The Benefits of Unhauling Books

I recently unhauled a large number of books from my shelves. Some I had already read, while others were lounging on my TBR. There were hardcovers, paperbacks, and ARCs in the mix. To the average observer it would seem as though there was no rhyme or reason as to why specific books were removed from my shelves. But those people would be wrong. There was solid logic for each book that I got rid of, and I figured I could share my method and provide some advice to any of you that are considering an unhaul of your own.

Bye Bye Goodbye GIF by Mickey Mouse

So first, let’s start with the reason for my unhaul. There were two motivations for me to purge my shelves this time around. The first reason is simple. I was running out of space for new books. Since my room doesn’t have the space for more bookshelves, the only way I could store new books I acquired on my shelves was to get rid of some of the older titles. A very simple case of out with the old and in with the new.

However, there was a second reason that made me want to unhaul some books. I don’t think this reason alone would ever push me to actually get rid of any books, but it definitely helped me to choose which books were on the immediate list of books going bye bye. You see, for a while now I’ve been looking at my shelves and feeling like they no longer represent my reading tastes. There are a lot of older YA fantasies and dystopia titles on there, and while I did enjoy those books at the time, I don’t think I’ve touched a book in either of those genres in over a year or two. I primarily read romance now, and yet instead of having a dedicated romance shelf, I had a dedicated fantasy series shelf. And that no longer made sense for me as a reader.

Were Not A Match Dating GIF - Were Not A Match Dating Not Compatible GIFs

Me to my fantasy shelves

So with those two goals in mind of making space and getting rid of books I no longer wanted on my shelves, I began the process of the unhaul. I had different criteria for different kinds of books. If it was a book I read that I disliked and had no other reason to keep it, I got rid of it. If it was a book or ARC that I had no interest in reading or had started several times and never made it past a specific point, then that book was on the discard pile as well. If there was a book or series that I no longer had an emotional attachment to even if I enjoyed it at the time, I picked now as the time to get rid of them.

Then once, I had removed all the books I was getting rid of from my shelves and made some new space, I had to find a way to get rid of all the books. The first thing I tried was posting on my Instagram stories, but that wasn’t wildly successful. The next thing I attempted was to sell the books I owned online, and here I had some more success. I discovered a site called Bookscouter that would tell you which site would pay the most for the books you were selling. I found that immensely helpful and ended up selling about 20 books to two separate places. I didn’t make a large amount of money by any means, but I was quite happy with the fact that I was recovering at least some cost, and that the site would help resell these books for me so that I wouldn’t have to deal with shipping costs and such. 

For Sale GIF - For Sale GIFs

That still left me with quite a few books that weren’t valued much by the resell sites, some of which I donated to Little Free Libraries. I don’t have any in my immediate neighborhood, but I planned an hour long route that had me stopping at several in nearby neighborhoods (and ended at a B&N) where I fit as many books as possible into those cute little structures, in hopes that someone found and enjoyed those books that I no longer treasured.

The last method that I’m actually currently still using, is an app called PangoBooks, that’s dedicated to helping readers sell the books they want to get rid of. Having this app on hand has actually helped me continuously unhaul books. So for the past few months, as I’ve read books, if I didn’t enjoy them, I immediately get rid of them. What I like about this method is it means that I’m on my way to having a curated shelves filled with only books that I enjoy!

It feels good to end the year by purging my shelves this way. I began unhauling books in the beginning of October, but ever since that initial first culling, I’ve taken the time to go through my books every few weeks to get rid of the ones I’m no longer interested in. Since I’ve been enjoying unahuling so much, I actually think that I’ll be making a goal of sorts that includes going through my books every so often to see what I want to unhaul as part of my plans of 2022! And since I know that this process can be difficult for some, I’m very curious to hear what each of your unhaul processes are like!

Do you regularly unhaul books? Do you have any Little Free Libraries nearby? How often do you get rid of books? Do you think a bookshelf should represent its reader?

42 thoughts on “The Benefits of Unhauling Books

  1. I agree. Malka! I did a massive unhaul earlier this year and got rid of all the books that I didn’t love or had no interest in reading anymore! I don’t even miss them. Some of them were pretty hyped books but I just couldn’t talk myself in keeping them where there are people other there that will probably enjoy them more than I did. I also find myself changing my taste in books and sometimes it feels as if I’ve “outgrown” some of the books I had. It felt so nice to get rid of them! Unhaulling can be so satisfying :3

    Amber @ Escape Life in the Pages

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    1. Yes! That’s the most amazing thing about my recent unhaul! I feel so free without those books and don’t miss them one bit! Which lets me know that I made the right decision!

