Do You Purge Your Books?

January 16, 2016 Discussions 33

Before I started blogging I never got rid of books. Well, almost never. *laughs* I was and always will be, a book hoarder. I have books from when I was a small child (not a lot of them, but the ones I was able to save from my parents purging!) And any book that I’ve read over the years that I haven’t hated.

Books that I’ve read over and over again, I will sometimes have more than one copy of. Especially if it’s a cover that was changed, and I prefer one of the older covers.

I’ve noticed that if I hold onto a book long enough, even if it was one I was planning on getting rid of… it will eventually be a book I can’t part with. It’s grown on me and gotten into the toddler grabby mindset of “mine!”

So I pretty much can’t purge a book I’ve had for longer than a few months. If I’ve had it a year or more? Forget it, it’s going to be stuck on a bookshelf somewhere until it either falls apart and I have to get rid of it, or some other unlikely calamity befalls it.

But! Since I started blogging, I’ve tried to crack down on how many physical books I actually keep. If it wasn’t at minimum, a 4 star book for me, it goes on my ‘get rid of’ shelf. And because I have it firmly in my mind that those books are leaving my house, I haven’t gotten attached to them! Yay me!

With the cozy mysteries I’ve been getting from Berkley-NAL, I’m even pickier. If I haven’t loved/adored a book in the series, and can’t see myself re-reading any of the books in that series, it goes on the ‘get rid of’ shelf. Which means that even if I like the book, I’ve managed to weed out a lot of them! Out of 42 books that I’ve either read or passed over because I couldn’t get into them, I’ve only kept 6!

I also haven’t let myself hang onto many physical ARCs for the same reason. I have 10 bookcases of books now. 8 bookcases are filled. 1 is half filled, and the newest one is empty waiting for me to overflow again. These bookcases are just over 7 feet tall, and 30.5 inches wide, with 6-7 shelves per bookcase. I’ll let you imagine just how many books that equals out to!

(The ‘get rid of’ shelf doesn’t count in there as it’s a pile in front of a row of ‘keeping’ books that are stacked differently so I can tell them apart. I don’t usually double-stack my shelves…)

I have lots of people I can hand off the fantasy and sci-fi books I don’t keep to. But the mysteries have been a problem for me. My blog friends that I exchange books and things with don’t read cozies, and my relatives don’t either. It doesn’t help that most of the books are not the first in their series. So I’ve been thinking about seeing if my library will take them. But I keep getting distracted and not poking said library!

This means my ‘get rid of’ shelf now has 45 books on it and I’m now starting to worry about if the shelf can hold any more…

How do you decide which books are purged from your shelves? Are you able to get rid of books? Do they have to be with you for x-number of days or less before you get too attached to them? How do you get rid of those books? Friends? Library? Garage sale? Leave stacks of them in random places with “please adopt me” notes on them?

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33 Responses to “Do You Purge Your Books?”

  1. Laura

    As a general rule I’m a total book hoarder too, and until I moved out of my childhood home into my flat last April I hadn’t got rid of any books in years. Therefore I had a ridiculous amount, some that I hadn’t read in years, and some that I didn’t even enjoy when I did read them. I had a massive clear out and got rid of loads, but since I moved I seem to have accumulated even more, and seen as I’m moving again I think it’s time for another clear out!
    Your system of having a ‘get rid of’ shelf sounds like a good idea though! I guess if you get rid of ones you weren’t that bothered about pretty soon after reading them you’re less likely to forget to do it, and just keep them hanging around.
    Laura recently posted…How fast do you read?My Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      Sometimes I think the books breed when we aren’t looking at them. It’s the only logical explanation about how we end up with so many, even after weeding some out. *nods*

      And yes, totally! It’s so much easier for me to part with books now that I’ve made a ‘get rid of’ shelf! I even finally contacted my library to see if they’d take them off my hands. Don’t expect to hear back until tuesday since monday is a holiday, but at least I poked them!

  2. Danya

    Visiting from the Saturday Situation! Yeah, I’m a total book hoarder too, although I don’t have all that much space for them (I wish I had 10 bookcases!!). I did go through my books a while ago and got rid of a bunch of them, but I just find it so difficult to decide which ones should go! I have many books that I haven’t read yet, so even if I tried the book and couldn’t get into it, or it hasn’t gotten great reviews on Goodreads, I’m still all, “But maybe…” It’s easier if I’ve read it and didn’t like it, although even then, sometimes it’s a book I was given as a gift and so I feel bad about letting it go from my collection.
    Danya recently posted…Rants and Raves: Things In Books That Float My BoatMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      Yay! You’re the first one who’s told me they found me from Candace. Thanks for stopping by and telling me!

