Thursdays with Deb J ~ The Problem With Books

Deb J

Deb J

I know we have talked about the subject of books many times. I told you before how one time I sold enough books to pay for a year’s tuition at college. I have told you about how we have given away book after book until I am down to only books by my three favorite authors. So why am I bringing this subject up again?

How many of you have some type of eReader? I have a Kindle. Did you know that there are many places where you can obtain free books for eReaders? Did you know there are three email lists you can receive each day listing free and low cost books for these devices? Well I found that out quickly and began to use these emails to the hilt.  I love to read and I read very fast. I read one or two books an evening. Does that give you an idea of the amount of books I go through? Guess what? I looked at my Amazon account one day and saw that I had over 1000 books in my “cloud.” WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!!

Here we go again. Yes, it’s me having to declutter books again. Let me tell you it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Amazon has not made it easy to remove books from my list. First I have to find the book I want to remove. Then I remove it. I had 40+ pages of books and had to start over with page one after deleting each book or know the name of it and type it in. I have made it about half way through the books I HAVE READ which means I have about ¾ of the full list to go. Argh!!

The moral of the story? Don’t think you can’t get back into a clutter rut if you aren’t careful. After all, these are FREE books!! I have to remind myself that I didn’t like them all, that they in fact are not all even ones I would recommend, and that the library has them all on their ebook checkout list. Sheesh! I need to spank myself.

Be careful to not do the same thing I did. Keep that declutter bug close at hand.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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Continue reading with these posts:

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  • Thursdays with Deb J ~ Leaving My Comfort Zone All of us have varying comfort zones. There are just some items, people, ideas, and/or places that mean home to us. That doesn’t mean that home can’t be moved but when that happens […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Deb J, you are hilarious and also right on the mark. Electronic clutter, to me, is a form of mental clutter and it bothers me more than physical clutter does. It makes my head feel like there is a hot, tight band around it. When I am clearing my email or old files on the computer, I find I am clenching my jaw like there’s no tomorrow. When I am overloaded with things to remember, I need to get it down on paper or I feel physically unwell. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a whole category unto itself!

    Good luck with your deleting 🙂

    • Jo H, I understand your problems with electronic clutter. I find that I can’t stand having it either. Can you imagine the stress I was under when I worked in IT with 3 projects and lots of people to keep up with? I try to keep things more cleaned up now. I am now down to a little over 500 books on my Kindle. I have about 100 I haven’t read. I am trying to weed them down. Then I will go back through the ones I have read and see what ones I really want to keep. I’m trying to do this slowly so I don’t sit here for hours and days on end.

  2. a good point about electronic clutter. Much my husband’s and my efforts to declutter media has involved digitizing it. We don’t have kindles (I’ve always been a big library user, so my book collection isn’t too bad), but we’ve gotten rid of lots of DVD’s by ripping them onto terabyte external drives (a drive the size of The Lord of the Rings Extended Version can fit hundreds of movies and t.v. shows. I am a professional costumer and I collect costume and fashion history research – I’ve been working on scanning and digitizing my files. I never buy CD’s anymore, just MP3’s. So usually digital clutter doesn’t bother me – in fact I get a thrill from thinking of all the space I’m saving by not having analog collections. But recently I’ve been realizing how much the world has changed in terms of availability of information and images since I was in grad school. Now we have Netflix and Pinterest and Amazon Prime, Wikipedia and, etc. The truth is ownership of media is much less valuable or necessary in the digital age. We don’t need to own information or images, we just need to be able to access it when we need to. In a sense, we’re going back to the old library model, except the library is the internet. My husband and I have over 500 DVD titles on hard drives, but the truth is, I usually just watch something streaming on Netflix.

    • Julia – would you mind telling me what ripping software you used? I have a number of dvd’s that would be better served living on our external hard drives rather than sitting in our cupboard? I have downloaded a trail version of ripit onto our mac laptop but it wasn’t very keen to save onto the external hard drive, it wanted to save to the laptop’s movie file and it appears we don’t have enough space left on the laptop for a movie collection. Apart from that, we have a pc.

    • Julia, I have been doing the same as you. I’m trying to make everything digital I can but in doing so am also looking at what I need to keep and what I can just look for when I need it. The only reason I am keeping the books on Kindle is because I read mostly Christian books and they are hard to find in the Library and even more rare in the online Library. I’m interested in hearing about your ripping software too.

  3. Deb J – I am having the same Kindle issues, although I may have 100 books, some read and some not. Without re-reading the first page or so I can’t always remember whether I have read it yet. My new thought is that I may just read my current book list in alphabetical order and delete on completion. Hopefully I will make it to the Z titles! 😀

  4. Vicki K, I have a free app on my Kindle called Book Collections. It lets you create folders for books and catagorize them. What I do is put the new books into an Unread folder and then move them on to other folders once I have read them. It works great.

