The Peril of Parting With Books

This weekend I finally did something I’ve told myself I would do for ages. I went through my bookshelves and started making piles of what I didn’t like, what I started,put down, and never picked back up, and what I knew deep down I would never read. I told myself I had to be merciless, and I think I accomplished that.

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So many book sales come and go and I grab things if I think I’ll want to read them someday. This mentality has come in handy literally one time (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society). Once! All of those piles had to go. I’m running out of space entirely too quickly, and these were just collecting dust and taunting me from afar. So now I have two large piles sitting in a hallway, waiting to find better homes. I’ve been sending pictures of the piles to friends, and friends of friends, asking if they would please take them off my hands: If I’m not reading them, someone else might as well!

To avoid becoming a future episode of hoarders, this becomes necessary, and like this Book Riot video says, your books don’t have feelings, no matter how much we love them!

I’m attempting to spend the rest of the year reading mainly books I already own, or only buying a book if I know I’ll read it right away, because despite this cleaning session, I still have more than enough on my list of things I want to read!

Do you have trouble getting rid of books? How do you decide what goes?

23 comments

  1. I know this needs to happen for me…and soon. My husband and I set up a library about a year ago and expanded by about three large bookshelves. They’re already filled. It’s ridiculous and needs to be fixed. Good for you – I bet it feels great!

  2. For some reason I do build some strange sentimental relationship with my books, even ones I didn’t enjoy or will never read. So yeah, it’s hard letting them go, but sometimes you just have to! 😀

  3. I definitely have trouble getting rid of books! During my Christmas break I made myself go through my shelves and get rid of a lot of books. I got rid of them if I didn’t feel like reading it at that moment (if not now, I probably wouldn’t in the future) and if I wasn’t planning on rereading it. I ended up donating so many books! It feels so great when you finally have room on your shelves again 🙂

  4. I regularly cull my bookshelves. Most of my favorites I don’t own anymore, because I’ve thrust them into hands of other people demanding they read them. I buy lots of books that I read as ARCs if I love them and want to re-read or I just want to support the author. But many books find their way to my husband’s classroom. Working in a library means I mostly have access to anything I want, so I’m only really sentimental about favorites or things that are out of print or difficult to find.

  5. I am emotionally attached to my books, even though they don’t return the sentiment. 🙂 I “cleaned house” a few months ago and made myself get rid of about 20 books. It was hard, even though I know I would have never read them again. But I have to admit that it’s a little nicer to look at my shelves now that some of the overflow has been cleaned up.

  6. What do you mean “get rid of books”? I think I’ve managed to donate one book in my adult life. I know I have books I will likely never read again, and there’s a chance I won’t read/finish some of the books in my TBR piles, but I just can’t bring myself to get rid of them.

  7. Years ago I used to keep every book. Then my family was like omg mom, we don’t have room to walk. I don’t know what happened but one day I decided to be brutal about the culling. I donate books, give them to other bloggers, release them into the wild. My criteria for keeping a book is fluid. I might keep a book if I know I’ll reread it, or if I think one of my kids will, or if I want to just look at it for another month or two. Even absolutely loving a book is no guarantee that I’ll keep it. In that case I’m more likely to press it into a friend’s hands.

  8. I have actually just been going through my own stash. We just put up a new bookcase, and as I fill it I am weeding some out. I have gotten rid of quite a few, but it really only just makes a dent. I will have to do it again soon, but I do find it so hard to part with any of them (even the ones I don’t know if I will ever get to).

  9. I watched that video a couple of weeks ago and at first I was totally offended. What do you mean books aren’t like people?? But then I sat and thought about it and realized she was right. I need to do this soon. But I’m stalling until I find a proper home for them. I was trying to get in touch with a recovery home to see if they would take them but I never heard back. I can’t just dump them somewhere. Once I do though, it’s on.

  10. Doesn’t culling your shelves feel so good?! I’ve been so much better lately about avoiding sales and just buying one book when I’m dying to read it. It helps keep the TBR pile so much more manageable!

  11. I just went through this process myself and wrote about it here: http://www.booksuniverseeverything.com/2014/11/01/on-weeding-your-book-collection/

    If it makes you feel better – I got rid of over 250 books, and so far do not regret it or miss them. Granted, I have 1350 left. 😀 But it did feel like I was getting rid of a lot – and it was hard to do. I’m making it a long term goal (it’s a recurring reminder on my calendar) to go through my shelves every month and continue to pare down my collection. Not nearly as dramatic as 250 of course, but even just 1 or 2 a month will help. Plus – going through my entire collection reminds me of how much there is to read… and I read more, and I buy less new books. Double win!

  12. I just did this recently too. I only really got rid of books I haven’t read though. I struggle to get rid of books I have read unless I really didn’t like them.

  13. Pingback: February Wrap Up |

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