      Dad’s a furniture hoarder as well as books. He’s constantly bringing stuff home from auctions and GoodWill. *laughs* Prior to moving to this house, I had 4 smaller bookcases, and lots of boxes filled with books that were stacked near the bookcases! I’m not sure I’ve seen my full collection since I was a teen, and even now I’m missing quite a few of them. Think they’re in storage with mom? Or perhaps lost…

      I feel bad about getting rid of gifted books too! Only, I’m trying to get better about it. If I’ve at least read some of it and didn’t click with the book, I’m making myself get rid of it. Sometimes that’s passing it on to a family member or another friend. Sometimes it’s selling it to the local used bookstore. But I don’t think I have room for more than the 10 bookcases I have, so they have to go!

  3. Jen @ Books That Hook

    I used to collect books, but it got out of control. I had over 4000 print books. The thing was that I was trying to get every book in certain series, and some of the series had 30 or more books to it (one that comes to mind is J.D. Robb).

    So, I finally decided to seriously pare down my book collection (which also helped my TBR). For example, instead of trying to keep and read every single book in the Prey series by John Sandford, I only kept the last couple books and got rid of all the older ones. I also got rid of a lot of books that were older than 2000. If I’m not likely to read them, there’s no point in holding on to them.

    There are certain authors I still haven’t gotten myself to part with any of their books. For example, I have almost every single book written by Dean Koontz. I just can’t part with those yet!

    But, I’ve gotten my physical books down to around 2,000, which is a lot more manageable.

    I don’t get many physical copies for review, so that hasn’t made any impact one way or another. The ones I have gotten fit on one bookshelf. My won books take up another shelf. Not a big deal.

    • SilvaraWilde

      Wow! That’s a lot of books! Then again, I’ve never bothered to count how many physical books I own… *laughs* And go you for being able to cut down your owned books by so many!

      There are books I know I could get rid of, because I may never read them again. But I liked them enough to keep them in the first place. So if I got rid of them, I’m sure I’d be upset with myself for a while. Which is the problem with keeping books so long, I never want to get rid of any of them! (I have a problem, yes I know!)

    • SilvaraWilde

      I have a few signed books, those would never end up on my ‘get rid of’ shelf! I try not to hoard books I am not going to read. But then again, that’s kind of what a TBR shelf is. *laughs* And I hate having books in storage and not with me. Mostly because I have no idea anymore which books I own and just are in storage, and which books I need to buy again because they’ve been lost. But I guess it’s good in a way since I already have 10 bookcases of books??

  4. Echo Fox

    This post made me chuckle – when I was younger and lived with my parents, none of my family of readers ever purged books. It was an unspoken rule, I’m sure of it. We had floor to ceiling bookshelves round all the walls of every room. Thousands of *double stacked* books in every room! <<< Madness.

    Now I have my own place (and to get there I moved house about six times in six years) I have purged like life depended on it. Five star and re-readables only, no mercy. I donated the rest to charity and for the past two years or so, I've only book ebooks so my virtual Kindle library is a winner as far as storage goes!
    Echo Fox recently posted…Designing a Fantasy Map (and Why Trees Look Daft)My Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      I would love to have that many bookcases! Between Dad and I, I’m sure we could fill them all as well! *laughs* Though I do hate moving with the amount of books I have now. I moved once a year from age 3 or so until I was 26-27. After that it was every few years, but I hate moving more than almost anything.

      I’ve tried to buy more ebooks instead of physical books, but if I have a series started in physical books, I have to have the rest that way too. Otherwise it annoys the heck out of me! So my new strategy is any new series will be ebooks so I’m not tempted to buy them in paperback, or have one of each!

      That’s awesome that you were able to get rid of so many books and stick to it though! I’m still too much of a hoarder and I think I’d cry if I purged that many books…

  5. Alyn

    I’m pretty bad with this. I love my books so much! I had a few books that I read and wanted to put in the “Little Free Library” box near me but then when I finally got around to doing it, the box was gone!! So yeah, I don’t know, I guess I’ll look for another one around town. I thought about donating them to my son’s school too because they also have a program similar to the “Little Free Library”, but then it isn’t as accessible as the more public boxes are. My son’s school has really cracked down on who can enter the school.

    • SilvaraWilde

      I’ve actually heard of people stealing the Little Free Library boxes! It’s crazy! Hopefully the one near you just got moved to a better spot, or was taken inside for cleaning or something.

      It’s sad that schools have to be so strict now with all the crazy people and guns and all.

      I still have a horrible time purging books. But it’s actually been super easy with anything that ends up on my ‘get rid of’ shelf. I’m constantly amazed by how much I don’t want to keep those ones. I’m sure if I didn’t have that shelf, they’d end up as hoarded books never to be released though!