      I feel like I’ve gotten better at getting rid of even the most hyped books. If I don’t like a book, or don’t plan on reading it, then it just doesn’t have to stay on my shelf!

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    1. I used to barely unhaul as well! I haven’t moved in recent years, so I usually would only get rid of a few books every now and then when I needed space. That’s why this was my first big unhaul in years. I guess the time was just right for me to get rid of lots of books I was no longer interested in!

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        1. Moving is the worst!! So many books, and so heavy… Plus the general stress of it! I hope they’ve been happy changes otherwise at least. 🙂 I just bought a house and don’t plan on moving for a while so I’m afraid I’m going to end up as a hoarder now, especially since I have the luxury of a library/office room so OF COURSE I have to fill it! 😅

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  2. I did unhaul 8books earlier this month or the last too!
    A bunch of them has been french books that was dissapointing to me, not finding any being as good as I remembered, or books ive read within my teenage years that I have absolute no recall of 🤣

    Though the goal has just been to rearrange the shelves, it was a pretty good opportunity for a clean :p as for what I did with them.. mother asked my younger cousin up the road from us if she’d like a few- to end up just shipping the load to her and basta! You do whatever you want with them now ahah 😅 it is quite harder with the pandemic, as my work no longer has the little free library and etc. (Mother also tried selling them- but they dont even wanna pay for it so 🤷🏽‍♀️ why not give them to family instead.)

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    1. Yeah, I unhauled a few books that were fine when I read them, but that I just had no need to keep on my shelf because I know I’ll never reread them as well!

      I only really rearranged my shelves once, even though I’m still constantly unhauling books. I think it’s because at this point I’m mostly unhauling books from my TBR shelf, either before I read them or immediately after reading them, and that shelf is separate from my read books. So I never have to rearrange the books I’ve actually read.

      That’s sweet that you gave the books to family! I don’t have any family nearby that would be interested in my books, otherwise I’d definitely offer my books to them first. And especially now that I’ve found a way to sell the books and get them out of my house, I’m happy!

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      1. That’s fair! I did remove some on my unread shelf too the time before- they just spend so long on it that sometimes our tastes changes 😅 whoops.

        Yes, it felt good to be able to give her.. feels so hard to give them away now 😬 happy you found your way to sell them too!

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  3. I really have to unhaul books soon. There’s a free public library around the corner from me, and there are a whole lot of books on my shelves that I know I’ll never read (books my husband bought that aren’t in my genres).

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    1. I hear that! I didn’t unhaul for a while because I had no reason to, even though there were some books on my shelf I didn’t really enjoy. But I do think that even if you have room it can be nice to get rid of the books you don’t love so that the only books left on your shelves are ones you loved or are excited to read!

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  4. loved this post, malka!! i’m definitely wanting to unhaul books since i’ve been running out of room—i have huge piles that i’ve been meaning to donate/take to half price books and i need to add more lol. i’m definitely trying to cultivate a selection of only books that i enjoy, though i do sometimes feel bad about books that were gifted to me!

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    1. Thank you!

      DO IT! It feels so good to clear your shelves! And I have quite a few piles as well! But since there’s no place that’s easy to donate to nearby, I’m stuck waiting for someone to buy them, which is a bit frustrating.

      I think that it’s important to have a bookshelf filled with books you love and are excited for. My shelves definitely do that for me now, and it makes me so happy! I do hear that about books that were gifted, but I think that if you read the books and gave them a chance, what you decide to do with them after is up to you!

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  5. Unhauling can feel so good haha I want a shelf with only my favourite reads so that’s why I give books away to people I know would like them more. I so wish we had little free libraries here. We have 2 in the whole city and they are a long way away sadly. But near my workplace we have a little house where we can leave boxes, plastic and such that will be recycled and someone in the neighbourhood have put in 2 massive bookcases there so I’ll put some books there and have made some great finds there lately! Not good for my TBR cart but hey a hardcover for free with an author you know you love is pretty good!

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    1. Yes! Unhauling feels fantastic!

      That makes a lot of sense. I have more than one shelf, and so I have room for both favorites and books that I just generally enjoyed, but I’ve definitely given away books to people who could appreciate them more from time to time!

      I kinda want to start a Little Free Library in my neighborhood! But I don’t see myself starting one in the near future. One day, perhaps!

