OPT* for decluttering… books

May 18, 2011

Keep anything with sentimental value or that you can commit to reading this year. The rest of your book collection can be turned into dollars at a second-hand bookstore. Fire up your library card and consider investing in an e-reader such as a Kindle or an iPad.

Rachel Jonat of Minimalist Mom for babble


As difficult as the pantry wasn’t. This one was HARD HARD HARD!

But it was very necessary. We had still have way too many books!

A couple of years ago we had 2 large floor to ceiling bookshelves built in the lounge room, so that we could get rid of our 7 other six/seven foot bookshelves. We gave one bookshelf away….. but then…. Ah it hurts just to write it… but since then we have NOT reduced out shelves but added another 2! While I would love to defend this …. and believe me, every member of the family could have a go at defending book ownership…. I no longer will.

The girls selling books at the local shops.

  • have  boxes ready  to go to Berkelouw for trade in. Although if you don’t have too many you can do it online.
  • the girls had a couple of $1 per book stalls at the local shops over the holidays, donating half the proceeds to charity…. made about $100 all up.
  • some of our Christian books have been given to Petersham Baptist Church, for their library…. and there will be more to come.
  • we have joined libraries …. and frequent them as an ‘activity’ on the weekend.
  • I have limited the books by my  bed to 5.
  • lots of our friends have great book collections and are willing to lend. Thanks! We have created a ‘spot’ for borrowed books.
  • While several members of the family would love an iPad or Kindle…..I say…save up your pocket money.
  • It looks hopeful that we can get rid of 2 big bookshelves. Yay!
  • I haven’t upcycled any this time…. but if you are feeling creative look here and here and here and here for some inspiration.

We still have hundreds of books. I am by no means anti-book or reading. I simply no longer need to own every book I read. When ‘the minimalist mom’ first published her to 20 de-cluttering tips, this one was the one that received most negative comments. So I am well prepared for the book brigade to bring out the banners….. our family used to be members…. which is why we did this before hearing your feedback.

* Other People’s Tips.


13 Responses to “OPT* for decluttering… books”

  1. Cath said

    Oh! I say ‘ouch’ too! Books are friends – so hard to toss out or pass on, even for cash. Good on you though – gutsy – and your life will be simpler for it.

    I didn’t know it was allowed to set up stalls at your local shops — is that just your local shops, or any at all?

    • Ally Adeney said

      Hey Cath, Our local shops has a kind of busking/fundraising spot. I wouldn’t set up a stall there to sell my stuff, but because it was the girls and they were giving half the proceeds to charity, I think it was OK. What mean person is going to move along kids who are doing good? That was my theory anyway. Ally

  2. Sarah Kelly said

    Very hard. Very brave. I find that when I start to look through the shelves for books to give away, I just get all inspired and interested in things that I may not have even picked up for 5 years or so…

    • Ally Adeney said

      Hi Sarah, It was hard…. I think though I am at the stage where I can say “If I haven’t read you now, I don’t think I will”. A bit “It’s not you it’s me”. ….and we have so many books, it hardly made a dint. Ally

  3. Jenny K said

    Ugh – I think this is one of my worst areas. My family is at least as bad. I get work hard to occasionally get rid of a few books and they give me bags of books they have cleared off their shelves but they come with guilt attached. We are supposed to keep them forever because they are precious childhood memories… But we have 2 adults and 4 kids in our house and even less room. And… I love books but I know there are many books that will probably never be read again (ever?!) Sigh – I really must tackle that job…again!

    • Ally Adeney said

      Hi Jen, It actually felt good to put some out, but I did it when I was ready. I think that makes a difference. I also didn’t insist on other people in the house getting rid of anything they weren’t ready to part with. Other people’s baggage (guilt). I’m going to post about this soon. It’s very hard. As my parents clear our things from their house (things from my childhood including books) it more often than not seems the things are more precious to them than they are to me. Hard. Ally

  4. Tim Adeney said

    I think Ally might be exaggerating about the number of books we have 🙂

    • allysonadeney said

      Yes I have had a blog for 2 years…. and this is what brings my lovely husband to comment.
      See what I am up against!

  5. heather mcinnes said

    I feel inspiration and pain at the same time. I just had a look at my bookcase and there are books there that I have read once and not looked at again in years, perhaps it is time to let go and share the love.
    If you have any children’s books you want to get rid of, feel free to donate them to a certain teacher you may know ;o)

  6. Max Brown said

    I love my book collection, but once or twice a year, it becomes a mental torture in deciding which books to keep or sell or give away when the lodging house landlord does his Room inspection. If he sees my moderate amount of books in the $190 per week Lodging House ‘Hallway’ shaped Room (1.8mW x 6.667mL x 2.8mH) I will be required to remove them off the premises; Lodgers/Boarders have no law protection and rights in NSW. I am currently in between careers and do not have the money for book storage, so its either hide the books from view, which is near impossible in a Room 1.8m wide and with limited storage space under a single bed and my local Library does not take donated books unless about the suburb; Kings Cross. So, hard decisions must be made and followed through with.

    My support advice to anyone making at the time a seemingly ‘life or death’ decision regarding the fate of one’s much beloved book possessions is to question yourself:

    ‘Do I love the book?’
    ‘Does the book support and reflect my personality and empowerment?’
    ‘Does the book fire my passion?’
    ‘Is the book currently part of my career or a research project?’ (or, maybe your research matter can be accessed at your local Library or on the Internet).

    Another support to one’s decision making is to have trust and faith in yourself.

    If you give or sell something, be it a book, and a week later you find that you needed that book, and you mentally berate yourself for getting rid of the book(s), even though you read it for years and it looked back at you every day from your book shelf – then you do not have faith and trust in yourself, and a good time to work on building-up your self-esteem and empowerment in becoming the True Person you desire to be; your books are to support and reflect this to you. Be confident in this fact that you receive your true life energy immediately you release items that you no longer Love, are no longer useful, and are taking up space or are stored away, and do not support your personal empowerment. Your Reward for facing your fears and moving through those strange fears you experience when de-cluttering and you immediately connect with your True Life Energy.

    • allysonadeney said

      Thanks Max for your comments.
      I really like the questions you ask yourself about whether or not a book is a keeper or not.
      Think I might ask myself some of these in the next de-clutter of books (anything actually ) phase.

  7. Max Brown said

    Thank you Ally. With two-days to go for that Landlords Room inspection, I am very appreciative to the Universe Energy in supporting me to follow through with my de-cluttering (if working a full time job, my de-cluttering is always put On-Hold) and be FREE. Freedom is Exhilarating!

    Radiant Prosperity to you,


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