About once a year, I go through my shelves and get rid of as many books as I can bear. Some years, that’s a lot of books. Some years, it’s a single grocery bag.
This year, I was brutal and cut 39 books.
My shelves were getting ridiculously packed so it as about time to be ruthless. To top that off, I wanted to clear off a mini-bookcase for DVDs so I really, really needed to get rid of a decent number of books this time around.
And I did.
When I started culling, I went through my shelves and asked three questions:
- Am I really ever going to read it?
- Exactly how many times have I tried to read it?
- Will I ever read it again?
Those questions worked pretty well.
Am I Really Ever Going to Read It?
The first question was the hardest because I have a lot (and I mean a lot) of unread books. Thankfully, I’ve gotten to know myself and my reading habits fairly well over the years. Now, I’m able to answer “No” to books that would have been a “Yes” two years ago.
For example, I 100% know that I am never going to read the Odyssey or the Iliad. It’s just not going to happen. I also know that I’m not going to read the second book in a series when I don’t even own the first. Ditto for YA Paranormal Fantasies and books by authors I don’t particularly like.
This question alone brought my unhauling up to 25 books.
Exactly How Many Times Have I Tried to Read It?
I’ve been holding onto Possession and Time and Again for YEARS. I don’t know how many times I’ve started both of those books, but I’ve never made it past page ten.
It’s about time I gave up that fight.
The second question wasn’t nearly as hard as the first because I knew exactly what books I needed to cut with it. I’ve tried to read all of the books in this pile MULTIPLE times, but I never got through them. It’s silly of me to keep them on my shelves at this point.
And that’s 8 more books going away!
Will I Ever Read It Again?
Of course, this is the smallest pile. Last year, I read a lot of books from the library and not many off my shelves. Needless to say, there weren’t too many books that I needed to fret over with this question.
While I kept Foundation and Assassin’s Apprentice, I had to admit that I was never going to read Carpe Jugulum or The 100 again. Sometimes, the decision between keeping and tossing is a difficult one. Sometimes, it’s very easy. All of these books–except maybe The Seventh Bride–weren’t difficult decisions to make.
That’s 6 more books leaving my shelves without causing too much pain!
Now, What to Do With All These Books?
A few years ago, I would have tried to sell some of these on Amazon, but that became pretty fruitless once the seller’s marketplace was taken over by people listing books for a penny. Now, I just donate most of them to the library. Occasionally, I try to sell a new book on Ebay first, but if it doesn’t sell after a month, it goes in the donation box too.
I’ve also toyed with trying to send books to Powell’s in exchange for a gift card or money, but I haven’t tried it yet. Any one have experience with that sort of thing?
Overall, I’m very pleased with all the books I was able to get rid of this unhauling. I need to get them out of the house though. . .which is more difficult than you might think since my go-to library isn’t accepting donations until their renovation is over. I’m crossing my fingers in hope that it will be completed within the next month. We’ll see. . .
How do you go about unhauling your books? What to you do with the books you unhaul?
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