The Great New Year Clean-up: Books

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

If you’re anything like me (and hey, you might not be, I’m strange), you have too many books. Go on, admit it, you have more books than you really need. Go through them. Keep the ones you want to read over and over, and keep the ones you plan on reading in the next 3 months, keep the reference books you might really refer to and get rid of everything else. I promise, it won’t hurt. Much.

What to do with all those books?

  • Give them away on Freecycle
  • Post an ad on Craigslist, either giving them away or selling them for a very nominal fee
  • Donate them to Freecycle
  • How many Bibles do you have? More than you need? Contact your local church to see where they can be put to good use.
  • Contact your local library to find out where you can donate books to worthy causes.
  • Set up a book swap with your friends. But don’t get too many or you’ll be in the same boat!

Once you’ve purged all those extra books, resist the urge to get a whole lot more! That’s going to be my problem.


  1. Jasi on January 3, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    That’s AWESOME, Pam. Count me in. I’ll start researching that tomorrow. Thanks for a creative and kind solution.

  2. Pam on January 3, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Jasi, I saw a story on the news in the last couple of weeks about a school in Africa that was collecting old text books….there was a shipping co, (fed-x or UPS) that was collecting them and shipping them for free….of course I can’t remember the details….no short term or long term memory…..but maybe a google would help you find it. God Bless, Pam, South Bend

  3. Rachel on January 3, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Oh, I just remembered – Bookcrossing. Depending on where you live it may be more or less popular, but the idea is to leave the book out for someone else.

  4. Amy on January 3, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    We are really loving our library. This is helping me to not buy more books.

  5. Jasi on January 3, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    I’m super at buying a book, reading it, loving it and passing it on permanently.

    “Dear Friend, Read it. Love it. Give it to someone else who will love it. Hot potato. Chop chop.”

    So I only keep 10 books for snuggling. And they are mostly signed William Gibson paperbacks (they take up less room).

    Buuuuutttt… that doesn’t account for text books. DH and I have a ga-gillion text books from our college days. They’re old, half don’t even apply to our jobs and there’s a layer of dust thick as.. And it hurts us to just recycle them at the curb as they were SO expensive (once upon a time).

    So what do we do with the text books we do not reference?

  6. Heather on January 3, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    This is on my to-do list as well! What perfect timing. I called the library and they will take them for their sale, which is where I’ll take all the ones I can’t sell on Amazon. Tooooo many books. No wonder I feel like I don’t have any space.

  7. hsgbdmama on January 3, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    One of my projects is to purge books I know I won’t read or books that the kids have outgrown that I don’t want to keep (twaddle all around).

    I’ve been building up a collection of classic books for our family library through our library’s excellent semi-annual used book sales, for a fraction of buying books new, plus its a small way I can financially support my library. It is fun to get hundreds of $$$ of books for under $30.

    I’ll probably donate my unwanted books to the library book sale too.

  8. Gina on January 3, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    I decided to deal with the extra books that I couldn’t trade with friends or donate to the library–romances, mostly–so I went to Paperbackswap. All of my more literary trade books went immediately and a lot of those shameful romances nobody else wants to read went quickly, too. In the first hour, I had 15 requests for my books! Now I have equal amounts of credit for books myself!

  9. Badbadivy on January 3, 2008 at 11:49 am

    What great ideas you guys have for places to take books! I know it’s hard to get rid of books. As for me, I have WAY more books than I have shelves, so I have stacks of books next to shelves, it’s really time to purge.

    And I wish I had a used bookstore closer to me! Except then I might have a lot more books, ha!

  10. Mrs. Mordecai on January 3, 2008 at 11:05 am

    I was just planning on weeding out our books since we’re moving at the end of the month. It’s so painful. There’s a great essay about this in the book Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman.

  11. Flash on January 3, 2008 at 9:07 am

    I’m still in the collecting phase… I’m trying to build a library for my future kids. However, I do donate my duplicates to the Humane Society or Salvation Army – both take book donations.

  12. Pam on January 3, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Our local Homeless Center also takes books for their library, both children’s and adults. Our public library has four sales a year and I usually buy about 30 books each time for around $15. My sister and I trade those with each other before giving them away. Pam, South Bend

  13. themomhalf on January 3, 2008 at 8:54 am

    my local library simply re-sells all donated books, and well I’ve still got room for more bookshelves………

  14. boogiemum on January 3, 2008 at 8:33 am

    I use bookmooch to swap out my books and love it!

  15. Mrs.W on January 3, 2008 at 8:01 am

    I love the library plan–because if they’re at your local library, at least you can still visit your books if you might want to read them again.

    Too bad my Mr.W won’t even consider it.

  16. JanetLee on January 3, 2008 at 6:54 am

    Nursing homes also love getting book donations!

  17. Books on January 3, 2008 at 3:32 am

    […] The Great New Year Clean-up: Books […]

  18. maudie-mae on January 3, 2008 at 2:47 am

    The other thing to do with all those books is to find a used book store. The one where I work takes them in on trade, so you can build up a credit for those books you REALLY need. You will probably have to pay some cash for the books you buy at the used store, but it will be a fraction of the cost of new books!

  19. sherry on January 3, 2008 at 12:45 am

    I have this on my “ta do” list for Friday! I have about 3 boxes to donate to the Salvation Army, another box that will go to a paperback “trade” store my husband frequents, yet another pile to add to my list, and finally, a few favorites that I am going to give away on my blog!


  20. Rachel on January 3, 2008 at 12:04 am

    No such thing as “extra” books. 😉

  21. Kendra on January 2, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    You might as well rip off my arm. I could NEVER do it. Which is the reason why I do not buy books anymore…I’m all about the library baby. LOL

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