supply items; this is actually 47% of how many items I originally had, but it doesn’t seem like much compared to what’s in the inventory below.

Finally, not seen here is the amount of paper and cardboard I shredded/recycled throughout this process. To organize my desk area, I knew I had to go through the two drawers of documents I keep. In the baskets on my bookshelves, I was also holding onto the original packaging for a number of small electronics that I really didn’t need anymore. Altogether, I’d say you could’ve filled 3 x 2″ binders with all the paper I removed, and I recycled at least a dozen cardboard boxes of all sizes.


Before tackling this area of my home, I wasn’t concerned about how many items I was potentially hoarding – I simply wanted to be aware of what I owned and create an inspiring workspace. (How’d I do?) In total, I only removed 70 items from my apartment. So far, most of them are still in a pile in my dining room, because I’ve had two houseguests for the last week and didn’t want to bore them with the task of dropping bags off at various donation boxes. I’ll do that this week!


Here’s what’s left in my home, in the book and office supply category:


At first, it seems like a lot – the office supplies, anyway – but I use each and every one of those items on a regular basis, so they do add value to my life. The only thing I still haven’t made a decision about is whether or not I want to keep my old MacBook Pro. I bought my current one nearly two years ago, but kept the old one “in case this one died”. It’s been sitting in its original box ever since. Any thoughts? What would you do?

*Note: There are also at least 20 already-read books on my Kobo but, since they’re digital, I didn’t count them as items here.

Approved Shopping List

Similar to when I wrote the post re: decluttering my clothes, shoes and bags, I thought I’d go through books and office supplies and discover a few things I might need to purchase in the next year – but that didn’t happen. I have enough books, notebooks, pens, etc. to last me a long, long time. In fact, instead of buying anything in this category, I’d actually like to donate more books to the library throughout the year. As I read through the contents of my bookshelf, I’ll donate anything I don’t feel is a classic; something I may need to reference in the future, or truly see myself diving into again. My guess: I’ll be left with no more than 20. Oh, and the magazines will be out the door and into the recycling, as soon as I finish reading them.

Next: decor, entertainment and other random household objects!

How’s your book/office supply collection looking these days?

  • Elizabeth July 21, 2014 at 4:35 am

    I love books too but I’ve had to prune my collection over the years due to moving :( Many of my friends don’t have the same taste in books, moved on to digital books or don’t have time to read, so my dreams of having a mini lending library have been quashed.

    These days, I have a small collection mostly of reference books, favourite novels I read over and over again and a few of non-fiction books I couldn’t get at the library. When I get the urge for something new or a recent release catches my eye, I’ll go “shopping” at the library.

    Just a note of caution — many libraries don’t accept books anymore. (My local library system only accepts newer books that they don’t already have, for example). It might not hurt to check out your library website’s “donate” section first. If they don’t accept books, they may be able to point you to local charities that do.

  • Elizabeth July 21, 2014 at 4:36 am

    By the way, I’m really enjoying this decluttering series :) Looking forward to more!

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 6:35 am

      Thanks! And I already asked my library – they’re all for donations. :)

  • Addison @ Cashville Skyline July 21, 2014 at 4:39 am

    I, too, am guilty of purchasing books that I still haven’t read. When I’m traveling, I love stopping into the local independent bookstore (if one exists). Then, I feel compelled to support the store by purchasing at least one book. When I was younger, the only thing my parents wouldn’t object to buying for us was books. They encouraged as much reading as possible, so perhaps, this is where this comes from.

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      YES! I BUY BOOKS IN EVERY CITY I TRAVEL TO! Not this year, I guess… Maybe the shopping ban will change the way I think about buying books altogether.

  • Dayle July 21, 2014 at 4:50 am

    Hey Cait… I think you’re starting a bit of a movement here… each of your posts I read, I think… Oh, I want to do that too!!

    What a good idea to get rid of books unless you will read them again. I have gotten rid of a bunch recently, but they were of a genre I don’t like anymore. Fiction books I’ve read and liked I have kept, even though I won’t likely read them again… I think I will start passing them on.

    After I’ve read a book and lent it to someone, I’m always worried about getting it back asap, but why?

    I’d estimate that I probably own around 150 books… as I start decluttering I may do somewhat of an inventory. Just this weekend I went thru some drawers and there are just too many things to bother to court or itemize. Just a lot of stuff I don’t need… gone! CDs for tax programs from past years, old cell phone chargers, why do I keep these things!?

