Thursday, February 28, 2019


We parted with a couple of tons of books when we sold the other house, and yet I was shocked at how many books we moved.  When unpacked, the books took up more space than expected.  

In deciding what to keep and what to part with we used the following tests:
1: Does it have actual or sentimental value?  Few books are worth much of anything, but some are. 
2: Have we read, opened it, or even thought about it in the past 10 years.  If not, it was time to go. 
3: Would someone else have a good use for it?  We parted with a lot of professional reference works by giving them to others with similar interests, and a significant collection of books by LGBTQ authors to an LGBTQ community library. 
4: Did we anticipate having a use for it?  I kept the travel books, and food books - things I am likely to use in the next 10 years.  

In the end, we parted with far more books, than we kept.  

The picture above was taken out the back windows of my office.  It appears to be the contents of a law library - tossed in an industrial dumpster.  Sad, but nearly all legal research is now done online.  With office space in DC at super premium prices, books are expensive to keep. My share of the office lease, to cover my 100 square foot office (10 feet by 10 feet,) is almost $30,000 a year.  At those prices the space to house the books in the dumpster would be about $150,000 per year.  An academic friend of ours, bought the house across the street, to house her books.  A lawyer friend of mine in Oklahoma is building a 5,000 sq. ft. library-barn next to her new 1,500 house (she inherited a bit money from a family member who lived like a pauper and vowed to ENJOY IT, EVERY PENNY OF IT!)  

Are you accumulating print books, or parting with them? 


  1. I have parted with many books over the last 10 years; library donations. I have 2 6' bookcases to hold the remainder. I can live with that.

  2. I have learned to be ruthless about getting rid of books. They take up a lot of room and are heavy and expensive to move. I donate them to the local library system when I'm done reading them and keep only those that I cannot bear to part with.

  3. I've kept a handful of favorites but donated the rest to libraries. We moved to a smaller place and it was either the books or BH. He makes the mortgage payments, so, no brainer.