Shelf Talk: Read It, Keep It, Toss It


Welcome to Shelf Talk, a bi-weekly discussion post that covers a variety of topics including, but not limited to, gardening, video games, cooking, crafting and of course books. If you have any suggestions for topics that you would like to see on future Shelf Talk posts, leave it in the comments or send me an email, and I’ll do my best to cover that topic in the future.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to throw out books, don’t let the title fool you.

For years now, I have been the kind of person who hates the idea of getting rid of books. The idea has always made me feel uneasy. How could I part with a book? What if I want to read it again?

But last year, I made the decision to get rid of a few books. They were mostly Stephen King books that I had read and no longer wanted in my house because they offended me with their presence. Even though I hated the books, and knew I would never read them again, I decided to get rid of them. So they went to the used book store I frequent and I used the cash I got for them to buy a few more books.

It really wasn’t that hard after all. Probably helped that I was ridding myself of books that I didn’t like.

Lately I’ve been looking at my overflowing shelves and been considering doing a purge of them. In fact, I already started. I gathered up a number of books that I had read and don’t plan to read again and put them into boxes. It made a bit of a dent, but not enough. So I got to thinking, what will it take for me to truly purge my shelves?

Honestly, I don’t like the idea of getting rid of a book that I haven’t read yet. But in some cases, I have and will make exceptions to this rule. So I have decided that this year I am going to focus on reading as many books that I own as possible, and once they are done I will decide whether I want to keep them or get rid of them.

To get this ball rolling, I recently went through my shelves again. I looked over every book that I had already read and put a number of them in the “get rid of” pile. There were a few unread books that ended up there too, but mostly they were books I bought because they were all the rage on book blogs a few months/years ago, but now I realize I really have no desire to read them. So into the box they went. It actually felt good.

While going through my shelves, I also made a pile of books I would make my priority to read this year, which can be seen below. Doing this will help me really focus on getting through as many books as I can and relieving some of the weight off of my cheap, overburdened book shelves. At the end of the year, or when I have a decent amount gathered up in the “get rid of” boxes, I am going to sell what I can, either locally or to a used book store, and then donate the rest.

I have also challenged my son to do the same things, as his shelves are overflowing and since he rarely reads (which saddens me greatly), it’s time for him to read them and clean up his shelf.

How do you feel about getting rid of books? Does it make you feel anxious or is it something you do all the time?


2 thoughts on “Shelf Talk: Read It, Keep It, Toss It

  1. I did this a few years ago, taking some YA reads that I had read (and had no desire to reread) and donate them to my library.

    Around that time, I shifted to primarily buying eBooks so the books that sit on my personal shelves are series that I’ve bought with the intention of rereading or sharing with others. So I don’t feel the need to purge the shelves anymore.

    • It’s actually ending up easier than I thought it would be. The only thing holding me back at this point is I don’t want to get rid of any books I haven’t read yet until I actually read it, otherwise I would have a much bigger pile to get rid of already.
      I can see how that would help, but as I really don’t care for buying e-books that wouldn’t help my situation. I only buy them if they are an exceptional deal or if I can’t find the physical book for a decent price.

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