    Great post!
    Love how your bookshelf looks now :)


    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      Yea, I used to worry about whether or not I’d get books back too, but it definitely doesn’t matter. (Well, except when I lent out my copy of East of Eden and never got it back. *tear*)

      I probably owned closer to 200 books a couple years ago, but did a massive purge when I moved to Toronto. Apparently, not massive enough, haha. Or I just continued to accumulate more. It was probably a combination of the two.

      Anyway, JOIN ME in the purge!

      • Deena Dollars July 22, 2014 at 8:54 am

        So weird, someone stole MY copy of East of Eden, too, and it was one of the only books I’ve ever been pissed about losing!

        • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 8:57 am

          Whaaat! This is CRIMINAL.

  • Alicia @ Financial Diffraction July 21, 2014 at 5:07 am

    I worked in a book store for 4 years when I was in my teens (great teen/PT job by the way!), so I am all too familiar with the book clutter issue. Even though that was 10 years ago (or so) I still have the remnants of that time in my life (as do my parents who inherited some of my books). The thing was, the more books I read, the more of them I fell in love with and I found it so hard to part with them. Plus, I think they look pretty in bookshelves when it’s not just wall-to-wall books… Put 5 in a pile, then have a decorative piece and then a few more.

    On the same topic as books, I can’t even tell you how many CDs I had owned at one point. And they were all obscure, so they were closer to $30 rather than $15. I’d guess I had about $5,000 worth of CDs. I sold them for $150. Yep!

    This weekend I removed three garbage bags from my closet. I think even my “after” has more clothes than your “before”, but I think it’s a step-by-step process, otherwise I’d freak with the amount of empty space in your closet :)

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 9:53 pm

      I always wanted to work in a bookstore but am actually glad I never got hired. I’m pretty sure all of my paycheques would’ve been spent there, lol.

      When did you sell your CDs? I’m sure it was sad to think of how little you had to sell them for, but it’s great you managed to do that purge!

      Also, congrats on working on your closet! You did it! Woo woo!

      Oh, and my closet is HUGE and most of my clothes are in my dresser, so it looks a lot worse than I think it actually is, haha.

  • Meg Jones July 21, 2014 at 5:10 am

    My partner and I have been together for almost five years and living together for over 2 and half but we’d never merged our books (dvds, yes). Until this weekend! We don’t have a massive overlap in what we read but we did have two complete sets of the Discworld books, including one that was mostly in hardback!

    Well, we took the plunge and converted our two sets into one, plus we got rid of books we weren’t going to read or had read but weren’t going to read again. I didn’t keep a tally but it was a lot! (maybe around 100?) and I feel so much better for it. I’m a librarian but I’m not very precious about books (apparently this shocks people…) and I am certainly tired of moving and worrying about them.

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      Nicely done, Meg! And you’re right – that does surprise me, haha. But I feel like you’d probably prefer to just own the books you truly love versus own an entire library. Am I right?

      • Meg Jones July 22, 2014 at 1:41 am

        Pretty much! I know who I am now and I don’t need the “crutch” of ‘look at my books, see what an ~interesting~ person I am’ that maybe I needed in my early twenties! I’d rather have a bunch of ‘old friends’ on the shelf – I can read others via the library.

        And heh, I’m technical services nowadays (so don’t handle books) but when a lot of your job involves weeding through old and outdated books and getting rid of them, you cease to be precious about them because you want your service to provide up-to-date info etc. (I work in academia and corporate libraries, rather than public).

        • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 6:56 am

          I love that: you’d rather have a bunch of old friends. I want that. :)

  • Michelle July 21, 2014 at 5:17 am

    I love reading and used to do the same thing as you, get on Amazon or Indigo and buy lots of books. Then I found the library and now I have a large stack of library reads…I’m working on shrinking that pile quickly. It’s taking up too much room! I try not to have too many office supplies hanging around but I work from home and still need a few basics. I find I have to clean my desk at least every two weeks or it gets too cluttered with papers.

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      How long are you able to keep library books for? We’re only allowed to borrow them for 3 weeks, so I don’t bring home more than 2 when I go!

