bookish

Book (Un)haul: Covid Cleaning Edition

I’m not feeling this week’s TTT prompt, so instead here’s the first of several posts about the ongoing process of downsizing my physical book collection.

Why would you get rid of your books?

First and foremost: I’m trying to open up space in our spare bedroom, which doubles as storage for anything too delicate to store in our basement or outdoor shed. Shelf space is at a premium in our house these days.

Second, a lot of these books have been on my shelves forever, some unread, some read 10+ years ago, and I’m trying to break the habit of keeping things just to have them. No sentimental value? No reread value? Not valuable as a collectible? Not something I want to read with the kids as they grow older? Then onward that book goes, to find someone who will appreciate it, instead of continuing to gather dust on my shelf.

Third, I need room for any new books I bring home, haha. It’s a neverending cycle. I do try to read ebooks and Overdrive/Libby loans as much as possible these days, but I also love thrifting for physical books, or buying hard copies of favourites and anticipated releases.

How do you unhaul your books?

Typically I offer friends and family first choice, then donate anything in good shape – to our local library, fundraisers, and this time to a favourite thrift store, as our library has temporarily stopped taking donations due to the pandemic.

The odd book goes in the recycling… Not something I like to do, but for massmarket paperbacks that didn’t hold up well or books that the kids have mauled to pieces, this makes the most sense.

I’ve tried BookMooch in the past and use it occasionally. The downside is that shipping to/from Canada is prohibitively expensive and there’s a lot of legwork involved to use the site: asking if other users will ship internationally, keeping your wishlist up-to-date to receive notifications, manually checking the available list, etc.

Unhaul List

Lots of duplicates in this batch; sometimes I forget that I already have a copy of a book that looks interesting, or I find a copy in better condition while thrifting!

  • Lisa Genova, Still Alice
  • Louis Sachar, Holes
  • Rick Riordan, The Titan’s Curse
  • Doubles/mismatched editions of various Harry Potter books (found a full matching set at a yard sale, so these were the extras).

A few that I’ve read and don’t plan to reread and/or continue the series:

The reasoning for getting rid of books I haven’t read, for the curious:

Tony Reinke, 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You
Bought at a book sale where I skimmed the blurb – but upon closer look realized that the author approaches the issue from a religious standpoint and quotes a lot of scripture, which is not the angle I thought the author would take based on the blurb.

Diane Mott Davidson, Sticks and Scones
Bought at a library sale while in the planning stages of 2020’s Popsugar challenge, to fill the “pun in the title” prompt. Wasn’t feeling it, as it’s the tenth book in a series, and from a genre (cozy mysteries) that isn’t my favourite.

Scott Lynch, The Lies of Locke Lamora
I’ve owned this book since 2009 and tried to read it a few times over the years. Lynch was recently in the public eye over extramarital drama, which is only relevant here because his name was fresh in my mind when I started cleaning shelves.

Kiera Cass, The Selection; The Elite; The One
I have more to say about The Selection in an upcoming review. Sometimes that initial gut reaction that something isn’t for you is right on… Read the first book, skimmed enough of the rest to feel confident that the things that bothered me wouldn’t improve, donated all three.

Michelle Major, A Very Crimson Christmas
I don’t remember where this one came from and it’s #4 in a series.

I also snuck a few Disney Little Golden Books in at the end because I hate reading them and the kids usually lose interest beyond the halfway point… they read like bad movie summaries instead of stories in their own right.


That’s it for now! Do you regularly clean out your collection, or do you – like teenage me – keep every book that’s come through your door?

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