[TSS] Reducing My Stacks of Books: Ideas Needed

One of the things my husband and I have been planning is downsizing our home once our daughter is in university next year; when that happens, it will be just my husband and I, and our six-year-old, and our current house is really too big for just the three of us.

So we’ve decided to use the next eighteen months or so to get rid of all the clutter, and decide on the things we really need, versus stuff that, well, we don’t really need!

At the top of the list are my books. I have so many books, and aside from the to-be-read ones, there are only certain ones that I really want to keep. So I’ve been trying to figure out the best ways to get rid of some of my books. Since many of them are beloved-but-not-quite-keeper status, I’d like to see them go out to a good home.

Our local library doesn’t accept book donations; apparently it costs them more in terms of labor to go through donated books and catalogue them, so they simply don’t accept donations. So that idea is out.

I’ve only come up with one idea so far: box up the books I don’t want anymore and list them on Craigslist for $5 or $10 per box. Lots of titles in each, but no swapping between boxes.

But I’d also like to give some of my books away. We have a lot of younger children’s picture books, for example, that our youngest has outgrown, and it would be nice to see them go to a good home.

In the past, we’d give books away to Goodwill, but I’d like to give my books to places where the books would actually get used, rather than used only if they get sold.

I could really use a blog-based brainstorming session around this problem – if you have any ideas or suggestions, please leave me a comment!

18 thoughts on “[TSS] Reducing My Stacks of Books: Ideas Needed

  1. Janel

    We’ll for the children’s books I would contact a local school or daycare to see if they want them. I have given quite a few books that my children have outgrown to their former teachers.

    As far as the other books, all three of my local library systems have used book sales and are looking for donations. There is also a university women’s organization that sets up donation boxes in the area. Sounds like you may not have those kinds of things, though.
    .-= Janel´s last blog ..Book Review: World of Pies =-.

  2. Jennifer

    My library doesn’t accept donations either. If you don’t mind taking a drive, look into the next county over’s libraries. I found a library that wasn’t too far away that was overjoyed at my huge donation. It’s a small town and small library that apparently gets overlooked a lot when people are donating. I ave them a couple hundred book that I’d been holding on to because no one in my area wanted them.

    You could also check out pleasepickup.org. They’ll pick up donations or just about anything for Vietnam Veterans. I had planned on donating to them, but they just don’t pick up in my area.

  3. Dorte H

    I second the idea of giving the children´s books to daycares or a children´s hospital. An alternative could be some local charity. They are probably in touch with families that would treasure your children´s books.
    .-= Dorte H´s last blog ..Anne Holt, 1222 (2008) =-.

  4. Jemi Fraser

    Wow! Our local library has a group of volunteers who organize the books and they have a small bookstore – proceeds go to buying new books for the library. Schools or inidividual teachers are usually happy to receive books in good condition as well.

    Women’s shelters are often looking for books for both the women and the kids.

    If there are books for adults, what about a hospice, palliative care unit, hospital, or rehabilitation center?

    Good luck. It’s nice of you to give :)
    .-= Jemi Fraser´s last blog ..Over the Top Friends! =-.

  5. CBJames

    I’m shocked to hear that your library doesn’t have a “Friends of the Library” group running a book sale. I think every library in California, where I live, has one. I hope it’s because your community supports the library so well that they don’t need to have book sales. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in Ca.

    Doesn’t Bookmooch has a section that lists charitable donations? I use Paperbackswap so I’m not sure.

    I just gave a bag of books to my local bookstore, a small independant. I know that sounds crazy, but smaller bookstores can use all the help we can give them. I love them and want them to be around forever, so I donated to their used book section. Most used bookstores tell people that anything they don’t buy they can donate for you. If you have a used bookstore in your area they might have some ideas regarding local groups that take used books.
    .-= CBJames´s last blog ..Sunday Salon: What’s New In Young Adult Literature 2010 =-.

  6. rhapsodyinbooks

    I like the idea of Women’s Shelters too, although ours where I live doesn’t take many donations because they don’t have enough volunteers to deal with them. I also tried to take some books to a nursing home, which rejected them: “not enough space.” We do now have boxes around town asking for books as part of a Literacy Project, so if there is something like that where you live, some sort of literacy movement, they might want the books and I would think they would definitely use them. But I can totally relate; it’s very frustrating to want to donate wonderful items, only to find you can’t reach the people who might want or need them!
    .-= rhapsodyinbooks´s last blog ..Review of “A Dog At Sea” by J. F. Englert =-.

  7. Bernadette in Australia

    It seems everyone’s got the same ideas as me – find local places that have residential or drop-in clients and donate them. Certainly women’s and homeless shelters, also youth drop in centres, palliative care units, even hospitals etc. One place that I donate books to locally is a hotel that is run in our city for people who have to come here from rual areas for long term hospital treatment (e.g. someone from a rural area has to have 6 or 12 weeks of chemotherapy and so have to ‘move’ to the city for it because the treatment is not available locally but they’re not sick enough to stay in the hospital but are a bit too sick to do much else besides sit). I’ve donated loads of books to them over the years and they are very very grateful (they also take DVDs for the same reason). Lots of cities have places like this.
    .-= Bernadette in Australia´s last blog ..Crime Fiction Alphabet – P is for Postmortem =-.

  8. Barbara

    Bernadette reminded me of Ronald McDonald houses for families who have someone in the hospital long term. Are they in Canada as well? We donated children’s books (my beloved childhood friends) to the Boys and Girls Club near here which makes me think of the YMCA and YWCA who might have a use for books. The Friends of the Libraries at Binghamton Univ. has a giant book sale annually and a bookshop staffed by volunteers. Perhaps a univ. near you has the same? Good luck – I know how hard it is to give your books away.
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..DEEP CREEK by Dana Hand =-.

  9. Belle

    Thanks, everyone – these are fabulous ideas. I’ll make up a list and start calling around – I think I should find at least a few places that might like a few books. And I have stacks and stacks of magazines, too – I might find a home for them, too.

  10. BananaViews

    Schools might be interested in your magazines for their art classes. And try the Red Door Shelter and places like that that take in women with children. Maybe even Woodgreen as an angle or senior’s homes might be a thought too.
    .-= BananaViews´s last blog ..Hot For Pho House =-.

  11. Jen - Devourer of Books

    How about shelters or warming centers? I’m in the process of culling a lot of books. Some I sold to a used bookstore, some I gave away to other bloggers, some I took to Goodwill, and I just gave 100-150 to a friend for her church’s warming center where persons who are homeless come to get a meal and warm up for a bit. She told me that some of the men who come read just about anything they can get their hands on and are always looking for something new.
    .-= Jen – Devourer of Books´s last blog ..Dream House – Book Review =-.


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