      • Meg Jones July 22, 2014 at 1:43 am

        Popping in to say that generally, you should be able to renew the book – frequently online! – until you’re done, providing that no one else wants it and has put a reservation on it! (but the number of times you can renew/what triggers a reservation recall etc. will be set by your local library.)

        • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 6:55 am

          True. I usually get books that have other holds on them, so hadn’t thought about that.

  • Heather July 21, 2014 at 5:44 am

    Totally hear you on the books! While I don’t have quite as bad a buying addiction, I do have a tendency to buy and then not read, which means I have tons of books I haven’t yet read. So my goal is the same – read all the ones I have before buying new. Or, try and read them, as I also have a tendency to keep trying to read books I’m just not digging. So they hang around, when I really should just donate them! The real problem is my academic books. I used to be in a PhD program so amassed a large collection of history books. I got rid of a lot, but there are a couple plastic bins worth that I just can’t get rid of. Even though I know I will never read them again. EVER. It’s a piece of my life and identity I just can’t part with yet.

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      You know what – there are probably a few books on my shelf I don’t actually want to read, but felt the need to keep because I paid money for them. I may have to look at the shelves again and think about that…

  • Shelly July 21, 2014 at 6:09 am

    I have purged some of my books in the past but still have quite a few. I collect Stephen King and Sue Grafton books, so even though I have read most of them, they are staying. I also have a couple of Dan Brown, J.R.R. Tolkien, Twilight series(please don’t judge me, lol) and a few miscellaneous books. I also have a few on my Sony ereader.

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      No judgment! I owned the Twilight books once upon a time, too.

  • Stephanie July 21, 2014 at 6:27 am

    I love these posts! They truly inspire me to do some de-cluttering in my room and to think about what I use every day. It’s kind of like de-cluttering your iPhone, only keep the apps you use on a daily/weekly basis. All others– delete!! (Well that’s what I do anyway).

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      I do the same with my iPhone!

  • Elizabeth July 21, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Oh, good one. De cluttering my office is my summer project as well. After moving from a job where I had a full wall of floor to ceiling bookcases for my professional library, now I have much less space. I’m realizing that many of the materials either are out of date or they are not in a format that I can use. I’m scanning things that I would want to reference but don’t want in paper from such as old notes from Hebrew classes, and have been donating and just tossing like mad. It hurts me a bit to throw something out before I’ve used it all up, but sometimes it’s not good enough to give away. So to the recycle bin it goes.

    Oddly, getting rid of old things scratches the buy news things urge, frequently. I’m even making plans to send these two old classic fountain pens off to the fountain pen hospital because I’d rather repair the wonderful old classic things than buy new.

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      I feel like it has something to do with the fact that each purge helps us become more conscious of what we already own; at least, that’s what I’m experiencing. I have zero urges to shop/spend money right now. All I can think about is reading/donating books and taking better care of my clothes!

  • Monica July 21, 2014 at 7:05 am

    If your current computer died would you really go back to the old one? Or would you buy a new one?

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      I’d fix the new one but use the old one during the process. Since I work from home, I’d need something immediately.

  • Jordann July 21, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Ok these posts are seriously giving me the urge to declutter my house, but I don’t have time right now! It’ll have to be a fall project, because life is far too busy right now. Loving these posts though.

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      Yes yes yes! Can’t wait to read what you tackle in the fall. :)

  • Trista July 21, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Hey Cait. I love these posts too. I think one of my biggest areas I need to tackle is the kitchen. I have so many kitchen gadgets (mostly from my mom and she won’t be happy if I get rid of anything). I suspect I have more books than I think I do. I got rid of a bunch when I moved a year ago. Before that my criteria was I kept the hardcovers and dumped the paperbacks once they were read. But I have gotten rid of a lot of hardcovers since (All the fiction that’s left are my Harry Potter Books, Gone With the Wind and the Bridget Jones Books). I have a collection of cookbooks. I really think I should get rid of them. I bought them while I was in debt with the thought that I would teach myself how to cook. Obviously that didn’t work. I still make the same couple of things and when I want something new I generally use Google. I should also go through my Biographies/Autobiographies. I guess one only needs so many books on Frank Sinatra.

    • Dayle July 21, 2014 at 8:47 am

      I am the same. I have about 10 Company’s Coming Cook Books that my mom bought me. I don’t think I’m ready to get rid of them yet… my mom has written inside the cover of each as they were gifts, but I have literally never used them. Whenever I need a recipe I get it from the internet.

