Tuesday, June 8, 2021

At the halfway point - My 2021 offloading goal is going pretty well

I own lots of physical books and DVDs. I like owning them, but at the same time, I live in an apartment and have limited space. Also, if I ever do end up moving to a new place, that stuff translates into lots of heavy boxes or lots of things I'd have to find a way to whittle down fast.

I've had some vague offloading goals since 2016, but my efforts usually haven't gone well and/or haven't been consistent. In 2016, my offload stack was 5.5 ft. In 2017, it dropped down to a measly 1.4 ft. The next couple years weren't any better: 1.3 ft. and 1.9 ft. I felt amazingly productive when, in 2020, I somehow managed to offload 3.5 ft.

At the beginning of 2021, I decided to try being a little more purposeful about my offloading. I set up a goal of 1 foot per month, but told myself that if I didn't manage it, I wouldn't beat myself up over it. I figured that I'd initially do very well but would have issues meeting my monthly goal by this point in the year. Surprisingly, the project is actually going extremely well.

I've been using LibraryThing to keep track of my offloads, as I've done since 2016. My "1 foot per month" goal makes it easy to figure out whether I'm on track, because I know my number of feet needs to match my current month at some point before the end of the month.

Right now, I'm at 5.9 ft. offloaded, more than I've ever managed. It's been going much better than I expected, although I'll admit that it has definitely affected my reading choices. I concentrate a lot more on books I suspect I'd be comfortable offloading, and I've been getting through more of my manga collection. And it's forced me to be slightly more comfortable with DNFing - I've tried to make myself feel better about those by writing brief DNF reviews that I add to LibraryThing for my own benefit (when Future Me sees the book again and is maybe tempted to rebuy it, for example). A small number of my offloads have been things that, in a perfect world with much more shelf space, I'd have preferred to keep, but so far I haven't actively regretted getting rid of anything. 

Ultimately, I'd like to free up enough space so that I no longer need to keep any books in boxes and can have them all on bookshelves. At my current rate, considering that I still buy new stuff to add to my collection, that's definitely going to take longer than a year or two. But I'm still happy with my progress so far - I can actually see space opening up. Crossing my fingers that I continue to do this well during the second half of the year.


  1. Sounds like you are doing a great job! Since my parents' deaths (and having to deal with all their stuff), I decided to prioritize reading my TBR pile. I find I actually "read" less now that I am retired, but mostly because I no longer listen to audiobooks. So I have been getting through the pile (unfortunately I never measured it) and have maybe a linear foot of books left to go. These books have all been donated to Friends sales.

    1. Good job on your pile! Part of me wishes I had accurate measurements of all the books I still have left to get through so I'd know how many feet I really need to offload, but it'd take ages to correct all that data. Having accurate measurements of my offloads is about all I can manage.