We live in a media-rich environment. In a matter of seconds, I can download a book to my phone or laptop. I can watch video programming on either as well – or just watch one of the (literally) hundreds of channels that I get on my tv. (Funny story: I was trying to lower my cable bill last summer, so I called the cable company. The attendant told me that I could get a less expensive package, but I would lose certain channels. After she read the list to me, I asked, “I have those? Who knew?” Needless to say, not having those channels is not a great loss.)
But it can all become too much. I have hundreds of books on my shelves that I have been meaning to read. I have watch queues on three separate video platforms. AND I just discovered that my library system will give me access to three (!) more video platforms. ENOUGH!
Step by step, I need to winnow away the backlog. It took me two years, but now I have no unread magazines in my house. Now, as a magazine comes in, it goes in my work bag so that I can read it on the subway or at lunch. I’m continuing to work on my books. I know that I will keep some of them because they are reference books or because I will re-read them. But for most of the books on my shelf, once I’ve read them, I’m done. So, at the beginning of each year, I put twelve books on a shelf. By the time the clock strikes 12 on December 31st, they all have to be gone. Only new favorites re-earn their place on my shelf. The rest head off to the library book sale. (I keep a bag in my craft room/book room/library where I place books that I plan to donate.)
As I work through the books I have, I try to limit the new books I bring in. (Which is VERY hard. I work in publishing and I love to read.) So, I buy a limited number of books and read them within two months of purchase. Then, they either go to the book sale or my reference shelf. I use my local library to borrow books that I’m pretty sure I won’t want to keep long-term. Because they have a due date, they don’t become clutter.