At least once a year, I try to go through items at home (clothing, household items, and yes, even books). I find that I need a few things to make it a productive and meaningful use of time.
1. Don’t underestimate how much time it will take. By the time you decide to unload and empty drawers, shelves or closets, it can take a while to really go through items.
2. Be in the right frame of mind – specifically one where you will be open to giving or getting rid of something.
3. Re-assess at a later date. I will typically do an initial pass through a closet or room and then go through it again on a different day.
As tough as it can be to part with things, (I can come up with some pretty creative reasons to hang onto something that I think I will use or wear), I love the feeling of less clutter and being more organized.
I have recently started taking a hard look at all of my books as well. Not because I necessarily want to part with any of them, but because I am running out of shelves and tables to store and stack all of my books. There is no question about keeping my favorites (including various editions of the same title). I also love all of my reference books. And some of my books have great memories attached to them – gifts from friends or family or purchased because of something I was really interested in at the time. I am starting to look at some of the random books I’ve picked up on clearance or at book sales that I am certain I will not read again. As difficult as it is to part with some of them, I have to remind myself that I like finding a book a new home (and also creating room for new books to add to the collection!)