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      I COMPLETELY forgot about my cookbooks! They’re in my kitchen, so I’ll have to look at those in a couple weeks. I do actually use 2-3 of them, but the rest will go go go GONE.

  • J @ the expat investor July 21, 2014 at 10:11 am

    That’s a lot of book you have. I used to buy books to but I started to buy eBooks and am more convenient for me. I have an Amazon kindle so I don’t have to carry a bulky book anymore.

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      I’ve mostly bought e-books the last couple years, too. If I want to travel more in the future, that’ll have to continue to be my new norm.

  • debt debs July 21, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Oh wow! It looks so good Cait! You are inspiring me. Sometimes I wish I lived alone (LOL) so I could control my space and all our stuff better!! Can’t believe you bought that many books and never read them. Oh well, best intentions. Enjoy your new clutter free life!

    • Cait Flanders July 21, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      Thanks, Debs!

  • Morgaine July 21, 2014 at 10:50 am

    I’m also not allowing myself to buy any new (physical) books until I’ve at least attempted to read all the books currently on my bookshelf – I say attempted because, let’s face it, we don’t always finish every book that we buy. Once read I have to decide whether to keep it (only if I think I’ll ever read it again) or sell/donate it. I’ve done pretty well with this. However, I’ve been buying more books on my Kobo/smartphone) so I can read them on the train so I don’t have to carry around a physical book. I may have to stop this so I can get through my bookshelves even faster.

    Good job on decluttering so far! :)

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 7:43 am

      Sounds like you have a good system, Morgaine!

  • Becky July 21, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I’m sure you’ll feel much better and more productive now that you’re office is clean. Mine is a disaster that I keep putting off but like many others, I think you’ve motivated me into tackling it.

    I have a really hard time giving books away. I’ve got a bunch to donate but I know there are more that need to go…I have a huge collection of absolutely terrible romance novels from when I was in high school that I can’t seem to part with, even though I haven’t read them in over 1o years and am very unlikely to ever read them again. Maybe that should be my next project!

    I used to have a book buying addiction, too. I’ve managed to cut back (I’ve only bought one book so far this year!) but I still have stacks of unread books making me feel guilty, so I feel your pain!

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 7:33 am

      You haven’t read them in 10 years? Yes! It sounds like your bookshelf should be your next project.

      I don’t want to know how many books I’ve bought this year…

  • weenie July 21, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I used to be like you with my books, until for several years, I made one of my New Year Resolutions NOT to buy any new books and to just read the books I had in the house. Once I read the books, I either gave them away to friends or to second-hand book shops.

    Well done on the decluttering – office supplies is one thing that I need to look at!

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 7:36 am

      That’s my exact plan for the next year: read what I have, then get rid of it. Great to hear it worked for someone else!

  • Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore July 21, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Oh man! If you think you had a lot of books before your purge, then I should NOT tell you how many books I have. I’m on a mission this year to get rid of more books than I take in though and so far I’m still ahead on the giving rather than the getting, but only by a bit. But progress is progress right?

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 7:39 am

      I’ve done book purges before – big ones – so I know I’ve owned a lot more than I do right now. In fact, before I moved to Toronto a couple years ago, I did a massive book purge and remember counting over 250. Yikes. Oh, and guess what? I donated a bunch of those, before ever reading them. Goodbye $$$$! LOL

  • Stephany July 21, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    I went through a major purging a few years ago and one of the things I was quick to give up were books. As much as I love reading, I’m not too interested in having overflowing bookshelves. I realized my books just made me more anxious and stressed than happy. So I gladly boxed up all my books (two trashbags full!) and gave them to my local library. Now, I only buy digital books, but more often than not, I go to the library when I need books. I don’t miss having books around, either!

    Office supplies, I try to keep contained to one little bin in my nightstand, and I try to only keep 1-2 notebooks on hand. I can get a little out of control with office supplies/notebooks so that’s something I continually purge.

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 7:40 am

      I think I’ll always enjoy having a few favourites on my shelf – and I will always want to support authors I love – but I don’t ever want to have a bookshelf of 50+ unread books again. It’s ridiculous.