      Oh! That’s great! I’m so happy that you have a place to leave and find books somewhat nearby! And a free hardcover is amazing! I hope you love the book!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope you do start a Little Free Library because it seems to bring so much joy to people who can visit them. Have seen alot of vloggs on Youtube and it looks like so much fun. You never know what you will find so thats always an adventure! 😀

        A free hardcover definitely is a lovely gift so I thank whoever in the neighboorhood reading good books! 😀

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  6. Thanks for the tip about Bookscouter! I only have one bookshelf, and I filled that baby up LONG ago. I have a few books set aside for unhauling primarily via donation and the LFLs around me, but some of the newer titles I might try to trade or sell. I’m glad you were able to feel happier with them after the change! 🙂

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    1. Bookscouter is really helpful, but you don’t usually make as much money from it as you would by actually selling the book online yourself. But it’s quick and easy, so it balances out!

      Oh, wow! I have three bookshelves, and I still ran out of space somehow! I think doing a mix of donations/putting in LFLs and trading/selling books is a good idea! That way you’re helping a community get more books in circulation, while also making a few dollars back to buy more books!

      And yes! I’m very happy with my unhauling decision!

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  7. This is AWESOME! I want to do a LFL so badly, and the housing association approved it- even said they’d build it, but then never did. So I either have to pay for it, or build it (which let’s be real, I have no idea how to build anything heh) but I really want to do one, and then fill the thing! I did that when I was moving, actually- I unhauled about 500 books in the LFL at the local YMCA where my son went to preschool! People loved it, my books were always gone by the end of the day, and I felt so happy! Pango sounds awesome, I clicked on the link and I think I shall give it a go! I have sooo many books that I don’t want to just give away (or some that I can’t find takers for, heh). I need to unhaul again, tbh, so I am definitely using your tips, THANK YOU!

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    1. Thank you! SHANNON, DO IT! Remind the housing association of their promise to build one! And if they still won’t build it, I’d definitely help fund it since I can’t actually build one myself right now, so helping to sponsor one would be the next best thing!

      FIVE HUNDRED BOOKS?!?!?! Wow! You really go all out when you unhaul! And that’s one of the things I love about LFLs! You get to help so many books that you particularly didn’t love get a new home with someone that’s genuinely excited about them!

      Pango really is awesome! I’m still figuring out exactly how to price things and such, but I invested in some bubble mailers, and I’ve been sending books out a few times a week at this point! I hope you have as much success with this method as I have had!

      Have fun unhauling again! I’m so glad my tips are useful! Best of luck culling your books!

      Like

    1. I honestly didn’t realize the importance of unhauling until I did the initial purge of my books a few months ago. Now I’m benefiting from having a much better collection of books on my shelves and I can’t imagine how I didn’t consistently unhaul books earlier!

      And yes! Now I want to read every book on my TBR and it’s wonderful!

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  8. for the past 6 months, i’ve been slowly unhauling my collection of books (when i moved in with my partner, he said i could only have one shelf!) i went from over 600 to around 100, and boy does it feel good! i can acquire more books now without feeling guilty about the space it’s taking up!

    we have a website here called trademe (it’s like ebay but for new zealand only), which has helped a lot. i recently discovered facebook groups are a great way to sell fast and for a decent amount (trademe selling didn’t go for very much, but the groups sold at much higher rates!).

    i have yet to unhaul my arcs, but i’ll see what i can trade off and whatever remains will go to the local op shop.

    it’s nice to see someone else doing something similar. i’ve never heard of the two links you provided, but i’ll look into them (i don’t imagine they’ll be much help for international people though). if you’re still selling, i suggest finding some ya book buy/sell groups on facebook!

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    1. Oh wow! That is quite the unhaul! I don’t know if I could ever get all my books down to just one shelf! That sounds really difficult! But I’m glad that it made you so much happier!

      Oooh, Trade Me sound really interesting! And I don’t have a Facebook account, but I have heard that people use it to sell books and have been intrigued. I’m glad you found a method of unhauling that works for you!

      ARCs are really tricky, and I’m still dealing with some of my own that I’m trying to get rid of. I’ll probably just visit another Little Free Library some day and just leave them there, since it just feels like the easiest option to me!

      I know that PangoBooks is US only as of now, but I’m unsure about BookScouter. It probably is though. And I am still looking for more ways to sell/get rid of my books, so I really appreciate your suggestion!

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  9. Thanks for that tip on the PangoBooks app! Definitely going to check that out. When we’ve unhauled books that we’re pretty sure we don’t want to keep, we’ve donated them to Better World Books at one of their book drops. For ones that don’t sell on PangoBooks, you might consider that as for every book sold, they donate one to libraries in need globally.

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