For the bibliophiles among us, parting with books is simply not an option when it comes to decluttering your home. The thought of throwing a book away, even if it has long outlived its usefulness in your life, seems impossible…almost sacrilegious. Yet there are only so many shelves to accommodate the books accumulated over the years, and action must be taken eventually.
Fortunately, there are ways to pare down the number of books we own and alternatives other than the landfill for discarding them. Follow these book-reducing strategies from Simplify.
How to say goodbye
Deciding which books to get rid of is often the hardest step. Here are some helpful suggestions:
- Don’t get too attached to a series. You don’t have to keep a series of books if only one or two were your favorites. Keep the ones you love and put the others in the discard pile.
- Cut back on the number of cookbooks you own—many of which you most likely rarely open—and instead, transfer your favorite recipes from these books to recipe cards.
- Say goodbye to old textbooks. Granted, you may have spent a pretty penny on these academic tomes, and they may serve as a nostalgic reminder of your good ol’ college days, but unless they still serve a purpose, such as relating to your current profession, it’s time to part ways.
- Make a pile of books you’ve already read and are sure not to read again. Holding onto books that you didn’t love or that you’ll never open again for whatever reason is simply a waste of space. The books in your home should represent a collection of items you love, just like any other collection. Don’t hold onto the ones that have no meaning.
- Supplement with an ereader or audio books. Many book lovers hold steadfast to the belief that nothing compares to reading the physical version of your favorite story. While that may hold true, you can supplement with digital versions of books that hold less importance to you, such as a trendy self-help book, light fare like mysteries or romance, or a reference book you need to read for a class or project.
How to discard
There are so many good uses for books you no longer want that throwing them in the garbage should be a last-resort option. Donating used books to your library or a book recycling bin is always the way to go except in the following cases:
- Books that have water damage or are stained should not be given away.
- Don’t donate old library books. See if the library would like them back.
- Out-of-date books, such as old encyclopedias and text books, are most likely of no use to anyone.
- Always call your local book donation center before you choose to discard or donate your old book. They can advise you on the best way to part with your books.
If there is no further use for the books you want to get rid of, recycle them. If the pages have gotten wet or turned brown, however, the trash, unfortunately, is the only option.