The Great Book Inventory of 2009


One of the things we did before moving to the UK in early 2010 was to go through all of our belongings, and sell or donate anything that we could. Things that were valuable to us were placed in a storage unit in the middle of nowhere in suburban New Jersey (because it was cheap).  But the time has come where we have now paid for almost five years of storage costs, and since we’ve decided to apply for UK citizenship, it seems like it’s time to deal with all that stuff in the storage unit once and for all.

We’re paid up on the unit through next July, so we have to resolve all the outstanding issues before then, and find a way to transport as much of what we want to keep back to the UK.

We did a pretty good job of winnowing everything down before we moved, but the biggest hurdle that remains is: books.  Lots and lots and lots of books.  Heavy books.  We were smart though, because we inventoried all our books as we packed them away, so we have an excel spreadsheet with all the information about title, author, subject, what box it’s packed in, etc.

So my personal mission this winter break is to go through that excel spreadsheet, and try to pre-classify them all before our trip in January into two categories: must keep, or not. Because there is nothing worse than getting caught in the emotional minefield of trying to decide on the spur of the moment, with the book in your hand…   when of course you can’t decide if you don’t flip through it, and then…. oh, this is an interesting chapter, let me just quickly read a few pages to refresh my memory before I make a decision….  oh wait, now it’s hours later and you’ve only managed to look at 3 books. AHHH!

Note: there are at least 16 boxes – that’s hundreds of books. We have more than 650 listed in the spreadsheet, but I suspect that a few sneaked in without getting inventoried.

I’ve just started, and it’s really hard!  How do I decide? I made a first pass, and I immediately listed 217 books as “must keep” and only about 100 as “not”! My ratio should be the opposite of that, because any books that we decide to keep, we’ll probably have to bring with us on the plane, and books are HEAVY, which takes up all our allocated luggage weight.

I might end up letting you, my dear reader, decide on the most difficult cases. After all, what good are internet polls if they can’t resolve my most difficult dilemmas?

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Posted on 23/12/2014, in travel. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have some personal issues about physical vs. digital media, particularly around music. I still buy most music on disc; however, I have started purchasing most leisure books on Kindle. For your situation, if there is a book you want to be able to read again but don’t really care about the exact physical copy you have (i.e., it is not a first edition, signed copy, or otherwise holds special memories), you should consider buying on Kindle (or your favorite e-book store) or downloading from Project Gutenberg or something. If you calculate the shipping cost versus what you might earn selling the physical copy, it might not be that costly to re-purchase some special books in a digital format.

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