Hi friends! It’s been a little bit! Unfortunately this past week something got into me and I just didn’t feel like blogging. I had a whole schedule planned, but exactly *none* of it came to fruition. I guess that happens sometimes though, and instead I was inspired by a recent decision I made to write this discussion post!
Before I dive in, I gotta give my friend Jordyn @ Jordz the Bibliophile a really big thanks, because without her I probably would’ve gotten rid of maybe 5 or 6 books and my “unhauling” would barely be anything to speak of. With her encouragement (and persistence on donating practically everything
okay not everything), I was able to unload a total of 30 books from my shelves! And here’s why this is sort of a big deal for me:
My TBR (aka the mountain of books that I currently own but haven’t read) was at a whopping total of 153 prior to my unhauling. Now, it’s down to 123, and I haven’t seen it in the 120s in over a year! I know, most of you are now reading this and probably think I’m secretly a crazy old woman that hoards books like some people hoard newspapers or animatronic singing fish. But I assure you I’m just a girl that’s been collecting books for a VERY long time and has a tendency to buy them much faster than she reads them. So to finally dust off those shelves and get rid of the books that no longer interest me was a big change – one that I’m very glad to have made.
This post is gonna be in two parts – why you should consider doing an unhauling, and how to do one. So here we go!
Why should I unload books from my shelf that a) I probably paid good money for, and b) might still one day enjoy, you ask? Well, I was once like you my friend, asking the same questions. And those are very good points! For one, books do cost money, which is why if you’re really no longer interested in a book, there’s definitely someone out there that can and will appreciate it more than you. Of course, if you’re not in a financial place to be getting rid of things, that’s a different story. But if you have it to spare, sharing books with the world is never a bad thing. Just thinking of the fact that some kid might come to the library, pick up one of the books I donated, and really enjoy it makes it 10000 times worth the effort!
But I still might read that book! What if it’s potentially my next favorite book of all-time? As I was going through deciding what books to unhaul, this question plagued my mind the most. Of course, in unhauling a book you do risk throwing away a great read, but think of it this way: compared to a book on the tip top of your TBR, which do you think you would enjoy the most? The book that’s been intentionally neglected for years, or the book that you’ve got a burning desire to read this minute? Life is short people, which means we can’t afford to waste time on books that we don’t really want to read. I know for me, a lot of the books on my TBR start to feel like an obligation, like just because I bought it twelve years ago and have yet to read it means that I owe it to the book. But even writing that out feels so silly! If you don’t truly want to read something, don’t read it, and pass it on to a place that could actually use it.
Lastly, the satisfying feeling of cleaning out my shelf was a reward I never expected, but really loved. Now, when I look at my slightly-empty-but-mostly-still-full bookshelf, it looks so much less cluttered. I just see the books that I truly love or am excited for, and it looks better. I also feel a lot less pressure from my TBR, because those books that I didn’t actually want to read are no longer hanging over me!
So now you’ve seen the light and decided to unhaul some books! But where to start? Well, here’s how I did it. Of course, everyone is different and you are taking advice from someone that’s done this exactly *one* time, so there’s no right and wrong way to do an unhauling. Make it your own!
I knew for a while before that I wanted to do an unhauling, but never got around to it. I finally started on one random night that I was sort of feeling bored, where I didn’t want to read my current book, I was too lazy to blog, and had already watched my fill of Netflix. So, I got Jordyn on FaceTime (getting a friend to help was an A+ decision, she helped keep my hoarding side in check and convinced me to donate things that I otherwise might’ve kept), started at the top of my biggest bookshelf, and just went down the rows.
For the most part, it’s going to be fairly obvious what books you want to keep and which to get rid of. There were a lot of books that I’ve already read and loved, or know that I want to read. Then there were books that I read and disliked. Those all fall into one category or the other.
But for the rare book that rode the line between keep or give away, here’s some questions that Jordyn and I thought of to help make the choice:
- Exactly how long has this been left unread on your shelf?
- Why did you buy it in the first place?
- Can you describe what this book is actually about? If not, read the synopsis again to see if it’s something that still sounds good.
- If you had to choose between Book A and Book B, which would you choose?
- Do you want to read this just because everyone else has, or because it actually interests you?
- Would someone else appreciate this more than you?
- (And my personal favorite) Would you care if this book suddenly got lost or disappeared?
Asking myself any number of these questions usually helped me realize where a book belonged. Some common types of books that I gave away included: books I had gotten as gifts and never really wanted in the first place; middle grade reads I had simply grown out of; super old YA books like Vampire Diaries that I’m no longer interested in; books I instantly regretted buying the same day of purchase; school required reading that I disliked; and freebies from book festivals/cons or subscription boxes.
Okay, now you’ve sorted through all your books and you have a pile to unload! One of the toughest things for me besides deciding what books to unhaul, was figuring out what to do with them! In my case, I ended up sending a handful to someone that expressed interest on bookstagram, and the rest went to my local public library. But here’s a list of options:
- Give to public facilities like libraries and schools
- Donate to non-profit organizations like Goodwill or Metropolitan Ministries
- Have a giveaway on your blog/social media
- Give to friends and family that are interested
- Regift some books to friends (if you’re feeling a little skimpy that day)
- Host a tea party where you read books and eat tasty crumpets and each guest leaves with a book
- Place books on an intergalactic mission through space so they are the first objects to make contact with an alien species
Okay so I might be kidding with a few of those, but getting rid of your books really isn’t too hard!
And that’s it! Your complete guide on unhauling books. Here’s a picture of all 30 books I pulled off my shelves, in case anyone was curious what the state of my bed looked like afterwards.