  6. Amy @ Pages of Starlight

    For me, pretty much any book that was under 3 stars is going to get the boot sooner than later. And by that I mean: pulled off my shelf, stuck in a box and sent to storage until I can figure out how to get rid of all those old books. If a book is 3 stars, that’s kind of taken on a case-by-case basis. (The main criteria being both will I read this again and will I buy the next in the series.) The simple fact is that I hate looking at my shelf and seeing books that I didn’t really like (or that I hated.) cluttering stuff up. It leaves me in a bad mood. Very surly. Besides, I have a VERY limited amount of shelf space – so I definitely have to prioritize my books by the best first.
    Amy @ Pages of Starlight recently posted…In An Attempt To Avoid Books That Don’t Interest MeMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      Even with my book hoarding tendencies, if I didn’t like the book, it was never kept. Only books that I liked stayed on my shelves. I’m just trying to be stricter about it now that I’m getting so many in every month!

      If I plan to keep up with the series, the book gets kept until either I change my mind about the series, or the series ends. Then I decide if I liked the series enough to keep it. If I didn’t adore the book, it’s getting added to my ‘get rid of’ shelf. But since this is a new idea for me, that still leaves me with all the books I owned before I came up with this plan! *laughs* But at least my new books will be purged better?

      I totally get how clutter bothers some people. I’m not sure if I’m fortunate or unfortunate in that it doesn’t bother me at all. IF I can find what I’m looking for a midst the clutter!

  7. Sara

    This is the great thing about only using the library-I don’t have piles of books in my house breeding lol. I currently have two physical library books sitting by my chair, and then a handful of library ebooks loaded on my Kindle. That’s it πŸ™‚
    Sara recently posted…Why I Deleted My TBR ListMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      Eep! I love my library, don’t get me wrong. But now owning any of my favorite books?? I don’t think I could handle that. Even if I was allowed to just own ebooks, I would miss owning physical ones as well. But that’s awesome you have such a good handle on not drowning in books!

  8. Madilyn Quinn

    I’m a chronic purger. I go through all my things and get rid of stuff once, maybe twice a year, but the books were always the exclusion to it. When we started talking about moving cross country is when I started looking at the bookcases and dreading the thought of moving them all. So we condensed. Anything I determined I wasn’t going to read/read again or anything that wasn’t absolute fave… went into the sell/donation pile. We got down to one bookcase. Now I’ve just got to try and not buy any more between now and moving day haha
    Madilyn Quinn recently posted…Flash Fiction FridayMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      Oh wow! As much as I joke about having a book hoarding problem (and I totally do!), I’m not sure I could live with only having one bookcase full of books! I would have no idea which books would make such a drastic cut, and can see myself squirreling away extras.

      I’ve moved across the U.S. on a few occasions, and while moving all the books was not the most pleasant thing ever, they’ve always made the cut. Some furniture and other things were gotten rid of in exchange for keeping all the books! *laughs*

      I’ve tried purging things in the past. And I always end up being happy to give whatever it is up in the moment. But then hours or days later I have horrible remorse and wish I could get whatever it was back. I get too attached if I’ve had stuff too long. So I pretty much can only purge if it’s a recent acquisition. (Recent being 4-5 months old or less.)

      Good luck with your move, and with not buying more books until after it’s over! Thanks for stopping by!

      • Madilyn Quinn

        Well, we’re trying to get a clean break. We’re getting rid of 80% of our furniture and have slowly condensed all our other things to half. Plus, it’ll be cheaper moving wise the smaller the truck we’d have to rent!
        I used to feel that way about things. I’d get attached to odd things just because someone gave it to me – even if it were of no use anymore/broken. Have you ever been into a hoarders house? The first time I did was when I started rethinking my attachment to things. I wasn’t at hoarders for the tv level yet, but I could easily see myself getting that way, so I let it go. Personal choice, I guess.
        Ah, thanks! We just heard confirmation about a few things so we might be going sooner than I hoped, which is great πŸ™‚
        Madilyn Quinn recently posted…Wonderful WordsdayMy Profile

  9. Mara @ Mara Was Here

    I don’t think I can’t ever get rid of my books, no matter how terrible they were for me! I still have one bookshelf that’s filled with all the children’s books I’ve read back when I was a kid, and my mom suggested I sell them or give them to charity already so they won’t take up space, but I just… can’t, you know? It’s like it’s a really important part of my life that I just can’t let go of. >.<

    • SilvaraWilde

      *laughs* I’m the same way! I don’t have that many kids books left, my parents were too good about weeding out books they felt I’d outgrown. But the ones I do have left, I can’t seem to part with. Even though I don’t have any kids, and don’t plan on ever having kids (so no excuse to keep them for future reading to said kids). Maybe one day?