  • Jon @ Money Smart Guides July 21, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I try my best to get rid of books when I buy new ones, but it’s getting hard because the books I have left are all ones that I enjoy!

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 7:41 am

      Well that’s ok then! If you enjoy them, they add value to your life. Keep ’em. :)

  • Jaime July 21, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    You are making me wish I had documented all of the purging I just did recently.

    When I moved across the country I did a major purge because I didn’t want to be paying for moving anything I didn’t absolutely need. So when my boyfriend and I recently decided to cohabitate I thought I wouldn’t find much to purge before my move. Turns out that in the four years since my cross-country journey I’ve collected more things I just didn’t need, or realized that some things I toted with me never even got unpacked! It’s one thing to keep childhood photo albums packed up, but I found a couple of boxes with books, knick-knacks, and other random things that I obviously didn’t need.

    So along with the major things I wasn’t bringing along to his place (furniture mainly) I managed to sell or donate A LOT. And it was liberating. At first I was all nervous about getting rid of ‘my’ belongings while moving into ‘his’ house, but once I really started to look at what I really need and what’s really important it was very easy to let go of ‘stuff’.

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 7:42 am

      One thing that killed me was cables/cords. Whyyyy do we have so many!? Seriously, where do they all come from?

      Great to hear you found the purge relatively easy!

      • Jaime July 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm

        Between the bf and I we had a couple of small bins of random cords/cables/etc. Sold a few at our garage sale then tossed or donated the rest.

  • Miss Millennial July 21, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Woah! I’m so impressed that I’m about to go work on decluttering my own bookshelf! This is amazing! Well done!

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 7:42 am


  • Rob July 21, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Hi Cait. Remember when I commented earlier to report that I had discarded 25 boxes of books to our neighbourhood church annual book sale? Well a number of those books were business books, many in mint condition, never read (except when I initially browsed through them when I was purchasing each one). I used online book clubs as well as weekly walkin trips to my fave book store. Like yourself, I figured that over time that perhaps our kids might like to read them. Like NO – they have different tastes and in fact (like most folks) prefer more current reading material. I tried contributing some of them to our local library but often they refused them, due to their age. So I still enjoy books but now I use the net, searching out sites (including Amazon) where free books are available. My online collection these days is still considerable but at least it’s not physically cluttering up my house and nor am I spending any $$$ on my “hobby”, even if I never get around to reading each one of them! :-)

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 7:48 am

      I’m still trying to understand WHY I used to buy books as often as I did. Sounds like it was a similar problem for you, at one time. Do you have any more thoughts as to why you built up such a large library – especially of unread books?

      • Rob July 22, 2014 at 5:10 pm

        Well a lot of my books were sci-fi (Trek, Star Wars, etc), adventure (James Bond, Tom Clancy, Arthur Haley, Anne Rice, Joseph Wambaugh, Harold Robins, James Clavell, John Grisham, etc), as well as financial and self-help books and most of these I actually did find time to read (but held on to them over the years). Remember, young lady, I do have a “few” more years of past reading (and hoarding) over you! :-)

        That all said, however, when it came to business books, I would be attracted to many various books, some of it pretty technical, at the time that I first browsed a book’s contents. My thinking generally was “Hey, this looks pretty interesting and may help me in my career and general knowledge in the future”. Of course often what happened was that I usually got too busy and never did find time to get into the book. I would keep thinking that I would but that never seemed to happen. I guess book browsing is my brand of cat nip! :-)

  • Gia T. July 21, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Hmm I think I have maybe uh… five books that I’d want to get rid of in my library of 50. /hides face. Only good thing is I have read most of them, but I should really let go of some that I didn’t think were that good. Definitely have hoarder tendencies when it comes to books…

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 7:49 am

      50 books does not a hoarder make. :)

  • Cinthia July 22, 2014 at 2:42 am

    I love these posts and truly believe that clutter brings us down, zaps our energy and our spirit.
    But as a writer/author I say: Buy books, people, lol.
    I have hundreds and hundreds of books, but since I bought a Kindle I rarely even look at them. Yet I can’t let go. Those books have gotten me through tough times and joyous times. I still have the copy of a Kathryn Harrison book I was reading when I went into labor with my son. How do you get rid of such a thing, such a memory? Though of course it is only a book and the memory won’t leave with the book. But still …
    I guess I’m not very evolved when it comes to decluttering, am I?

