Are you decluttering your bookshelves and having a hard time deciding which books to let go of? From the adventure a book took you on to the “going to read” pile, sorting through and purging your bookshelf is difficult without a few guiding rules.
While we might dream of building our own personal library, with limited shelf space, keeping every book that lands in your lap quickly gets unmanageable. So, until you have space to build the library of your dreams, here’s how to cut down on the books you own.
How to Get Rid of Books:
**Click to auto scroll by section
Step #1 Hold one book at a time.
The most efficient way to sort and purge books is to go book by book and shelf by shelf. Quickly read the summary on the flap and/or a short passage to refresh your memory, then sort it into one of four piles: keep, donate, sell, and recycle (if paperback).
Take your time considering each book to avoid being overwhelmed with regret later — but if you’re moving on a crazy short deadline and need to do a major book downsizing, the books you can quickly get rid of from your collection are:
- Heavily used and worn-out books.
- Books you really disliked and/or couldn’t finish.
- Old textbooks that you haven’t touched since graduating.
- Outdated reference books (the internet is more up to date).
- Books you know aren’t your taste and you are never going to read.
Need help downsizing before a move? BOOK A PICKUP ❯
Step #2 Ask these questions about each book.
While going through your bookshelves, you may run into your TBR pile (books that you haven’t read) and aren’t sure if you’re ready to find another home for it. When struggling with how to decide what books to keep, these questions can help you declutter your bookshelves.
For books that you have read, ask:
Did I like it?
Would I recommend it?
Will I ever read it again?
Does it hold any sentimental value?
For books that you haven’t read, ask:
Will I ever read this?
Why haven’t I read this?
Is this book a timeless classic?
Does this book fit in the library I’d want?
How many books you keep is a personal choice. It’s up to you whether you want to limit your library to 50 or 500 books. Just know, the more you keep the more it becomes a lifestyle.
If you must get rid of a lot of books, stay disciplined and honest and remind yourself that your goal is to rid your home of books you no longer want or need.
Can’t answer some questions? If the book is in good shape, just put it in the donate pile.
Just doing a little spring cleaning? When lightly decluttering your bookshelves, check out reviews or GoodReads before you decide to keep a book you haven’t read to ensure you will like the author’s style. This way you only keep books you will end up reading and enjoying.
Moving and need to downsize your books? Be strict with the books you liked and would recommend. If they aren’t going to be re-read or don’t hold sentimental value, donate them.
💻 Pro tip: Download your favorite, bulkiest books to your phone or reading tablet. Not only do you get to keep the book, but it doesn’t take up any space.
Step #3 Decide on how to get rid of your books.
Once you’ve tidied up and put your “keep” pile of books away, it’s time to get rid of your old textbooks, unwanted novels, outdated reference books, and more.
Where can I get rid of books?
- Donate textbooks to a university’s bookstore to help current students save a little money.
- Sell unwanted books online or to bookshops if they are especially valuable versions.
- Recycle old paperback books by putting them in your curbside recycling bin.
- Drop off old books at a local charity shop for someone else to pick it up.
- Throwing away books in the trash is an option but not eco-friendly.
- Give away books to a friend or family member that will read it.
If you also have old home office junk and other bulky furniture to get rid of along with your books, save time and skip the workout by having LoadUp’s local experts pickup unwanted books and other items for green solutions like donation, recycling, and safe disposal.
If you’re having difficulty letting go of books…
It can be pretty painful to get rid of books. However, working on changing your mindset when it’s difficult is a powerful tool in life and great tip for decluttering books.
Let go of the thought, “what if I need this later?” as it is a scarcity mindset. This is a limiting belief that’s just not useful. If you do need it again you can always download it later.
Think of donating books as a way to spread the love. You can also focus on the shelf space you’re gaining for new books you’re currently wanting to read to flip the ‘decluttering books’ process into a positive feeling.
Your library is a reflection of your interests. And just like you, your taste in literature goes through changes. What used to be an interesting premise may now put you to sleep. By decluttering your bookshelves you can get rid of old books that are only collecting dust and keep a library that only contains the titles that will inspire you to read.
📚Dreaming of having your own library? Look at your home with fresh eyes for a room that is underutilized. Removing old furniture opens up room (and wall space) to create your own reading oasis. Don’t even worry about the heavy lifting. Take a look at items LoadUp can get rid of for you.
Related Articles from the Trash Talk Blog: