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Decluttering - but how do I say goodbye to books?

(84 Posts)
petitpois Fri 25-Sep-15 09:38:01

I am having a massive clear out. So far I've been really ruthless and there are boxes and boxes of things ready to go to charity shops. But...I've now got to my books. There are many on the shelves I loved when I read them but I'm unlikely to read again. Still, I feel quite emotionally attached to them - I don't know why. How do I do this with no regrets? They're just gathering dust. But they feel so much a part of me. Any advice welcome!

Teetime Fri 25-Sep-15 09:45:38

The British Heart Foundation are particularly looking for books to sell in September - think about your books going towards helping someone else heart in a different way. I know its hard but you will love the space you have created - we're doing it to- all or books are my husbands babies!!

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 25-Sep-15 10:01:27

Just take them. You will have forgotten about them by next day.

And then get a Kindle? Any of your old books that you do miss will probably be cheap on Kindle by now.

Luckygirl Fri 25-Sep-15 10:08:46

I know how hard it is to say goodbye to books - but jingle is right about the kindle. I have had several mass book chuck-outs and found it a wrench.

Also, some charity shops are not mad about books any more, simply because people have kindles and the like and they do not sell as well as they used to.

Auntieflo Fri 25-Sep-15 10:10:36

You could try local charities first, but if they are overloaded, you could try Freecycle. I felt the same about my well loved books, but in the end a lovely lady came, via Freecycle, and took loads. She asked whether I minded if they were sold on as she was having a fund raising for the local bell ringing society. Job done. I have shelf space and the club hopefully made a bit of cash. smile

Anniebach Fri 25-Sep-15 10:10:55

Unless you really have to part with your books - don't ,or store them for a while and see if you like your home without them . No warmth in a kindle , no memories of books given to you or books you bought

harrigran Fri 25-Sep-15 10:16:58

I have no problem with getting rid of books, at the end of the day they are just bits of paper. I read them and pass them to friends or put them in the recycling. Books are clutter and attract dust.

WilmaKnickersfit Fri 25-Sep-15 10:20:42

We've been talking about this too. We're both hoarders so it's hard to give away something like books and CDs. At the moment we're thinking about storing them in the loft. It might sound daft, but I can't get the idea out of my head that we might find ourselves some day without the Internet and access to our devices with books and music.

granjura Fri 25-Sep-15 10:23:27

when we made the BIG move, that was the hardest thing to do. Fortunately we had 2 specialist charity book shops which we happy to take any 'good quality books'. Some I gave to the wildlife rescue I used to volunteer with, and they sold for pence, and others went to a Holiday complex I worked with, for guests.

Those specialist charity bookshops are my downfall when we visit- especially the one in Market Harborough which is full to the brim of superb books.

henetha Fri 25-Sep-15 10:27:54

Oh, I do understand! My books are like best friends, I just cannot bring myself to get rid of them...
Good luck.

LottieSweetpea Fri 25-Sep-15 10:34:53

I love books too and long for a wall of bookcases to display them properly
DH is not a reader though and so I have mine stored in various places and just some out
I have a Kindle too but mine is no good out in the sun or in the bath!

downtoearth Fri 25-Sep-15 10:36:11

I have this task looming,but like petitpois I feel emotionally attached to my books and really dread parting with them.I like the feel and smell of a new book and electronic devices just don't cut it for me,I do comfort reading and losing myself in a book is escapism from life and a security blanket for me......I really need to get out moregrin,having been like this since the age of 5 don't think this will be changing any time soon ..

merlotgran Fri 25-Sep-15 10:39:03

It's hard isn't it? We're de-cluttering like mad and I still have two large and three smaller bookcases to work through. So far I've taken quite a few to EMMAUS because they have a large second hand book section and it's only a 15 minute drive away. I have stopped taking books to charity shops in town because there is no easy access parking and they're heavy to lug all the way from the car park.

I now use my kindle for novels but am still addicted to non-fiction in hardback.

downtoearth Fri 25-Sep-15 10:48:07

I am trying to not add to my collection especially this time of year with books being published in time for Christmas ,a lot of the authors I love publish this time of year,I almost have to handcuff myself to walk past Smiths and waterstones and not go in,being more impoverished than ever this year have decided its library books only now to cut costs,and therefore cut down on the amount I have.sad
I have a wish that I could get locked in a book shop one night and not be till morning..bliss

Devorgilla Fri 25-Sep-15 10:57:00

When we downsized we deliberately looked for a house where we could line a room with shelves for the books. We did get rid of ones we knew we would never read again and ones where the information was out of date. The rest, plus the new additions, are still with us. We still haven't got enough shelf space! I sympathise with your sense of loss if parted from them. When we first moved house we 'lost' a box of books and still mourn its loss. Just live with them and leave it to the kids to sort out when you are gone.

Anniebach Fri 25-Sep-15 11:09:38

A book in bed is cosy, a kindle isn't

merlotgran Fri 25-Sep-15 11:11:22

We're doing a similar thing, Devorgilla. I've designed the interior of our building conversion to accommodate as much of our precious possessions without it looking like a cluttered up granny annexe with over-large furniture and far too many ornaments. DH keeps hissing ' think minimalist' in my ear everytime I show him the latest plan. That makes me laugh because he's a far worse hoarder than I am.

