Why Unhauling 30 Books Was the Best Decision I Ever Made

Why Unhauling 30 Books Was the Best Decision I Ever Made

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!

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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!

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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.


Have you ever done an unhauling? If not, have I convinced you to do one? How do you guys manage your TBR?

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24 thoughts on “Why Unhauling 30 Books Was the Best Decision I Ever Made”

  1. I’ve done a few of them, normally when I’m in a state of transition. One happened a few months ago and felt good. One of the books I let someone borrow that I knew was unlikely to give it back made me sad for a bit because while I didn’t love the book I liked it enough, but in the end it’s not like I’ve bought myself a new copy of the book.

    Now that my shelves are officially too full and while I want to buy a second shelf, I also don’t want 2 half empty shelves or to buy a tonne more books to fill them, I have been eyeing a handful of books I think I might want to unhaul. One candidate that i think would be a good one to donate the one reason I haven’t convinced myself to do so yet is that it’s the only purple book on my rainbow shelf and it looks so pretty!

    1. Haha I definitely can think of a few books I have on my shelf simply because they look pretty! Honestly books are expensive, so I don’t see a point in getting rid of it if I still want to keep it for one reason or another. It’s probably a good idea to do an unhauling before you decide to buy a new shelf, I know that whenever I get a new shelf it usually results in more book buying, lol! Good luck! <3

  2. I recently gave away quite a few books to the elderly home where my grandfather lives. Not for them to read (most of them were YA and I can’t really see any of the people living there reading them lol) but because they’ll sell them and use the money for the residents, so not only will the books find a new home, it will also make the elderly home a better (and more fun) place to live 🙂

    You still have so many books left to read omg! I can imagine wanting to unhaul them at some point haha.

    1. Omg yes my TBR is borderline insanity. I’m sure I will have to do another unhaul soon because 120 book is just too dang many for one person lol. That’s such a cool thing that you donated to your grandfather’s elderly home, I should add that option to my list! It sounds like a really great cause! <3

    1. It really was! To be honest, as weird as it might sound, I’m already starting to think about what I could unhaul next ? It’s not like I wanna get rid of all my books, but there are just so many I’m starting to realize that I really don’t want to read.

    1. Ahaha no a lot of those are actually really good books, so I wouldn’t blame you for picking them up. I’ve just personally lost interest in them. Goodwill is a great place to find affordable books! ❤️

  3. I did an unhaul a couple months ago actually! Not 30, but a significant amount for me. I gave all my books to my local Friends of the Library. The money from sold books goes to the library and you get a nice tax write off every time you do it so it’s a win win.

    I don’t manage my TBR ?. I’m a mood reader so sometimes I’ll pick up books that aren’t even on my TBR. I did clean out my TBR on Goodreads awhile back. Despite not using it religiously, it was very freeing to do so.

    1. I’ve heard of that program!! I’m pretty sure the library I donated to actually is a part of that. I should definitely look into it more the next time I need to unload some books! And I’m trust me I understand I never read the stuff I actually set out to read for the month or even the year, I always just end up picking up random book as I go ?

  4. I am so proud of you for unhauling 30 freaking books! I’ve unhauled a couple of books here and there, mainly for a school club lol. I currently have a bag full of books that I want out of my life and I have no idea how it got this bad. I wouldn’t buy books until I finished the ones I already had. Clearly that system went out the door but I’m not sure if I want to donate them, resale them, or do a giveaway.*looks off into the distance* <3

    1. Thanks haha I’m kinda proud of myself too! I’m already planning to do another unhauling later this year when my school hosts it’s yearly book drive. I understand how you feel though, there were so many books on my shelf that I was just like “What was I thinking when I bought this??” I definitely have a serious TBR problem, lol. And as for the books you’re getting rid of, you could always do a mix of all those things! Maybe donate the ones in the worst condition and save the others for resale/giveaway?

      1. I think all us bookworms have a tbr problem! Darn you new releases for setting me back millions of years. ?
        That’s such great advice! I’ll definitely be donating the not so pristine books and we shall see what happens to the rest.

        1. Yes the constant new releases make it such a struggle to ever get caught up! And good luck with your books, I’m sure you’ll find just the right place for them! ?

  5. So glad I could be of assistance! This post was actually super funny and now you’re free from reading thirty more books (that you probably were never going to pick up anyway)! I mean, the one with the DOLLS? Nope.

    1. LOL I’m surprised you’re not laughing at me for writing an entire post on something that I almost didn’t do ? And yeeaaah that doll book was one of the ones I instantly regretted buying! ?

  6. I’ve been meaning to unhaul some books on my shelf for a while! I have a small pile hidden in the corner of my room with about 5 or 6 books that I want to unhaul FOR SURE because they’re either books that I read and didn’t like very much or books I’m sure I don’t want to read anymore! I definitely need to unhaul more books because my physical TBR is getting out of hand! Thanks for the tips though! I’ll definitely be applying your questions when asking myself whether to keep or give away a book 🙂 <3

    1. lol glad to hear I could be of some help! I definitely felt so much better after unloading those books, your TBR will really thank you. Good luck doing your unhauling when you get around to it!! ❤️

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