I love books. There was a time when I accepted any book anyone was giving away and I certainly would never give any books away from my collection. But over the years, I’ve realized that in certain situations, getting rid of books can be the best choice. Here are the steps I go through for how to declutter books when you’re a book lover and don’t really want to get rid of any. Follow along with these tips when you’re decluttering and you’ll be able to let those books go without remorse.
How to Declutter Books When You Don’t Want to Let Go
Use these tips to help clear out books that you don’t need any more and make room for new, better books!
Step 1: Why did you get the book?
When going through my books, I found it helpful to think about where the book came from. A lot of the books I eventually ended up reselling/giving away were books that were given to me that I never really liked and books that were part of assigned reading.
Step 2: Does the book have meaning?
If you can’t think of any positive feelings or memories that the book gives you, or you haven’t even attempted to read the book in five years, let it go.
Step 3: Is the book a collector’s item?
A lot of my books that I’ve picked up recently aren’t really books I want to read, but books that I purchase because they are a prettier edition of a book I already had (in which case I got rid of the ugly version) or rare(ish) books that I picked up because I loved the cover or I love the book and wanted a collector’s edition. Old books that are falling apart and ugly, I ditched.
Step 4: Are you done with that phase?
I have a lot of books from different reading phases of my life. This time around, I got rid of most paperback science fiction, historical fiction, and YA dystopian. I enjoyed these books, but I’m done with that phase of life. I don’t need the books sticking around when that is no longer me. These books also didn’t have enough staying power for me to save for someone else (see step 5).
Step 5: Do you really need it on your shelf?
I prefer reading books in my hands, but if it’s a book I’ve already read, and didn’t love, but did like, I will still get rid of it and perhaps buy the ebook version if I want to read it again. Exceptions are made if I want to save the book for my kids to read. But it turns out, I had almost a hundred books that I enjoyed reading but didn’t feel the need to pass on to the next generation.
Step 6: Will you read it again?
If you don’t plan to read a book again or pass it along to someone else, there still might be a few reasons to keep it, such as if it has exclusive content, if the cover is pretty, or if it is signed. But in most cases, if you don’t plan to read the book again, there’s no reason to hang onto it.
Step 7: Enjoy your free-er shelves
Once you get rid of these books, you feel accomplished. I’m happy to know that the books I’ve kept are ones I want to read again or have someone else read, and that they are a reflection of who I am today. It turns out, how to declutter books is not only possible, but it can also feel great!