Does the thought of getting rid of or donating your old books make you break out into hives? Are you scared that your house will eventually collapse from the weight of all of your books? Are you making a New Year’s Resolution to declutter your shelves? If you’ve answered YES to any of these question then this post is FOR YOU, YES, YOU.
This GIF is kind of my life you guys.
In 2013 I made a resolution to cull 100 books, not even knowing that I would end up changing jobs and moving. I guess I just recognized that my book collection was out of control even back then. Granted, like many of you I actually do subscribe to the school of thought that you can never have too many books, however my boyfriend does not. I will straight up admit that it is really, really hard to let go of books even ones that honestly have zero sentimental value to me.
My feels when culling and packing and moving.
Here is the thing, when you move it is a heavy pain in the ass to lug box after box after box of books. I’ll tell you all that I began to resent my books after carrying the boxes up and down some stairs. That was the point where I said to myself, let’s actually do this resolution and get rid of all of these books. It was hard at first, but the more I got rid of, the easier it became.
Here’s a few guidelines I used:
- Is it a classic? If the book isn’t a special edition, has no sentimental value, and in the public domain, I culled it. I had a lot of battered paperback classics that were yellowing that had no sentimental value to me, so I donated them and downloaded the Project Gutenberg version to my kindle. Special note: if your classic is a translation that is particularly good and NOT in the public domain, it’s totally okay to hang onto it.
- Does this book still interest me? If not, I got rid of it. It was hard to train my brain out of the mindset where I would hang onto something because it MIGHT interest me someday.
- Can I get it at the library? Luckily I am still in the same Four County Library System so, I could just go online and check to see if the library system had the book I was thinking of culling. If it didn’t, I would go back to does the book interest me, and if so, I would keep it.
- Will I honestly read this book again? Will Tony read it? If the answer to both was no, and the book wasn’t sentimental to me, I culled it.
- Is it an ARC? Guys, I even got rid of signed ARCs, because A) I didn’t love the book and B) I wasn’t going to re-read it.
- Is it sentimental? Look, we have several copies of To Kill A Mockingbird and The Phantom Tollbooth because those books mean something personally to us. Tony and I both have the same edition of The Phantom Tollbooth but we kept both copies because they represent an important piece of our childhood.
Special note: These are just MY PERSONAL GUIDELINES for culling MY PILE, you don’t have to use these guidelines when you cull.
I kind of want to delve into ARCs a bit more and confess to you guys that where I have THE MOST TROUBLE with my book collection is with unread ARCs. I hang onto those things like I will get a demerit from the publisher if I don’t read that ARC they sent me back in 2010. Isn’t that nuts? I also hang onto sequel ARCs to books I haven’t read as well as sequels to books I didn’t like on the off chance that I might read it some day. I also keep hanging onto hardcover review copies of books that I currently am not interested in — just in case. It’s really hard but a few days ago, I basically made myself get rid of five ARCs from 2010-2011 and add them to my library shelf on goodreads, because honestly at this point they just take up space and it’s not like I was making a special effort to read them. I think my next step is going to be to cull those hardcover copies of books I am just not that into.
OH! And I created a super awesome flow chart, you’ll have to click it to make it bigger. It was a new experience to make, so please be gentle on me. I am not a graphic designer. I am totally a novice in flow chart creation AND definitely left some options out.
What do you think?
How do you decide what books to cull?
Do you have trouble donating certain types of books?
Are you an ARC hoarder?
Do you have any special tips and tricks for culling your books?
This hoarder totally needs your advice!