If you’re a bibliophile, you know that the amount of books you own can gradually pile up over the years. Eventually, they overtake your bookshelves until there is no more room for new novels. Then small stacks of books on other books become piles, and you can no longer find the book you want to read next.
Does this sound familiar? If you have too many books but can’t bear to banish them to the trash, consider these alternative ways to de-clutter your bookshelves and your home.
One great way to ensure your books will find good homes is to donate them. A great benefit of donating your old books is that you will be improving someone else’s life while cleaning house. Not to mention, many donations are tax deductible. Organizations and thrift stores such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army serve as worthy and reliable liaisons for your books. Many public libraries also accept book donations, so call the branch nearest you to find out.
If you would prefer to donate your books directly to deployed service members, Books For Soldiers and Operation Paperback are valuable resources. Once you register, you can send books to active duty members to put on their bookshelves. Chrissy Honeywell, CEO of Operation Paperback, said the organization now has 15,000 volunteers who served approximately 300 active troops this year.
“We also like sending books to VA hospitals for wounded soldiers,” said Honeywell.
Of course, you’ll have to put more effort into a garage sale than into making a donation. But if you were already planning to organize a garage sale with other household items in the near future, clearing some bookshelves at the same time is a plus. And with the money you make from the sale, you can dive into some other DIY projects around the house.
Reselling your books is an easy way to cut the clutter and earn some extra cash at the same time. Amazon.com and Half.com allow you to resell your books online. Or simply send your used books free of charge to Cash4Books.net to receive cash payment.
If you’d rather resell your books in person, used bookstores such as Half Price Books can come in handy. You sell your books for a store credit, which you can later use at that store. Because credit usually runs between 10 and 25 percent of the book’s cover price, it will likely take several sells to earn enough to buy one used book, so you won’t be unnecessarily filling up your bookshelves again.
A more unique method of narrowing your collection of novels is to trade books online. PaperBackSwap.com is one such venue. “PaperBackSwap.com allows members to exchange books that they have already read for books that they want to read with other members of the club,” founder and president Richard Pickering, said. “The process is simple — mail a book, get a book. And all the books are free. You just pay for the mail costs and can then enjoy great books delivered directly to you.”
BookMooch.com works similarly. Trading your books will not permanently clear your bookshelves if you want to use your credit to buy another book, but it’s a start.
Now that you’ve streamlined your shelves and can actually see the titles on the spines again, do your best to keep these shelves organized. If you find yourself in need of a new read and own an e-Book reader such as a Kindle or iPad, consider purchasing that book in digital form. This will help you enjoy your clutter-free home longer.
Photo courtesy of somegeekintn