Let’s Talk About Unhauling Books

Posted July 13, 2017 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Discussions / 24 Comments

Every time I move it’s brought to my attention just how many books I own. Compared to a lot of other bloggers, it’s probably not that many, but packing and unpacking them always leaves me feeling like they’ve multiplied. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE all of my books, and don’t in any way think I own too many. However, many of my books have sat in boxes for years because I don’t have enough shelf space for them. My current shelf situation consists of two large Ikea Hemnes shelves and two smaller bookcases that are more for decorative purposes (you know, where you put your fancy editions and teacups to display).

Now, I don’t want to get rid of a ton of books, but I’m definitely trying to unhaul books that I know I won’t read again or didn’t like and really want to curate a library of just my favorites. Last year I got rid of a good 15-20 books (once I really didn’t like or KNEW I wasn’t going to read). I’m finishing unpacking my books from my last move since Max just built my second bookshelf, but I’m quickly realizing that there’s still not going to be enough room for my whole collection. I’ve filled the new book case about half way, but I’m still stuck on what to fill the bottom two shelves with since I know I’m working with limited space. Some of the books that haven’t made the cut will have to be packed away again, but it leaves me questioning if I should hold onto those books are not. Most of them are books that were really formative during my teen years (especially when the YA genre wasn’t as expansive and didn’t have as many options) but I’m not sure how I’d feel about them now if I read them.

Books I’m On the Fence About Keeping:
  • House of Night Series
  • Evermore Series
  • Jodi Picoult Collection

These books were all hugely important to me as a teenager and I really enjoyed them, however they’re not currently fitting into the “designated” shelves for their genre (I shelve by genre and then alphabetically by author). I can always wait until I get MORE shelves, but I’m wondering how I’ll still feel about them at this age…

A Work in Progress

As you can see, my shelves are currently a work in progress. On the right, from top to bottom, I have my two fantasy shelves, my Harry Potter shelf, my two paranormal/urban fantasy shelves, and on the bottom my dystopian/sci fi shelf. To the left, I have my two contemporary shelves, my Sailor Moon shelf, and my Meg Cabot shelf (yes, she get’s a shelf all to herself lol). The last two shelves have still not been designated for certain books, though I have plentyyyy of potential books to put on them (I’m thinking of either putting my unread books/TBR on them, my childhood books, historical fiction books, or my earlier contemporary books- Gossip Girl, A-List, etc.) I also hate to double shelve books (you know, when you have books shelved two-deep) because it makes it hard to see your collection.

Let’s Discuss!

When you get new bookshelves, does it ever make you feel like unhauling books (especially if they don’t fit on certain shelves?) What’s your method of deciding what books to get rid of? Do you ever have “unhauling remorse” and wish you hadn’t given a certain book away? Do you have books packed away in storage, or are you able to display your entire collection? Let’s chat in the comments!


24 responses to “Let’s Talk About Unhauling Books

  1. I’ve been doing a lot of decluttering of my shelves lately. I’m looking ahead to possibly moving this year, and I know I won’t want to move all those books around! Like you, I’m just trying to keep books I know I love and will reread in the future. To me it doesn’t make sense to keep a book I’ll never look at again. I’ve been doing a lot of rereading of my shelves, and that helps me decide what to keep and what to give away. I wish my shelves looked as nice as yours, even in their progress stage! Mine are just overwhelmed at this point – not enough space!

    • Thank you, Angela! Honestly I have a strict policy of not double stacking my shelves (it’s important to me to be able to see all of my books) so there are still MANY boxes of unpacked books that are not going to fit on these shelves lol. I have a small but steady pile of books I am going to get rid of, it’s just a long process to convince myself that I don’t want them anymore!

  2. I might be moving at the end of this year and I am absolutely dreading moving all of my books. Luckily, I currently live with my grandad, so I could potentially just leave a tonne of them here. But I kind of want to unhaul the ones that no longer mean anything to me. It’s the perfect excuse to do some spring cleaning! I just worry that I’ll regret it once I’ve given them away.

    • Moving books is the WORST. I have like no upper body stregth at all, so I have to have my bf or brother deal with all of the heavy lifting of my book boxes when I move (which leads to a LOT of complaining, haha!) I actually left quite few books at my parents’ house when I moved out (and still have some left there despite having a majority of my collection with me now). I always have total regrets when I do a massive unhaul!

