Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pack Rat

Given that I won the first inaugural Blogger Book Slut award (I'm thinking of adding that to my business cards) it's not really a shock to anyone anymore that I own an obscene number of books. Really. It's not healthy. It's so bad that when My Man and I evacuated from the wild fires last November the first words out of the mouths of my mother and two sisters (after they learned we were safe) were:
"Oh my God! Wendy! Your books! All of your books!"
Which sort of begs the question on how I store all those books. Prior to My Man buying me a book case for my birthday last year, all of my books (yes, all of them!) were stored in Rubber Maid totes. I had separate totes for certain "types" of books. My historical romances had their own tote. Hard covers and trade paperbacks were in another. Contemporary romance and romantic suspense in another. And most importantly? All of my Harlequins had their very own tote.

Even with the arrival of actual shelving, I still have two Rubber Maid totes. One for my "keepers" and one for my Harlequins. Damn, I own a ton of Harlequins. Who knew those little books could take up so much space? Which is why I've essentially gone 98% digital in getting my Harlequin fix these days. It's just easier for me as far as storage is concerned.

I've had this post filed away in the back of my brain for several months, because someone was asking about book storage ideas. I'm thinking it was either Blanche or Barbara. Well, this was mine for a long time. Rubber Maid totes stuffed in the closet in our spare bedroom/home office. I also know a lot of readers who buy the smaller, flat totes that slide under the bed. Depends on what kind of storage space you're working with.

What are your sure-fire storage methods for your books? Have you largely gone digital? Do you use book cases or totes? Have you had to resort to a storage unit? Or do you not have this problem because you 1) don't horde books and/or 2) use the library for 100% of your reading?


lustyreader said...

I actually just did a post with a picture of my bookshelves! but didn't include the ones in boxes.

I use bankers boxes or legal boxes or whatever people call them because they have handles on the sides and fit mass market paperpacks well.

in fact before i found the smart bitches, you, and other romance book blogs i was all embarassed of my romance novels and kept alllll my romances in bankers boxes in the cloest. but ever since me "Awakening" there are front and center!

tvaddictgurl said...

I no longer horde my books. Just don't have the room. Once I read it, it's gone to the UBS.. with a couple exceptions... if it's autographed or I think it might be useful to use to study character and story arcs. But otherwise it's gone. But since getting my Sony eReader last year, I've gone mostly digital.

Janicu said...

*gasp*! I have something similar. Well I have bookshelves, but the TBR pile is under my bed in a couple of clear plastic boxes (from The Container Store, $10 :D They are awesome, I love it.

iasa said...

I use the 'if there is an empty, shelve, box, counter or floor space, it is ideal for storing books' method. I even have 2x2 square stack of books by my bed with a piece of cardboard on it I use as a side table.

I fear I may have to have another great book purge like I did back in '98.

Janicu said...

OK that link didn't work did it? Anyway its Container Store's "Our Underbed box".

Malle said...

I've gone digital and it's a relief! But I want cute colored flash drives to keep digital copies on and I want the flash drives to live in some kind of well designed case.

I have to admit the last time I moved I used my cottage to store many books and I still have most of them there.

Last, I remember when I was travelling to writer's conferences as a harlequin editor and I met a woman who had turned her garage into book storage. It was shelves and shelves of Harlequin American Romance. I think she owned every book in the series!

Anna said...

Great post Wendy! I have two large bookcases in my room, and a small one in the hallway. Plus we have a bookcase in the living room. Which technically isn't mine, but 98 % of the items stored on said bookcase are mine. LOL! Plus I have one storage container, It's a bit smaller than the one in your post.

I do have a few books that are digital, maybe a 100 or so. But they aren't full length books.

I don't keep every book I buy, I just don't have the space. So, that is where my blog contests and Paperback Swap come in handy a lot. :)

michellewillingham said...

I had my husband build 6-inch wide shelves on the insides of a closet. I can still hang up clothes, but both sides have bookshelves. They're made of composite wood, so it was cheap. He just built a few supports, put up the shelves, and voila! Before I shelved the books, I made sure they were my keepers. Of course, I need to go through them again, but it's a good start! I'm seriously considering an e-reader, though.

joykenn said...

Wendy, just imagine your collection (without digital) growing over 50 years! I've got books in my attic, my basement, my spare room, my living room, my bedroom. Sigh!
I'm betwixt and between at the moment. I'm trying not to buy ANY new books except in digital format and to avoid the library's fantastic book sales (at least a grocery bag or so worth of books make their way into my house from those). I've gone digital for new things and glacially slowly getting rid of my old ones.

I have fantastic old Harlequins I collected and can hardly make myself get rid of them because of their history worthy covers. Sigh. I'm only keeping a few authors of those. I got rid of most of my romantic suspense books and mystery books a few years ago. I haven't touched my SF much. If I had time I'd sell them through ebay or Amazon cause some of them are collector worthy. Luckily my husband is just as bad a collector but a slower reader. He never saw a magazine he totally finished--Newsweek, Sports Illus., National Geographic, Am. Heritage, New Yorker, etc. I take some off the bottom of his pile and he never notices. If he does, I tell him to go read that article at the Library!