  5. Reading is a great thing, and you can learn so much through reading. It is easy to fall back into the clutter traps, but at least you faced it in a more timely manner and have improved from what it was before. I have been going through my e-mail and unsubscribing from anything I don’t want. It takes time and seems like a waste of time on one hand, but it will reduce my future e-mail clutter so I think it is worth it. Good for you for facing your book clutter and figuring it out. Don’t stop reading!

    • Spendwisemom, I think I have learned more from my reading than I did in college. If I am going to have a clutter trap it will be in this area. I have to be more careful.

  6. Deb, this is great and timely for me! I have delved into the Kindle world this past year, and recently my book-devouring son has started reading it in the evenings when his one early-to-bed brother is sleeping and I’m putting the baby to be. He is like you reading several books an evening. He loves to read so much I have to tell him that he cannot read at the dinner table, and I often find him plopped on the floor or in some quiet place lost in a book. It is really funny because he is my most active, sports-loving, never sitting still boy-except when it comes to books. I LOVE this! I used to set book traps for him when he was littler, which is why he still can’t pass an interesting book without falling into the trap and stopping whatever he was supposed to be doing to get lost in that enticing new book. The library only lets us check out 5 e-books at a time. So he is eager to ask for books to be deleted and replaced daily, and I filled the Kindle with as many free good books as I could find. I actually got excited when you said there are 3 email lists with free books. 🙂 OOPS! The trouble is, I am having a hard time finding good books for a young child who can read just about anything but is also sensitive and too young for many adult topics. Thank you for reminding me to stay on top of the clutter. I love that HE is good at getting clutter off his Kindle. After he’s read a book, he deletes it immediately. Now I need to go into Amazon and delete from the cloud. I on the other hand have read one entire Kindle book because I prefer paper books. We are swimming in children’s books, but I have been getting rid of all but the cream of the crop. I have 3 children and one of them is a baby that still needs to grow up with book-traps and learn to love to read. 😉 You have reminded me the library has all we need. Perhaps I should just keep the ones they don’t have.

  7. Lol. Thanks for the post Deb. My husband is a voracious reader and I can relate to the concept of declutter books over a very long period of time. When we first got married four years ago he had 20 book shelves completely stuffed to the brim. As I’ve mentioned on this site many times before, when we combined our possessions for the first time I was so completely overwhelmed! I think we’re now down to 8 or 9 of those original 20. We found a house and will be closing on it next month so the moving experience should have us whittling down some more as we’re going from a new 3 bedroom condo with a 2 car garage to a 2 bedroom older home with a little garage (that I see as more of a shed) in the back. I actually just hauled off another box of books to Bookman’s yesterday. I think he’s been doing a good job managing his Kindle books. I’m the one who has an issue with electronic clutter especially when it comes to music files!

    • Melissa, I think it is great that your husband is such a reader. One thing I have found is that between the Library and my Kindle I can pretty much find anything I want. With this move I hope he will feel comfortable enough to declutter a major portion of his books. Maybe he could check your local library and any they don’t carry or he can’t find on Kindle he could hang onto until he finds them somewhere. I know he already has them but it’s so nice to have more space. Maybe he can give them to the library so he knows they will have them.

  8. Hi, I am a voracious reader also and always looking for recommendations. I love fiction I can get absorbed in–current day setting or historical. I do like suspenseful/crime books, too. Any recommendations? I am planning an overseas trip soon and would love some books for the journey on my Kindle.

    • Scrapabbey, I read Christian books so if you like those I would recommend Dee Henderson, Irene Hannah, Lynette Eason, Karen Kingsbury (I am no as fond of her 2nd-5th series about Bloomington, Indiana people), and Kristin Heitzman. All write romantic suspence except Karen Kingsbury. I have many other Christian authors is you want them.

      • Oh Deb, have you read any by Bodie Thone? I read a series of historical fiction when I was younger…it was so good! I was home from college on Christmas break and barely slept because I could not put them down. Very intense and also romance thrown in. Now I’m trying to remember the title. I think it was something like the Zion Chronicles.

        • Angela, they actually have 2 series and Zion Chronicles is one. I have read all of them and really liked them. Their son is writing now too.

      • PS I have not read these yet but heard anything by Francine Rivers is great too.

        • I have read a lot of hers too. Her best one I can’t think of the name of right now but is written based on the story of Hosea & Gomer but in the old west. Very good.