  3. I just went through this recently! I ended up unhauling a TON of books (with a lot of Alexa’s help because she’s more ruthless than me). I’m going to get a new shelf tomorrow but I am forever out of space. Sometimes I’ll unhaul a title and then totally regret it and other times it feels amazing to let things go that are taking up space where new favorites could be housed. Sorry my comment is not helpful at all! Books are the one thing that I always feel TERRIBLE about giving up because I feel like I need to know that they’re going to a good home.

    • I love your comment about being forever out of space, because I definitely feel that way too! I could buy another two bookshelves this size and honestly still have boxes of books packed away in storage (but hey, there are totally worse things to spend your money on, right? Or at least that’s what I tell myself lol). It’s always really painful for me too giving away a book I REALLY WANTED to like but that ended up being sort of “meh” for me. I’ve seen some comments by others saying they get rid of anything that received under a 3 star rating and I’d like to be able to take that approach some day!

  4. I did a giant unhaul last year. Not because I didn’t have enough space, but because I wasn’t happy with having the amount of books I had; a bunch of them I just owned… I got rid of about half of my books (300+) and I haven’t regretted it. I thought that maybe that would happen, but no, no such thing. I just kept the books I still really wanted to read or that I had loved (loved, not kinda sorta liked). Now, everytime I read something I consider if I want to keep it or not. At the end of the year, I’ll probably do another unhaul, because of course I do keep adding books.
    The important thing to remember is that most books you could just buy again if you really wanted them. If not, those are the ones to keep, if you liked them.
    That worked for me anyway.

    Myrthe recently posted: Book Unhaul 2017 Part 1
    • That’s a huge amount of books to get rid of! Did you donate to a charity organization or your local library? (Sometimes I’m worried my unhauled books won’t find good homes!) It must be so much less stressful now though having cut the number of books you own in half, and you must have so much more shelf space now!

  5. My books are currently all over the place, as you may have seen in the post I just linked here!

    I hope to have an actual library room someday so I can keep all the books “worth keeping.” My issue in the past was just buying random books and not being intentional with my purchases. I’m trying to keep books I once LOVED, consider(ed) a favorite, and/or think I may reread. Or sometimes pretty covers for pictures 😉

    I got rid of a bunch of them (donated) before I moved and I honestly can’t even remember which books I unhauled. So I don’t miss them!

    Lauren (Bookmark Lit) recently posted: Books on the Move
    • YES before I started blogging I would just buy books on a whim and hope I liked them. Goodreads helped a LOT with that and now it’s rare I buy a book that I am unsure about liking (although sometimes I succumb to pretty covers or hype or buying a book for an author signing). I’m glad that unhauling wasn’t a painful process for you!

  6. Ah, I hate unhauling books but it’s something I usually have to do quite often. I only have 2 bookshelves and no space for a new one. My most recent BIG unhaul I did was by using my libraries ebook selection to make decisions. I gathered all the books on my shelves that have just been sitting there unread for over a year and checked to see if they were available as an ebook through my library. If they were, I added them to a library list on goodreads, and got rid of my physical copies! It was SO HELPFUL. I also get rid of books that were under 3-star reads. That’s usually easy for me. Series are the hardest for me to get rid of. I ALMOST got rid of my The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices sets but then I kept them. So glad >.< hahah

    • That’s a great idea, checking to see if they were available through your library, because then at least you know you’ll have the chance to read them! In theory I would LIKE to get rid of under 3 star read books (because I def won’t be rereading them), however it’s hard for me when it’s a hardcover and was pretty expensive…I’m so glad you kept your TMI and TDI series, especially with all of the new books coming out! Even if they weren’t your favorite, at least you’ll have them to reference, since there are so many hidden easter eggs in the new books!

  7. I go through phases of wanting to unhaul. I have a RIDICULOUS amount of books, but I also have this thing where I really can’t get rid of a book until I’ve either read it and decided if it’s a keeper or not, or attempted to read it and know that it’s not for me. Once I’ve done that, I can unhaul, but it’s a long process! I also ended up getting rid of a lot of books from my childhood that I wish I still had (Meg Cabot, Jacqueline Wilson, etc.) so now I have “the fear” that I’ll later regret something I get rid of (which is why my Picoult and Chamberlain collections are going nowhere!). I’ve even repurchased some collections to have them again (Dahl, Blyton). I do like unhauling from time-to-time though, partly to make way for new books, and partly so my collection feels fresh and cultivated. R xx

    • YES I feel so guilty getting rid of books I haven’t read yet (I just think it’s such a waste of money…) and I definitely gave away a lot of books from my “tween” years that I wish I hadn’t during a move one time when my dad was pressuring me to declutter. A lot of those books aren’t in print anymore either!

