Topics/Discussion

How Do I Unhaul Books

Since last Tuesday I wrote the post about which books I lost interest in and added some books I’ve unhauled along with it for Top Ten Tuesday, I decided to keep with that theme for this week and write a post about unhauling books. Wow, that was a long sentence.

Now I completely understand why some people say that they cannot part with their books whether these be books they have read (loved or not) or books they still need to read. For years I was like them. I could not stomach getting rid of some of the books I had bought that I had not read yet. And yet I never seemed to be able to pick them up to read. In general, and not just with books, we tend to find it hard to cut things from our lives whether that be that huge amount of mugs or that toxic person in our life.

I have no great advice for any of that. My abbility to be able to start unhauling books and culling other items from our home didn’t truly start until I was well into my pregnancy. Hormones do things to you. However I have been able to keep the ability to throw things out after I got Merijn. To be honest I have to with an extra person in our house who needs and deserves room for his things.

So here are some of the questions I ask myself and things I do when I unhaul books at the end or start of the year. Remember that these are things that work for me. You can take or leave (or leave it all) from it what you want.

Stare at My Shelves

Untitled This is something that starts always in December. Where I start scanning my rows of books. How can I create more space for more books? That is what I ask myself when I look at them. That is good motivation for me to find those books on my shelves that I am not as drawn to as to some others. From there on out I eliminate the books I know for 100% sure I want to keep. Those are often a bunch of shelves I can cross out immediately. I then focus on those I am not so sure about and take a piece of paper where I start writing down the books I have big doubts about.

Have I Read the Book?

One of the questions I find important is whether or not I have read the book or not. With books I read I already know how I feel about the book. Books that I have rated 3 stars or under I scrutinize and see if there is any reason to keep the book. Do I like the author? Is it a series? Do I own the rest of the series? Do I want to give the rest of the series a chance? Is this a book I can see Merijn reading years down the line? I often keep middle grade books for this reason and put them in the book shelves upstairs that are in his room.

If the Answer Is No…

If the answer is no however it gets a bit more tricky. I have to establish how big my interest in the book still is. How long have I had it? How long has it been on my shelves? I am fairly lenient with myself. Or at least I have been this year. I am giving myself 5 years for the unread books on my shelves at the moment before I have to unhaul them for sure. I mean if I haven’t read them by then I am never going to read them, lets be honest here. Of course there have been books that I know I have lost complete interest in and those get an automatic boot.

Do I Like the Edition or Cover? Was It a Gift?

Untitled

There are some other things I also consider. For instance if it is a special edition or a very pretty cover. It is easier to unhaul books when it looks ugly. I want pretty books on my shelves, okay. This is probably why I still have Magonia upstairs…

Another thing I find important is whether or not it was a gift. With gift I am not talking about books I got because people were unhauling their own books. I’m talking about books that were given with a thought, those that I got for my birthday and such. I find it important to keep a hold of those because I do remember who I got them from. Except when it is from my husband since he already gives me so many books to begin with, haha.

Also if the book is signed I am more likely to keep it.

What Do You Do When You Keep Doubting?

Of course there are those books that keep you doubting. Books I’ve read and thought were okay but had super gorgeous covers and such. Those books can cause some doubt. Often I move those upstairs where I have another book shelf on my sons room where I for now can still house some of my own books. If I don’t think about them for a while I can always unhaul down the road anyway. And I still end up with the extra space.

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22 thoughts on “How Do I Unhaul Books

  1. I agree with so many parts of your post! The biggest reason I find myself keeping unread books is that they were a gift – my Grandmother has given me a ton of books that she’s liked over the years and occasionally I pick up one when I’m missing that side of the family. I’ve also been on an unhauling books spree this year. Anything that I’ve bought second hand or can easily get from the library is also gone! I actually unhauled enough books that I was able to get rid of a bookshelf to make space for a cozy reading chair 🙂 Great post!!!

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  2. Ah yes unhauling books or as I’ve been calling it lately, Tending To My Book Garden (it makes it easier to say goodbye because getting rid of books is HARD lol). For me it definitely comes down to two things: making more room for new books and needing the money to buy new books. I tend to unhaul the ones I hated or haven’t read and never will at this point, and then I sell them to a local used book store and immediately turn around and spend that new money on books (which is probably a bad habit). I will say, a series I unhealed a while ago still haunts me and I’m a bit upset I got rid of them because I think I’m going to end up buying another set of them at this point, but that’s been my only big misstep so far! Awesome post, I loved reading it!

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    1. Haha that is a good one! 😉 I always feel that if I do ever regret unhauling a book there is a chance of rebuying them. And if I don’t want to spend the money than I still made the right choice.

