Baby Boomer Series ~ What To Do with Too Many Books

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Real Estate Agent with Prudential CT Realty

Baby Boomer Series ~ What To Do With Too Many Books

What to do with too many books

In previous posts, we have dealt with the process of downsizing possessions especially if people are thinking about moving to smaller homes. In addition to cleaning out the attic and sorting through old photographs, another special category that must be addressed is what to do with book collections. Like photographs, books often have sentimental value so people may not be able to part with them.

I just spent the last two weeks going through my book collections so I know how difficult this can be. I had a full range of book types, from old paperbacks to beautifully-bound editions, from text books to coffee table books. Some I look at frequently, and some I haven’t glanced at in decades. The task of deciding what to keep and what I could part with was daunting. Here are a few ways to make the task manageable:

Sort Books into Categories 

The first step is sorting. Depending on your collection, you may come up with different categories but mine fell into these categories:

  • Textbooks
  • Paperbacks (fiction and non-fiction)
  • Children’s books
  • Reference books
  • Library-edition bound classics
  • Business books
  • Hard cover fiction
  • Coffee table books
  • Instructional books

Separate Each Category into Three Piles

For each category, I further separated them into three piles: those I wanted to keep, those I might want to keep, and those I didn’t want to keep. The smallest pile was the last one, so I knew I had to eliminate some books from the first two piles.  By asking myself a few questions, I was able to bring myself to part with many of my books:

  • Will I ever read it again?
  • Is the information still current?
  • Can someone else get more use out of it than I currently do?
  • Will I regret giving it away?

From there, I was able to really downsize my collection. I ended up keeping many of my coffee table books, some reference books, some of my favorite fiction and non-fiction books, most of my travel guides, a few instructional books, and the gifts that people gave me. So I will still have all the books that I use frequently as well as enough books for a small bookcase.

What To Do with Books You Don't Want

That left hundreds of books that I wasn’t sure what to do with, but I still wanted them to go to good use. So I searched for options for the books and found several great outlets.

  • I asked friends and family to take what they might be interested in.
  • I donated books in good condition to my local library for their Friends of the Library book sale.
  • I donated many children’s books to local literacy programs.
  • I found a religious organization that ships encyclopedias and textbooks (which the library won’t accept) to other countries. I’m not sure where they will end up but I felt better that they were going somewhere.
  • I sold some textbooks on eBay. You can also sell all your books on eBay, but I decided that I didn't want to do that so I chose other options.

If you want to know whether the organization you are donating to (for books or other items) is reputable, check it out on Charity Navigator or another charity-ranking site.

Sorting through old books was another time-consuming task, but it will make your next move easier if you decide you want to downsize.

Other posts in the Baby Boomer Series:

Hey Baby Boomers! Have You Had Enough Yet?

Cleaning Out the Attic

Thinking Ahead 

Sorting Through Old Photographs

 

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Peggy Chirico

 

 

Peggy Chirico, REALTOR®
Serving the Greater Hartford Area
Prudential CT Realty
peggychirico@gmail.com

860-748-8900

If you are buying or selling a home in Hartford County or Tolland County, please call me, email me, or visit my website.  I would be happy to help you with your home search or provide a market analysis for your home.

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Topic:
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downsizing
sorting through book collections
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baby boomer series

Comments 9 New Comment

Rainmaker
783,734
Joe Petrowsky
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709

What a great topic. We have been donating books for many years, but we haven't been buying hard copies, as a Kindle has been our library of late.

June 07, 2012 02:55 AM
Rainmaker
813,509
Joyce Kelley
Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl.
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc

Being an avid reader I don't get rid of a book. I may read one 3 or 4 times.

June 07, 2012 08:24 PM
Rainmaker
572,839
DeeDee Riley
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA

Peggy,

Great topic and great information here!!!!!  I have so many books and many I've never read yet.  Any that I do read though, I pass on to the Friends of the Library!  I buy a lot of used books from Amazon.com to so that would be another place to sell your books.

Have a wonderful weekend!

June 08, 2012 08:43 PM
Rainmaker
578,613
Barbara Altieri
REALTOR - Fairfield County CT Real Estate
RealtyQuest, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Homes for Sale and Real Estate

Peggy - Great post. You just can't keep all those book around.  I like your idea about the encyclopedias.  I had not thought of that. I have a set in the basement because, as you said, I can't find a home for them. I will have to check that out. Thanks. 

June 09, 2012 04:23 PM
Rainmaker
1,281,827
Joan Cox
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373

Peggy, with e-readers today, we won't have this problem in future years.    Thank you for this list, as I have LOTS of books to deal with someday too!

June 11, 2012 04:13 PM
Rainer
421,810

Peggy Chirico

REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate
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