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 7:52 am

      If it’s just a memory to hold onto, and not a book you read again and again, then I don’t think there’s a reason to hold onto it. But that’s *now* my personal belief. I’ve never been very sentimental, though.

  • L July 22, 2014 at 4:38 am

    I’m impressed! That’s a lot to get rid of from this category…. :D

    Books are the hardest thing to part with for me, and after many years of yearly donations I’m afraid I still have well over 200 books! LOL I do re-read books often, though, and every year donate any that haven’t been re-read (and aren’t likely to be re-read within the next year).

    Since the library is usually happy to take them, I can always borrow them from the library if I want to read them again after all! Though I must admit, I haven’t yet gotten rid of one and regretted it.

    These days I tend to buy books mainly on my Kobo, which certainly spares my shelves, and save getting paper books for reference and children’s books.

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 7:53 am

      Yea, I’ve bought a lot of e-books for my Kobo in the last year and don’t regret any of those purchases. In fact, it’s weird, but I’ve actually read almost every single one of those books – yet those paperbacks and hardcovers continue to sit on my shelf. Hmm!

  • Eva July 22, 2014 at 4:55 am

    I really like your blog and this new project of yours.
    I would have to say that you own almost no books: I have around 750 books and maybe 60 e-books. Do you count encyclopedias and dictionnaries? Or maybe you don’t have those and just use the Internet.

    Good luck for your new lifestyle and good reading!

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 7:54 am

      I don’t have any type of reference book, nope.

  • Rebecca @ Stapler Confessions July 22, 2014 at 10:38 am

    I started to let go of my books a few years ago, the last time we moved. I have zero desire to move books I never read again. I’ve had luck posting them on Paperback Swap, but that program means that I will eventually get another book in my home! So, I started looking at places that will buy them and found the bookscouter app to be helpful. I’ve made about $50 by selling my books that way, and the rest get donated to the Friends of the Library booksale.

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      Nice! Yea, I assume my library sells whatever they can’t use, so I’m happy to hand all my old books over to them. :)

  • Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans July 22, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Reading about you decluttering your books/office supplies is really motivating me to start doing so with my own stuff! However, since I don’t live along (my mom, auntie, and brother live with me), a lot of our stuff is all piled together so decluttering for me means try to sort through everyone’s sh*t and it get overwhelming FAST.

    Can’t wait to keep reading about this minimalism journey of yours!

    • Cait Flanders July 22, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      I can’t even imagine doing this with someone else’s stuff around! But at least you’re in control of your bedroom? ;)

  • Mackenzie July 22, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I totally understand about purchasing a lot of books and how it can be addicting! I had that problem with Barnes and Noble and had to seriously reign myself in. I LOVE books!! :)

  • Kristen July 23, 2014 at 5:07 am

    I tend to buy my books at places like Value Village. I give most of them to friends when I am done. I only keep books I really connect with, or know I want to read again. Currently I have one book shelf full of keepers.

    Office supplies . . . . I do need to organize those during my vacation. I work from home a lot and run my own business so I definitely have too many of somethings and likely not enough of others!

  • Jeffrey A June 4, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Chiming in on this (way late, obviously) to confess that I was once an over-indulgent book buyer as well. I moved in 2008, and at that time I think I had close to 500 books…enough that two book cases were overflowing.

    Then, in 2010, I was out of work for about 7 months, and was at the point where I’d resigned myself to moving back home with my parents or finding a friend’s house to crash at. In anticipation of not having any personal or storage space, I went about purging my book collection (well, that and many many other things). I probably cut down from 500 to 200-250 or so at that point. Over the next few years, I continued to purge, but my book buying habit meant I always had about 125-150 books on my shelves and cluttering up my home at any given time.

    Then last fall, I moved again, and this time I really went full bore and cut down to about 2 dozen of my favorites. I’ll tell you what: this was much harder than I had thought it would be. I also put a rule into place that (so far, 6 months later) I’m still following and has helped my clutter immensely: I can buy any book I want, as long as it’s a book I’ve read.

    So now I go down to the local public library, pick up a bunch of books, and to date haven’t loved any enough to spend money on after reading it for free. It’s Amazing. It’s really opened my eyes and made me realize that my “love of reading” was in actuality “love of owning books and showing off my personal library.” And I’d much rather be know for the former than the latter.