Organizing Books

Are you a book collector? Here’s how to say goodbye to books.

Buying a lot of cleaning products doesn’t make your home clean and buying organizing products doesn’t mean your home will be organized. The same goes for books. Having shelves loaded with books doesn’t mean you’ll soak up all that knowledge or be super smart. Sometimes keeping books shows us how much knowledge we’ve accumulated or how hard we’ve studied the material. Of course we’re proud of that. So giving them up would perhaps inflate that pride and prevent us from “showing others” what we’ve read and know.

Other times, people just don’t know how to get rid of books and where to take them. That problem is not uncommon. On top of that, books are heavy and not easy to move around so it makes getting rid of them even a greater challenge. Here are some ideas of how to downsize your book collection or library and where to donate them.

How to Downsize Books

  • Count the number of books you have- yes, that’s right. Either one shelf at a time, one box at a time, or every book you own. Now you have that number in your head. Set a concrete goal- I’d like to get rid of 30% of my books, 20% of my books, etc. Now calculate the math. If you have 100 books, getting rid of 20% would be 20 books. Go back to your bookshelves or boxes and just pick 20. You’ll be surprised how easy this exercise can be. I bet you’ll get rid of more than you think.
  • Consider transitioning to an e-reader such as a Nook or Kindle.This will obviously save a lot of space.
  • Get rid of the books you’ve read, keeping only the ones you haven’t. That’s an easy way to eliminate books. Or do the opposite. Keep only your absolute favorites.
  • Check publishing dates in the front cover for medical reference books, travel books, and any type of book that would go “out of date”. Promise yourself you won’t hold onto anything that is “x” number of years old. You set the bar. Better yet, just use the internet from “how to” help and research. It’s free and takes up way less space.
  • Rent books from your local library instead of buying them.
  • Don’t allow yourself to make room by packing up boxes of books and leaving them in a storage room or basement. You’ll forget what you have and won’t want to go shuffling through box after box looking for the one book you’ll need.
  • Move cookbooks into the kitchen. You won’t use them if they are in your home library or living room. Or better yet keep only a few and rely on the internet for great recipes.

Where to Recycle or Donate Books

  • Try calling your local library(s) in your community. Ask if they take donations. Most do and many have summer book sales.
  • If your local private or public high school has a library, they’d appreciate books that would be useful to students. Such as historical or biographical books.
  • If you’re computer savvy- sell your books on,, and Yes, it does really work- if you have the time and energy.
  • You could get back some of the money you shelled out.
  • Get cash for your books. Their website can answer many of your questions.
  • When you donate books to Books4Cause, Inc., you help create libraries in Africa and support a unique free-to-use bookstore in Skokie, IL.
  • Stick Figure Books will pick up your books (any amount and any type) and pay you for your books within ten days.
  • In the Denver area donate for a good cause to Philanthropage.
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