I have a book collecting problem. I have this dream of having a library with a sliding ladder in my house, which means I am quick to hang onto a book so I can fill those future shelves. Every January, I like to comb through my bookshelves and determine what books actually deserve to be in that future library. I’d now rather have 10 books I love than 100 books I only kinda like!
Here are some of my tips for paring down your shelves, determining which books you should keep, and getting rid of those unwanted books sustainably.
Should I keep a book I’ve already read?
Do I want to read this book again?
Do I have fond memories of reading this book?
Does this book have sentimental value?
If the answer to any or multiple of these questions is yes, I would keep the book on your shelves.
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Should I keep a book I haven’t read?
Do I see myself reading this book in the next year?
Do I have access to a library system where I could borrow this book if I change my mind?
If I didn’t already own this book, would I want to buy it or read it?
Has someone whose opinion I trust told me I’d like this book
If the answer to all or most of these questions is no, I’d get rid of the book.
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How do I get rid of unwanted books?
Ask your friends or neighbors if they’d like any of your books.
Drop your books at a Little Free Library.
Sell them to a local secondhand bookshop.
List them on Depop or your local Facebook Marketplace.
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