  9. Hi Deb J! I am not a big one on digital clutter. It seems that my computers are constantly being attacked by virus and whenever that happens, it is a start over from scratch. My husband cleans my computer over and I start again with a brand “new” computer…:D I am actually very resistant to Kindles and the like. I do, sometimes, download books in PDF format in my computer, but I am not sure I will want to leave my physical books behind… However, as I am barely managing to read one or two chapters a day (when I get to read, at all) I am sure that I am not really missing anything by not having a Kindle and keeping on trying to read all the books I already own. Good luck with your digital decluttering, and I hope you find a way to clear it all up quickly. 😉

    • Andreia, I’m sorry to hear about your computer. It sounds like you need a very high end computer security system. I hope that things improve so you are able to read more. Good that you don’t have the digital clutter.

    • Andreia – I was a die hard book reader but then I injured my wrist and discovered I couldn’t hold a book comfortably which was torture as I read a lot and then soon after Adrian was taking the kids away for a week (my holiday from them, the rule is that they have to help clean and tidy before they go, the fridge is stocked and I enjoy the peace and quiet) and as I usually read something big and epic during this time or re-read the Outlander series, I wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip by. So I bought my first kobo. I have to admit that initially I wasn’t keen but it did get me thru the injury. It got put aside for a little while, but as I was trying to reduce the number of books I had and some of my favourite authors were releasing their latest big fat installment new release book, I decided to buy digital. And then I was trying to reduce the number of gifts coming into the house so I asked for Kobo vouchers as one set of books was literally falling to pieces, it sort of flowed on from there. Recently I decided to get a book out from the library as I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not and it felt weird reading from a book again.

      Computers. I am going thru my pc hard drive at the moment, trying to sort out files as my computer definately needs wiping and starting over and I don’t want anything unnecessary going back on the refreshed version. What a mish-mash we have on there! The kids download stuff and obviously have cleared the laptop onto the pc at some stage too. When it was set up last time, the computer guy set up some complicated system for files and individual logins and there are ‘my docs’, ‘my music’ ‘my video’ etc for each person and everything ends up all over the place as no one was interested in logging in seperately but the system doesn’t seem consistant with which it saves documents to. At the time I insisted that I wanted it really simple but he said this would make life so much simpler. Hogwash! We’re going back to the old system of each of us has a folder for assignments or projects. Within my folder I have extra folders for my projects, so when they’re completed and can be safely gotten rid of, I just hit the delete button on that particular folder. And every now and then I get the girls to go thru their folders and delete anything that’s no longer required.

      • Moni, you sound like me. I got my Kindle and then Mom one because we were both finding it harder and harder to hold the books. Mom is still not comfortable with her’s but I’m very happy with mine and will not be buying anymore paper based books except those by my favorite author. If I didn’t have so many of hers already in paper I would get them on my Kindle but I can’t afford to replace them all at this point.

  10. Deb J, I have to say that I am guilty of this. I tend to think that it doesn’t matter as much as having physical books, but it does. I have a lot of free books, but I know that the likelihood of getting them all read, may not ever happen. I needed that reminder to stay on top of my e-reader.

    • Jen, I’m glad the reminder is a help. My problem is that I can’t see the digital clutter so tend to forget it. I’m setting reminders so I will get rid of things more.

  11. Hi Colleen,
    I have steadily been working on minimizing my possessions and regularly read your blog for inspiration. Tonight I received an encouraging compliment from a friend. She said that she had told a friend of hers who wanted to have a minimalist house that she should talk to me about how to achieve that because my house was very attractive and that I had successfully made it look minimalist and clutter-free. I was very pleased to hear this compliment and you and the other contributors to your blog deserve some of the credit for this.
    Thank you!
    Clare Townes

    • Clare, what a nice thing to have your friend say. Isn’t it nice to know that someone has that feeling about your home?

  12. Best line ever: “Sheesh! I need to spank myself.”

  13. I am also an avid reader. I have downloaded a lot of books on my Kindle and have sorted them into folders. I use Kindle Buffet for good free books (I never buy ebooks). When I have read a book I delete it immediately. I have one folder called Keep but I am very fussy about what goes in there, and edit it regularly. I have stopped downloading books for now until I have read most of what I have. I find it quite addictive downloading free ebooks and have to keep it under control!

    I also use our library (55 libraries to borrow from for free on the Auckland Library system, yay!) and request most of my books from recommendations I find online. I own only a few books now, only reference books for my hobbies.

    If I start reading a book and don’t like it, after a couple of chapters, I STOP READING IT!!! I used to doggedly finish every one, but now I reckon there are a always so many good books to read, why waste my time!

    I think we live in an amazing time in history, with an almost infinite number of books on every different subject you can think of, available at our fingertips!

    • Janetta, it sounds like you have a great plan for the way you keep your Kindle decluttered. Good for you.