The Aliyah Files #28 How to downsize your book collection

DO YOU LOVE BOOKS? I do, plus I’m a self-proclaimed bookworm.  As much as I love books I don’t own every book I’ve read nor have kept every book I’ve bought. Gasp! Is it sacrilegious to give away books? No, it isn’t. If you’re making aliyah or even just moving across town, this is one category of items you’ll probably want to downsize.

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If you want to / need to CULL YOUR COLLECTION here’s how. I call it the Onion Analogy. It’s a process of paring down one step (layer) at a time.


  • Think of an onion with multiple layers. The first layer to peel (discard) is the books you don’t like. You couldn’t get into the story, it was boring, you liked it once upon a time but no longer. This is the easiest layer.
  • The second layer is books you read once or twice but don’t have an interest in re-reading them. If you’re needing to downsize because of a move this part of the process can have multiple layers to peel. This can be done over a period of time.  You don’t need to do this in one afternoon.  I recommend not doing this too close to a moving date if you’re moving because you may be overwhelmed and might end up taking more books than you would otherwise.
  • My guideline for the last cut of books is to ask yourself: IF I WERE TO GIVE THIS BOOK AWAY, WOULD I CHECK IT OUT OF THE LIBRARY? If yes, it’s a keeper. If no, pass it on.

So what do you do with the books you don’t want?  Many libraries accept books.  You can donate them to a thrift store, second-hand bookstore, or school.  If your community has a freecycle group you can also post there.

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Don’t worry about not finding reading material in English in Israel.  There are libraries, book swaps, books to borrow from your friends.

In Bet Shemesh, the Benjamin Library has a twice-yearly book sale (which is in two weeks) and there is a great book swap in Maale Adumim with thousands of titles.

You can get books from Book Depository, order online, use a Kindle, or download books from the library.

So before I give you any more ideas for replenishing your book stash, keep to the task at hand of DOWNSIZING what you’ve got so only your favorites make the overseas journey to your new home.

Thanks for reading.

Karen, The Klutter Koach      January 6, 2020


Published by Karen Furman

Philosophy = Your home should be organized so you know where things are, to the degree that you feel relaxed and not stressed in your space. Method = A combination of Marie Kondo + FlyLady + my own style. YOU make the decisions. YOU decide what to keep and not to keep. I help provide clarity. Attitude = Positive, enthusiastic, non-judgmental

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