  8. I am SO in need of shelves and an unhauling. My spare bedroom currently looks like a book bomb went off in there. Between Bookstagramming and doing this stupid thing where I reorganized shelves and now don’t like how I organized them– it’s a hot mess. And also, I DO get unhauling regrets. Every year around Valentines Day I give away a ton of books to a librarian friend for an event she does for teens– and then like a month later there’s always like 1 or 2 books that I go looking for and realize I don’t have any more. I do the same thing with clothes though, so maybe it’s just that hoarder in me that wants to come out?? Anyway, LOVE your new shelves!!

    • I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who gets unhauling regrets- I know I can always repurchase books but they’re not always going to be the same cover/edition/etc! It’s so nice of you to donate for the valentine’s day event for teens though- I feel like if I had a specific event to donate for I’d be more compelled to unhaul more frequently, knowing that my books were going to a good home! And don’t even get me started on clothes- I am even worse about unhauling them than books!

  9. I’m constantly torn about unhauling books! I know that I really need to get rid of a lot, but I also feel guilty getting rid of books that I haven’t read (even if I know I never will) or purchased but didn’t like (I spent the money, so I feel like I should keep it?). I’m also hoarding a ton of ARCs… I really need to go through and only keep the ones that are really special, but to me ALL ARCs are special?! Ah, it’s so hard! I also have a ton from my younger reading years and childhood that I just can’t bear to get rid of. I think I’ll definitely be forced to get rid of some when I move out of my parent’s house permanently, so we’ll see what happens!

    Em @ Books & Cleverness recently posted: #YAStandsFor | I Read YA Week Recap
    • YES SO MUCH GUILT ABOUT GETTING RID OF UNREAD BOOKS. Especially older ones…but then the further down they fall on the backlist, the more I wonder if I will EVER find the motivation to pick them up! ARCs are hard too, because they’re such a testament to your hard work as a blogger, and it’s hard to let them go (even when you buy a finished copy as well!) I got rid of a LOT of childhood books about 4 years ago that were still in my parents house (they were moving) and I definitely regret it!

  10. I feel like I’m in a constant state of unhauling but mostly of ARCs. When I first started getting ARCs, I kept every single one, even if I didn’t like it but now that I’ve been blogging for a few years, I can’t keep every book I get. Now, I only keep the books I adore but that still leaves me with a lot so I have to put a lot of them in storage.

    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles

    • YES I know the feeling, physical ARCs feel so special! Especially from the ones of your early days of blogging, they’re like a testament to all of your hard work! I try to only keep books I think I will reread, but like you mentioned, that still leaves me with a LOT. I’m also really bad at parting with books I’ve purchased because I think of the money I spent on it…

  11. Ah, unhauling. Yeah, I have had to do this, but I am terrible at it! I want to keep ALL the things, even though I know there is no way I’ll ever read them all. I have gotten a bit better about getting rid of books I didn’t love- especially ARCs of books I didn’t love- but it is still tough, even if I have no real reason to keep them. I only have a few duplicates in storage, but… the situation has gotten bad, so I either have to cull, or put some away. Ah, the bookish struggles 😉

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: August 2017 New Release Giveaway Hop Sign Ups!
    • To be honest I’m no the best at unhauling ANYTHING, whether it be books, clothes, childhood momentos…etc. I always have this overwhelming fear that I will regret it! I’m trying to be better though, because even with two new shelves and a potential third being purchased…I think I will always be destined to have books in storage!

  12. Ahhh, I understand you completely!
    I’ll be moving sometime in the future and there’s just no way I could bring all my books along with me. That’s why I’m harsher about what books I’ll buy and trade for now because then I’ll have to carry them through the move.
    One thing that’ll probably help you decide is whether you’re proud to have the books on your shelf and will you actually reread them again. If the answer is no, to the donation pile it goes!

    Kelly L. recently posted: An Update + A LOT of Mini Reviews
    • I keep telling myself with each move that I’ll cut down on my book buying (especially since I have to pack them in a million small boxes to make them a reasonable weight to carry) but then I get settled and forget what a pain it is lol >.<

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