6 Easy Ways to Unhaul Your Books

6 Easy Ways to Unhaul Your Books shows three stacks of books including Strike the Zither, Secret of the Moon Conch, and The Edge of In Between.

6 Easy Ways to Unhaul Your Books

Spring and Fall always make me want to clean and organize, and one of my favorite things to organize is, of course, my books! This year, I’ll review somewhere around 200 titles, and about one-third of them will be in the form of physical copies I receive from publishers. Which means about 70 books for the year.

Not including the books I buy (not zero) or are gifted to me. Or books anyone else in our household of readers happens to buy.

At any rate, it’s too many to keep, which means dealing with my book hoard a couple of times a year is essential. If you’re like me and you’re getting ready for a fall cleanout, here are some ways to unhaul your books.

1. Donate books to your local county library.

The library will accept books in good condition and sell them to raise money for their programs. I think they might stop accepting donations during the summer due to being busy with summer reading programs, so be sure to check with your library and make sure they’re accepting donations before you try to drop off books.

Little Free Library photo shows a small structure with an angled roof, dark gray sides and a brown wood door with a wooden sign on it that says "Little Free Library." Photo credit Jacqueline Smith.

2. Find a Little Free Library near you.

If you’re not familiar with them, Little Free Libraries are small, stand-alone structures that are usually big enough to hold a shelf or two of books. You may see them outside a park or in neighborhoods. You can also check the Little Free Library website to see if there are Little Free Libraries in your area that are registered with the program. I usually only add two or three books at a time when I donate to these, but there are a few in my area that I frequent. Our local community college bookstore also has a “Leave a Book/Take a Book” table that I will add to my regular donation list.

3. Pass your books on to a friend, relative, or teacher.

I don’t have a ton of reading friends at the moment. When I did, I used to pass on a lot of books to them or to their kids. Sometimes now, I’ll take a quick picture of a stack of books and ask my remaining reader friends if they want anything in the stack. That way, I can pass the books on to them the next time we meet up.

I used to give a lot more books to teachers. I live in Florida, so right now, that’s problematic for me. If you live in a place where it’s easier to hand books to teachers and have them added to a school or class library, I know the teachers I’ve given to appreciate it.

4. Sell or trade at your local used bookstore.

This is a book unhaul point that I definitely need to make better use of. We have a couple of used bookstores in town. I’ve bought books from them more than once, but I have never traded things in. You can often get store credit for the books you sell to the store.

Of course, then I’ll want to spend my store credit on, you know… MORE BOOKS. This seems like a vicious cycle. Haha!

5. Donate books to a domestic violence shelter, group home, or local sharing organization.

We have a local organization that helps local families by serving as a food pantry and thrift store. I like to donate books to them sometimes. It feels more personal than a chain like Goodwill, though there’s nothing wrong with donating there if that’s what’s local to you.

You may also want to consider local domestic violence shelters or group homes if you have any in your area. Keep in mind that they may only accept certain types of books.

6. Mail books to prisons or other facilities through Sentences Book Donations.

This is my favorite way to unhaul books. I discovered Sentences Book Donations the first year I started blogging on The Story Sanctuary. The founder, Clinton Festa, asked me to review his book, and I discovered (or he mentioned) Sentences then. Sentences is a non-profit organization that helps match donors with prisons and other facilities looking for book donations. When a facility is looking for books, Clinton posts the details on his Facebook and Goodreads pages. Anyone can copy down the details and ship books to the facility directly. Easy peasy.

If you want to know more about Clinton and Sentences, check out this Q&A I posted yesterday.

Books donated to a facility in Alabama. Photo shows a cardboard box filled with YA and MG books, spines showing.
This is a box of books I donated late last summer to a facility in Alabama via information posted on the Sentences Book Donations Facebook page.

A Note About ARCs (Advance Release Copies)

If you’re a reviewer, you probably already know you can’t sell ARCs– they’re pre-release, uncorrected copies of a book that basically become obsolete after a book is published. This means you’ll want to be careful where you donate them. For example, I’ve noticed that if I donate them to my library, they will try to sell them, which I don’t like. Just something to keep in mind.

My favorite thing to do with ARCs is either give them to a reader who has been waiting eagerly for the book to come out, place them in a Little Free Library, or donate them to a local charity.

I think you can also recycle ARCs, depending on the recycling rules where you live.

What’s Your Go-To Place to Unhaul Your Books?

Where do you take books you’re getting rid of? How often do you clean out or reorganize your shelves? If you’ve posted about a recent book unhaul on your blog or social media, leave me a link. I’d love to check it out for more inspiration as I prepare for my fall cleanout!

It’s fall– and time for me to clean out and reorganize my shelves. If you’re like me and getting ready for a clean-out, you might want to check out these six places to unhaul your books.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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