  10. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    WOW 45 books to get rid of is impressive! I actually just had a giveaway that ended that has like, 17 or 18 books to give to new homes. This was HUGE for me, as I am the worst purger ever. I have double stacked bookcases, and I am completely out of room. I hoard ALL the books. I have been good lately though- I just mailed a few off to friends, and now I will be sending more to giveaway winners, and I just found another stack that I might do a giveaway for. It’s slow progress, but progress at least πŸ˜‰
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…This Week At Midnight (97)My Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      I received another 14 from a publisher just before my trip to Cali, and Pabkins sent me home with 10 from her shelves. So even though I’m trying to be good about purging the books I will not be keeping, I’m not sure it’s working! *laughs*

      I should totally do a giveaway for the books I don’t want to keep. But I am lazy and don’t want to list them all. I’m glad your giveaway did so well for you though!

  11. Geraldine @ Corralling Books

    I was a complete book hoarder until recently, when I’ve had to pack up my books in preparation to move. I realised JUST HOW MANY BOOKS I HAD, and I’ve resolved to purge them at the first chance I get! I’m thinking of selling a couple of them which are still in pristine condition, and donating the others that are only in a good condition. Good luck with your bookshelf cleaning! πŸ™‚
    Geraldine @ Corralling Books
    Geraldine @ Corralling Books recently posted…A Cure for Madness by Jodi McIsaac| No Cure For This MadnessMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      Good luck with yours as well! Moving is one of the things I hate the most. Though I’ve done it often enough that I should have purged books before now, I never seem to actually do so! I’m not sure I ever want to actually count up just how many there are. It might make me purge some of my older books if I did so, but somehow I think not. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Alahna @ The Charmed Reader

    I get rid of my books all the time. If it wasn’t at least a 4 (3.5 sometimes) or I don’t have plans to reread it I sell it to a used book store and either take the store credit or cash. I only have 2 bookcases in my tiny apartment so I don’t have much room to keep books I didn’t enjoy. I’m actually on a book buying ban at the moment and afterwards I want to make it a rule that I can’t buy a book until I have read it (unless it’s part of a series) so that will save me the trouble of having to weed the books in the first place.
    Alahna @ The Charmed Reader recently posted…5 Books I Own (But Haven’t Read Yet) Kindle EditionMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      Before blogging, I was terrible about keeping all the books! Unless I hated it, it was kept. Now that I get so many for review every month, I’m trying to be pickier. Only keeping the books that were at least a 4 Star, or that I know I’ll want to read again. Or that are part of a series I love and therefore need to keep.

      Everything else ends up on my ‘get rid of’ shelf and is either donated to the library, or turned into the local used bookstore for credit to buy more books. Except ARCs of course, those are sent out to other blogger friends.

      I can’t imagine only having 2 bookcases! I would go crazy. But then, I’m also the crazy person who had a library for years that consisted of 3-4 bookcases and lots of books that took up most of my closet space. And I knew what box held which books. *shakes her head at herself*

  13. C.J. @ ebookclassics

    Great topic! I don’t like to have books sitting around gathering dust, so I try to give away books and ARCs when I’m finished, but sometimes there’s no one to accept them which makes me sad. Then I’ll donate them to the library or charity, sometimes I leave them in doctor’s offices or at the emergency room. I will keep books that authors have signed.

    • SilvaraWilde

      I totally keep all signed copies, even if I didn’t end up liking the book all that much. Everything else I’ve started donating to my local library since they’ve been so good about buying most of the e-books I’ve requested from them. *grins* Though I’ve been lax about clearing out my ‘to get rid of’ shelf lately. I counted them up last night and have 43 books on it! I see a library trip in my immediate future… *laughs*

      ARCs I try to send to other blog-friends. Though I have 2 at the moment no one seems to want. Will have to come up with something fun to do with them.

  14. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I did a giveaway recently and will probably do another one very soon. Sometimes it surprises me the books that get taken from my giveaways – ones I think that no one will want get taken and others that I’m sure would get snagged up quick stick around. So, you might want to do a cozy mystery giveaway – I’m sure you’d find some takers! Of course, there’s some shipping cost associated with it, but it might be a fun way to get some more cozy mystery readers on your blog!
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Some Books Just Aren’t All That Memorable – Let’s DiscussMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      I’ve thought about giveaways, but in the past except for the one I did with Cait’s book necklaces, there have been very few entries. I’m not sure if that was because I’d been around less than a year at that point, so was less known, or if the books I was offering were just not things people were interested in. But only getting 5-6 people entering kinda turned me off of hosting my own giveaways. I’ve done 3-4 of them, and other than the necklaces, those 5-6 people were the most I’d ever gotten for a giveaway. *shrugs* Maybe I’ll try again towards the end of the year or something, and maybe not.

      At the moment, I have 43 cozy mysteries I’ll be bringing to the library for donation soon. They’ve been really good about buying most of the e-books I’ve been requesting, so I figure I should help them out and give them some books for their collection or for sale to go towards buying more books for their collection.

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