Guest post by Jennifer Ries. If you missed it, please read Part I here.
In Part I we discussed how to decide what stays and goes when decluttering your personal library. Now, we’ll talk about doing right by your beloved books.
Give your books new life
Books in good condition can live new and useful lives — under someone else’s roof. For a quick fix, box them up with other donation items. Put the box in your vehicle immediately to thwart second looks and second-guessing.
Call your local library to ask if they take donations for their annual book sale. Some libraries accept books seasonally (to avoid storage issues); others accept donations year-round. Let your purge fund literacy programs in your own community.
There are also a variety of non-profit secular and faith-based agencies that seek book donations to support literacy programs, schools, adult education, and disaster recovery at home and abroad. Ask at your church, do a quick online search, or ask your librarian for recommendations.
Regift books to friends and family for holidays or just because. One of the great things about books is that they don’t have to be new to be enjoyed.
You can also resell you books via online retailers, used book dealers, and garage sales. IMO the low monetary value of most used books does not justify the hassle and storage. Donate ’em and be done with it.
You’ve done an admirable job of down-sizing your library — good for you! Now plan for continued success.
When you reshelve your books, flip the spines upside-down. When you read a book, return it to its home in the upright position. In six months or a year (whatever’s appropriate for your reading habits), any remaining upside-down books have earned a one-way ticket to the donation box.
If you must purchase a book, please browse second-hand stores or your local used bookseller (yes, a few still exist), or try out www.betterworldbooks.com. These options are affordable, green, and, depending on the seller, may support the local economy or larger social efforts.
Practice the “one in, one out” rule to manage the population.
If you use a smart phone or tablet, consider switching to e-books. Not only do e-books occupy no shelf space and consume no pulp, but new releases tend to be cheaper than their printed sisters. Most e-reader platforms make e-books fully searchable, and often have built-in reference components, like touch-for-word-definition and pop-up footnotes, that can enhance your reading experience.
— Jennifer Ries is a journalist, editor, and occasional poet who has been working toward a life with less since 2007. She lives in south-central Montana with a cat, a coffee maker, and a slowly shrinking pile of books.
A note from Rachel again: Thanks for sharing Jennifer!
Leave a comment for Jennifer here and let her know how this has encouraged you!