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Getting Rid of Books – How to Decide When It’s Time to Part Ways

This is the time of year when I most often think about parting ways with some of the physical books that fill my bookshelves.  Every year I receive wonderful new books as Christmas gifts and then spend days trying to figure out where to put them because my shelves are already overflowing.

via GIPHY

I have to admit that as a book hoarder collector, I find it very hard to get rid of books. In the back of my mind, there’s always this little voice that tells me I might want to re-read all of my books someday and that it therefore doesn’t make sense to part ways with them.  Spoiler alert:  I rarely EVER re-read books so the little voice in my head is totally full of it.  And now that I’m doing bookstagram, that first little voice has been joined by another that says “Don’t get rid of that book. You might want to use it in a photo layout one day.”  So yeah, fun times, lol.

That’s not to say I never get rid of books though. I do. I have to. I’ve come to accept that my house just isn’t big enough to store an infinite number of books so when I’m maxed out on shelf space, I make the difficult choice to part ways with some books.

How do I decide which ones to get rid of?  Well, the easy ones are the books that I didn’t really enjoy when I read them, especially if I actually DNF’ed them.  Those are always the first to go. I know I’m never going to read them again so I go ahead and donate those, either to Goodwill or to the local library.

The books that are harder to choose from are those that I liked but didn’t necessarily love.  I kind of cheat when it comes to these books.  I’ll pull them off my shelves to make room for newer books, but I won’t part ways right away.  Instead, I box them up and shove them in the back of my closet.  If I haven’t given any of them a second thought after a few months, then I’m good with getting rid of them.  Because I did enjoy these though, I’ll usually show them to my mom and sister, who are also avid readers, and give them first pick if any are of interest, then I donate the rest.

I have an even harder time parting ways with classics. There’s just something about them that makes me feel like I should hold on to them, even if I didn’t particularly like them when I read them.  I have two copies of Moby Dick sitting on my shelves right now, for example, and I absolutely hated that book when I read it.  And as you can see from the photo above, they’re not even pretty copies of the book. Maybe it’s the collector in me or maybe I subconsciously think it makes me look smart to have classics on my shelf. Or maybe I think my son might want to read it someday. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just weird, lol.

So if classics are a struggle even if I didn’t like them, what happens if I actually loved a book?  Well, you can pretty much forget me ever parting ways with it.  It’s just not happening. Those are the books where those little voices in my head always win out.  Thankfully, although my methods are clearly far from perfect, it seems to work out well enough. I’m typically willing to get rid of just enough books each time to make room for the new ones.  If that ever ends up not being the case, I guess I’ll have to re-evaluate what I’m doing, but until that time comes, I’m content with my system.

 

So, what about you?  How do you decide which books to part ways with?