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Books - keep or get rid of?

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
We are HSing, so have a lot of books.

I've been debating getting rid of all the books that our public library has to clear space on our shelves and declutter a bit. I've already started not buying it if the library has it {unless it's an impulse buy at the thrift for .45 or less}.

OTOH what if we can't get it when we need it? What if the library gets rid of their copy? I can't afford to pay full price because I need it at the last minute.

WWYD?
post #2 of 42
I used to be very attached to my collection of book, but now that we've been using the library and interlibrary loan for so long, I'm not so attached and am ready to give away a good amount.

However, reference books are a "keep," imho.

Do you have mostly reference books? What books will you "need" on any given day? I would think fiction and classics would be safe bets to give away; the library will surely have To Kill a Mockingbird or Johnny Tremain.

Not knowing what's in your collection, it's just hard for me to say. Picturing mine, I have some reference items that I would keep. I'm not far along in homeschooling, so honestly the only homeschooling book I would keep is What Your Kindergartner Should Know. Otherwise I'd keep The Encyclopedia of Country Living, When Technology Fails, various go-to cookbooks, some references we have on electronic circuitry, a medical reference, stuff like that. I'd say goodbye to my Jean Auel collection (not sure about my Harry Potter collection though), all my sociology books I've prized for so many years, finance books, etc. I could probably get rid of 80% of my books. And I will, when I get around to it. So many projects, so little time.
post #3 of 42
Thread Starter 
We have lots of children's fiction {some out of print}, science books, childrens fiction series, and adult theology books. The theology books are not going I'm sure.
post #4 of 42
I'd probably be in the minority here, but I would get rid of a lot of things before I'd get rid of books. Honestly, I could deal with having two days worth of clothes (though it wouldn't be fun), no furniture, etc. but not without our books.

That said, here are the books I've gotten rid of over the years:
- Popular series (like Harry Potter, Boxcar Kids, etc), though we had very few of these
- Most of my college textbooks: I kept most of my science/math books, but got rid of political science, econ, anthropology, etc. I've kept the best supplementary books that I got in these subjects, though, when I knew they were the standards in their fields.
- Books that we've never read AND when honest had no intention to read
- Books that we don't like (the exceptions to this are works of philosophy/theology by significant thinkers with opposite viewpoints)
- Books that were outdated or reference works that don't get used
- Most of my cookbooks and gardening/homesteading books: I've limited myself to one shelf for each category, meaning the things we have are the best on the topic.
- Individual children's books/stories if we had more than one copy or if that story was in an anthology that we had (for example, I got rid of books that had one fairy tale if that fairy tale was in our volume of fairy tales) and most picture books
- Books on current events/commentary
- Most biographies
The above includes most of the books I've gotten at used book sales for $1 or less because they looked interesting and were cheap.

Things I've kept and will keep:
- Sound theology and philosophy
- Classic literature
- Anything by the Greeks/Romans
- Language textbooks (I did go through them to get rid of ones that weren't very good) and books written in foreign languages that we can read
- DH's books
- Children's books that I want my children to read over and over

My mother had a rule for us kids growing up: if we found ourselves checking a particular book from the library over and over, she'd buy it. I think that's a good rule for kids' books, except for classic children's literature. I don't even remember most of the stuff I borrowed from the library as a kid. This is the rule I'll have for my children's "leisure reading."

My problem with the library is that they do not always have the books I need and if they do, it's usually checked out or worse, it's lost. I do make an effort to check out a book from the library before buying it though (I've avoided buying many books that were not worth the money this way).

I already have many of the homeschooling books I'll use with Ladybug and my rule is "less is more." I'd rather have one fantastic book that can be used as a textbook for a few years, then several mediocre actual textbooks that are based on some "curriculum." One example off the top of my head is The Handbook of Nature Study versus a bunch of science textbooks.

BTW, when my mother taught me to read I had only two or three "readers." I read those over and over and then jumped straight into fairy tales.

Also, I'm not a fan of electronic readers. When the electricity turns off (which happens frequently here), we'll always have books. We have the Robinson Homeschool Curriculum on CD and to be honest, I think I'm going to find the books I like most and hunt down used hard copies.
post #5 of 42
Most libraries have interlibrary loan these days so even if your library gets rid of it they should be able to get it.

I go through a book purge every few years. I put them on paperback swap and if they do not go within a few months they go to the library book sale.