Alie said...

I personally use the slide under the bed totes now. Before I was trying to get them up on all of my shelves, but there's too many and not enough room! As a result I've had to cut down on my hording :(

Debora said...

I have a walk-in closet in my home office with three bookcases in it filled with romances, plus the shelves on top of the closet that go around it have books triple-stacked to the ceiling. Mostly Harlequins and my Regency trads...Then I have a big wicker basket filled with romances, plus another huge clothes basket with lid...and another bookcase in the bedroom. I also have a Rubbermaid under the bed box filled with vintage Harlequin Presents...and six cupboards downstairs in the rec room filled with vintage romance. I have built in bookcases in the living room filled with hardback Regencies...and I haven't even mentioned the bookcases in my home office and throughout the house filled with mysteries, vintage mysteries, fantasy novels, history books, writing books, literature, poetry, and my Miss Read collection...I won't even go into the boxes of books stored in the basement crawlspace. in the understatement of the year, my youngest daughter said this afternoon as I was shifting piles on the floor of the office, 'you sure have a lot of books.'

Happy Reading,

Samanthadelayed said...

I have a used book store. I keep most of my books there. ;-)

Seriously though, here at the house I have a few cases full of books, mostly romance. I call it my really big TBR pile because once I read them they go back to our store. I keep books that people give me, anything I win, and signed books. I do have a few keepers, but not as many as I used to.

Tracy said...

I have a ton of ebooks but I haven't gone strictly digital and I don't think I'll ever be able to. I just shelve everything and when I completely run out of room I go through the lot and discard what I no longer want. It's amazing after a year - or even a couple of months how my ideas on what I want to keep change.

Bookwormom said...

I'm a bookaholic & freely admit to that. I've one bookcase, maybe 4'x4' square double shelved for my TBR. Once I've started laying books sideways across the top of each shelf I know it's time to stop. Four of us live in a tiny duplex & we've already 4 7' shelving units full of books- not only mine!! lol

So I've had to be ruthless with what I'm willing to keep. I prune my shelves all the time. I just went through a huge purge & I actually feel soooo much better. :)All of the book clutter was dragging me down mentally. Of course purging shelves also helps fuel my hoarding instinct, "well I just got rid of all those books, it won't hurt if I buy one or two new ones.." And then I'm off again.


azteclady said...

Book cases.

I have to be able to *see* my books, so bins and totes and boxes just don't do it for me.

Hence, this.

(and my mother, who knows me well, just sent me two antique bookcases, which will probably be full by the time I come back from RWA)

Wendy said...

I love reading about everybody's book collections - sick fool that I am. My problem is that I horde books I have yet to read! Once I read them? I'm pretty ruthless. I only keep keepers. Everything else goes. And in the 10 years or so I've been hording? I've only given away 2 books that I later regretted. Nothing a quick trip to the bookstore couldn't fix.

Malle: I have a friend who converted her garage into her TBR room! It's really an excellent idea, but it does require you to live in a fairly dry climate. She's in west Texas - so it works for her.

Liza said...

I have 7 bookshelves and still have to store book in rubbermaid bins. I also have gone totally digital for my harlequin reads. I also donate books each year to the library, although not as many now that I switched to digital only for my harlequins.

Kristie (J) said...

My sure fire method is to build a whole room with wall to wall bookshelves and then have to expand into the next room when the 'library' is too full of books. However *g* before that - my method of storing was those big plastic bins they sell at Walmart. And what's great about them - now that they are empty, they are great for my son who moves about every 3 years to pack up his stuff for moving.

Rosie said...

I'm late but you know have to weigh in on this topic...

On my bookshelves are my keepers. After so many years of reading I have a lot of books and like Tracy every once in a while I go through and ruthlessly discard and take books to the UBS.

However, the shelves won't hold the burgeoning tbr and those are in rubbermaid totes. All of which I owe to the lovely Super Librarian.

Yes, I'm blaming you because once I heard about how you kept all your tbr books it gave me permission to do so as well. GG thanks you...profusely.

Wendy said...

Liza: I've now gone digital for Harlequin - but I still have the Rubber Maid tote, and I still buy the occasional Dead Tree copy. Mostly when I hear about a UBS going out of business. I feel it's my "duty" to rescue the Harlequins. Sigh.

Kristie: I'm trying to convince My Man to buy me a house just for my books - but so far he's been resistant. Damn him! Seriously, I covet your library. What I wouldn't give to have a WHOLE room just for my book collection.

Rosie: I'll remember to stay out of GG's way the next time I see him :-) The downside to totes is you you can't see all your pretties - but they can make for great organizers. Like I said, I had separate totes for separate genres - so when I got a bug up my butt to read a historical (for example), I knew just which tote to go to.