By hook or by crook, there'll be room for our books grin


jinglbellsfrocks Fri 25-Sep-15 11:14:03

Yes it is. And lighter. And with the cover I've got on mine, it practically stands up on it's own.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 25-Sep-15 11:16:36

Some of my actual books store very nicely on the floor under the living room radiator. Wasted space otherwise.

jollyg Fri 25-Sep-15 11:17:10

Good advice Devorgilla.

I have got rid of lots of MY books to Christian aid they hold a massive sale in May, but still have lots left.

However OH is a hoarder, and has 2 rooms lined with HIS books etc, and they are not small rooms!

BUT he also has stuff which he has ignored for decades, and his filing system is stuff it somewhere out of sight.

We have tidied out cupboards and thrown out, but his space is sacrosanct, such that i dont know where important papers are, yes they are somewhere.

At last he has decided to do a clear, how long it will last?

I await , but there will always be something to occupy his time.

J52 Fri 25-Sep-15 11:20:08

We've tackled it in 'Waves'. Clearing out and taking to charity the obvious rejects first. Then seriously looking at books that have out of date information or will really not be read again.

Now it's time for the tough decisions! I don't envy any bookworm the task!


mariann Fri 25-Sep-15 11:31:17

I made a decision not to buy another ikea Billy bookcase, since then I throw every book away which I won't read twice. As the years go by there are more and more books with good recommendations which I can hardly read once!
A book is just a paper version, the work itself is still available in digital form so we don't need to get bad conscience about destroying it.
Kindle is the perfect back up and the trick with Kindle is to have a few paper versions as well. For me its not an either or situation. I love both.

WilmaKnickersfit Fri 25-Sep-15 12:08:47

Out of date information isn't one of the reasons I had thought of for getting rid of a book. I like that idea. I do read books more than once and like reading a whole series again from the start now and then, but as I type this I have realised that I haven't done that for years now. It's probably because I prefer audiobooks now and am reading genres I never gave the time of day to before, so there's plenty of new books to choose from.

Don't know what I'm waiting for.

JackyB Fri 25-Sep-15 12:11:58

I can't understand this thing about books, either. Our bookcases are crammed full of paperbacks which will never be read again, which I would happily drop into a skip. We shall be re-carpeting soon and I intend to have a similar massive clear out.

On a recent thread on this subject, I vehemently defened the kindle. Especially in bed - books are impossible to read in bed without straining your shoulders or getting a crick in your neck. My kindle is in a sleeve which I can stand next to the pillow and I can read it in comfort without even holding it. And I've read far more books since I got the kindle.

I also said that I consider books rather unhygenic. Very old books (eg. from my parents-in-law) and second-hand books can be yellow, smelly and dusty and have those little mites crawling around on them. I can wipe the kindle with a damp cloth or even a disinfectant wipe (if I'm careful), but I can't de-must a book.

So, obviously I can't sympathise and offer you advice, petitpois. But, in your position, I would do the following:

- only do a little bit each day (say, one shelf). This should also result in a manageable amount for the dustbin each week. Check whether you can throw a hard-back book into the recycling paper in your area - I can imagine that might be a problem.

- decide before you start what proportion you want to keep/throw away/sell/give away and apply that proportion approximately to each section as you go. Be strong!

- Take each book in hand while you make your decision and ask yourself when you last read it, what you thought of it, whether you will read it again in the next five years, and, if not then say goodbye to it!

- In future - when you have read a book, decide immediately if you want to keep it, and if not, pass it on or throw it out straight away. Don't leave it lying around, or put it on the shelf until you've "thought about it".

- From now on, keep a log of the books you read and what you thought of them. If your memory's that good, you can also list the books as you're throwing them out, make notes on them and use that for reference if necessary later on. As suggested above, if you do suddenly decide you've thrown out one too many and you'd like to read it again, get that kindle and download it.

- Bear in mind that with the rise of digital reading, the demand for second hand books will diminish rapidly so get on with the selling asap. Charity shops may soon start turning them away because they're not sellig and just using up shelf space.

- Obviously you will keep picture books, children's books, dictionaries, encyclopaedias and atlases, and "classical" literature. And any valuable first editions! Once these are re-arranged and have pride of place on the shelf and are not just hidden among endless rows of books, you will appreciate them more. And the grandchildren will learn to treat them as something special, too.

And think seriously about a kindle. The time you used to spend dusting all those books can now be spent reading exciting new ones - ones which you won't ever have to dust.

Lilygran Fri 25-Sep-15 12:12:43

We have managed to get rid of hundreds of books over the last few years. For a while, I sold books on line but then the bottom fell out of book selling for amateurs. At the same time, and since, we've given a lot to various charities. We now have two bookcases instead of five in the sitting room. But we still have two in the study, four in the attic and one in each of the other bedrooms. In spite of Kindle, they seem to breed.......