Post Academic

Hoarders, Academic Edition: Lessons From Tim Gunn. Yes, That Tim Gunn.

Posted in Surviving Grad School by Caroline Roberts on April 6, 2010
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Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionLeaving grad school or looking for a fresh start? Trying to suppress those hoarding instincts so vividly described by Arnold? You’ll feel even more liberated if you can figure out what is most important to you and get rid of the extra books that have been crowding you out of house and home.

A few tips from fashion mentor Tim Gunn can help with your spring cleaning. Gunn hosted a show called “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style,” in which he helped women clean out their closets and choose what items to keep, toss, or donate. The same rules can apply if you are having trouble parting with a few books.

Keep: This is the fun part. Set aside plenty of time to go through your books, and choose the books that either mean a lot to you or the books that you think you’ll need for later. Let your sentimental flag fly.

Toss: Most of your books probably ended up in the “Keep” pile, didn’t they? Now it’s time to stop being sentimental. Try to part ways with half the books you initially want to keep. Hang on to first editions, autographed copies, “milestone” books, or books you know you will read later. (This is different from books you think you will read later.) Spending a lot of money on a book is not a good reason to keep it if you’re not going to use it, even if it is a Routledge book with a foxy cover.

Donate or Sell:
If you’re the donating type, your local library may want your books for a book sale. You could also announce a book yard sale on your friendly department listserv. But, if you want to make some bread off this endeavor, go no further than The Powell’s Web site features an interface that lets you input a book’s ISBN number. Once you input the number or a set of numbers, Powell’s will tell you a) if they want your book or not or b) how much they are willing to pay for your book if they want it. You print out a mailing label, they pay for shipping, and the money goes into your PayPal account. The process at Powell’s is much, much easier than what you will find at eBay and Amazon Marketplace. No excuses!

Even if you don’t plan on leaving grad school or academia, sorting through your books on a yearly basis can keep you organized, and being organized is always a time-saver.

Listen to Tim Gunn! Photo by Jennifer Boyer posted under a Creative Commons license, from Wikimedia Commons.

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