I do keep various reference books and some classics and some favorites. But I have noticed with fiction my tastes do change. Yesterday I think I put another 20+ books on paperback swap. I realized I had no interest in them anymore. Cookbooks I use a lot I keep but I have a few that I copied the couple of recipes I liked and swapped them.
post #6 of 42
We got rid of over 2000 books and I feel great about it! Like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
post #7 of 42
Have you considered a Kindle or similar to use for some of them? I know several older classics are even free to download.
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post #8 of 42
I had stacks of books on the floors and in the closets. I got rid of many of them.I hardly ever used them.If I need a specific one I can go to the library.With books being 25 cents at the thrift I am finding it hard to not buy more at times,but it has gotten easier to donate them.I do not miss the piles of books all over!
post #9 of 42
I get rid of anything that I don't plan on rereading or that the girls aren't interested in. I get most of the girls books for .25 or less at the thrift store (with exceptions for books I KNOW they will like that I will buy full price). Our library stinks so depending on the library just isn't practical for us.
post #10 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristinaLucia View Post
We got rid of over 2000 books and I feel great about it! Like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
Thats ALOT of books....


I have been using cashforbooks.net While its hit or miss the small checks every couple weeks are nice.
post #11 of 42
Start with the books nobody really likes (the ones that always get shoved back in the shelf) and work from there.
Are there any books you or your children have "outgrown"?
If the library can't get a book you need there's always omazon, bookswap, betterwordbooks etc., so you should probably be generous there.
post #12 of 42
At a beginning of the year purge I got rid of 150 books, and I've tried to continue (scouring my bookshelves and asking if I will REALLY use this over and over) and it feels GREAT!

I do make a lot more trips to the library now, but my children that too!
post #13 of 42
Just a caveat if someone was thinking of doing this:

Do NOT donate books to your library and expect them to be added to the library's collection so you can check out the books you once owned. That does NOT happen with some, maybe a lot, of libraries.

The Friends of the Libary organizations at many of the suburban libraries around me gather books for a big book sale fundraiser once or twice a year. To my knowledge, my library keeps NONE of the donated books. NONE.

Every now and then I run into people online who say they're going to donate their books to the library and they will continue to check them out afterwards. That's not the case, at least with the libraries around me.
post #14 of 42
I have a love of books and am buried in them at the moment.

I'm just wondering if there's a good online place to sell them?? I'm thinking that cashforbooks.net only for text books, right?
post #15 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenluv View Post
I have a love of books and am buried in them at the moment.

I'm just wondering if there's a good online place to sell them?? I'm thinking that cashforbooks.net only for text books, right?
Amazon! I have sold THOUSANDS of dollars worth on Amazon over the past 10 years or so. It's much less hassle than eBay, etc. Love it!
post #16 of 42
I keep the absolutely wonderful ones, pass the good ones along to friends, and donate the rest to the library once a year.

I used to keep all of them and then just sort of ... got over it one day. I realized that I'd rather have those books out being enjoyed by others than sit on my shelf untouched. I probably only keep 1 out of every 10 books that I buy/borrow.
post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post
i keep the absolutely wonderful ones, pass the good ones along to friends, and donate the rest to the library once a year.

I used to keep all of them and then just sort of ... Got over it one day. i realized that i'd rather have those books out being enjoyed by others than sit on my shelf untouched. i probably only keep 1 out of every 10 books that i buy/borrow.
ita!
post #18 of 42
I wouldn't use the fact that the library has it as the definer. Libraries cull their collections regularly too. If you need the space, I'd prioritize based on usefulness and how much you like it.
post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltlmrs View Post

Also, I'm not a fan of electronic readers. When the electricity turns off (which happens frequently here), we'll always have books. We have the Robinson Homeschool Curriculum on CD and to be honest, I think I'm going to find the books I like most and hunt down used hard copies.
I have an e-reader (a kindle wireless only), and it's battery operated...you can read a kindle without electricity.

I'm actually a big fan of my kindle, and am slowly transitioning all my homeschool curriculum and books over to it, and eventually I'll likely buy kindle versions of my cookbooks just to clear room off the shelves. I have no real attachment to turning actual pages of a book, so the kindle's a pretty good idea for people like me who don't care about the actual paper part, but wants to keep a lot of books for reference without the clutter.
post #20 of 42
I love books but they are something I've decided to de-clutter and have pretty much done so. I hate the look of bookshelves filled with books (and dust!) anywhere except for a designated reading room and since I don't have even a chance of having a house with enough space for that around here I just started de-cluttering them. One thing that helped is moving, and another thing that is helping me now is that I buy almost all of my books on Kindle (on my iphone), because it saves me $ and space. I don't really miss books as paper much.
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