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  3. I used to struggle with this a lot. I wanted to keep EVERYTHING. It didn’t matter if I had two of the same copy, and obviously I had a problem. Once I got pregnant, we needed to make room for things, and I started going through my books. There were some I’d had for years and couldn’t remember where they’d come from.

    Finally, I decided to go through them one at a time. I read every blurb, looked them up, etc. If it was a book I’d already read and loved, I would keep it, but only if it was something I wanted to read again. I kept some signed copies that had sentimental values, and unread books that I knew I wanted to read eventually. It’s helped.

    Every so often I’ll look for a book and it won’t be there, but it doesn’t happen too frequently. I’m glad you’ve found something that works for you!

    Do You Dog-ear?

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  4. I often go through my shelves and do a purge. I have to because my bookshelves are completely overflowing! Typically, the ones that go first are books that I somehow picked up at a conference but aren’t REALLY that interested in. I feel SUPER guilty about this, but I had a lot of books from RT like four years ago that just got handed to me, and I’m not really even into reading these types of books. I took them out of guilt, not because I really wanted them. So now, I just need to get rid of them!

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  5. I totally understand this dilemma! When I moved to the US about 15 years ago I had to give away ALL my books because it was too expensive to transport them. That was REALLY HARD. So I decided not to buy books. Resolution that didn’t last forever of course but it did last more than a decade! Recently I stared buying books again but only those that I already read as an ebook or from the library and that were 5-stars. that why I know I won;t have to think about all this. Great post!

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  6. Great post and I agree with so many of your points. I have a lot of those books that I can’t decide if there’s any reason to keep them or not. I will usually box those up and put them in a closet for a few months (or sometimes a year because I forget about them). If I haven’t felt the urge to pull any of them back out, then I unhaul them.

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  7. Ahh unhauling is super hard. 😭😭I actually just did this to my shelves and I got a STACK out, mostly of books I didn’t love but was like sent from publishers so…no need to keep right?! Although I confess I keep a ton of books I don’t adore just to have my rainbow shelf look.😂😂I need the aesthetic. I’m terrible. Anyway I’ve unhauled like 20 books and now the trick is to actually get rid of them…I know I don’t like them but parting is still hard?!

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  8. That’s a good system that still leaves room for your heart. After Baz was born I got most of my books from the library. The only books we bought were Harry Potter and art photography books with an occasional deeply discounted paperback. After I started blogging I started buying some of the books I read before, and super loved, in hardcover.

    Now I only buy hardcovers of books I have really, really, really loved from reading ARCs, ebooks, and borrowing from the library (and the books I am buying for someday grandchildren). Plus, if it doesn’t have a decent cover, I am more likely to just have it as an ebook. I realized right now most of my physical book purchases have been to complete series of books I already own. When I first started blogging I used to want to keep all of my physical ARCs, but now I just keep those from special to me authors. It’s so hard when we have limited space like we do. 📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚

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    1. True. You just can’t keep everything otherwise the house would get overrun by books. I mean I can live on books, but Maarten and Merijn can’t haha.

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  9. Net als jij kon ik het vroeger niet over mijn hart krijgen om boeken weg te doen maar op een bepaald moment kwam daar verandering in. Toen ben ik echt eens heel kritisch naar mijn collectie beginnen kijken (= yep, staren naar de kasten) en boeken beginnen weg te doen tot ik weer voldoende plek had. Ondertussen doe ik het zelfs wanneer er nog voldoende ruimte is. Ik ben gewoon veel kritischer geworden tegenover vroeger. Engelstalige boeken zal ik nog steeds sneller kopen vermits ik de meeste van hen niet in de bibliotheek kan terugvinden. Bij andere boeken stel ik me de vraag of ik ze enkel wil lezen of ze ook echt wil hebben. Op die manier komen er al iets minder nieuwe boeken bij. Bij het wegdoen van boeken stel ik me vrijwel dezelfde vragen als jij. Heb ik het boek al gelezen? Wil ik het nog eens (her)lezen?
    Daarnaast zijn er inderdaad enkele uitzonderingen zo heb ik een boek in mijn kast staan dat ik nooit meer ga herlezen maar het heeft wel een waarde voor me vermits ik het cadeau kreeg Ên er een persoonlijke inscriptie in staat. Gesigneerde boeken doe ik minder snel weg maar ook hier begin ik beter in te worden. Zo heb ik onlangs een Cassandra Clare fan gelukkig gemaakt met mijn gesigneerd exemplaar van De ijzerproef.

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