the agony of decluttering!

clinkApril 25, 2007

OK -- you guys were doing a great job of making me clear things out. I freecycled VHS tapes and a pile of cross-stitch patterns. So I moved on to the very over-crowded bookcase and ruthlessly went through the stacks.

I eliminated decorating book after decorating book (it's an addiction!)-- went thru the novels and gardening books and came up with quite the pile.

First stop -- the used book store. They took 4. Now these were good books in beautiful condition. But they were over-stocked. The $3 I got didn't pay for the gas!!! So stop number 2 was the Habitat for Humanity ReStore Store -- I gave them the rest of the Home Improvement books and decorating books. I do get a tax donation but I did spend $7!!!

Stop 3 was the library for their libary sale -- they aren't accepting any books at this time.

So I STILL have a stack in my car. Give me another suggestion to get rid of them --- Ideas??? Since I live in the country on a gravel road -- a "free" box won't work!!!


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Cathy, So kind of you to try to do the right thing. Sorry it is not going easier.

Maybe hospital or clinic or office (for waiting rooms?)

Psych unit or other residential treatment settings? (I put out tons of magazines and books over years working there and they'd be devoured. Kinda odd who would grab what, and what they did with it all I'll never know...)

Nursing home or assisted living facility for elderly?


Jail or prison?

Fire house?

Most public underfunded facilities with "libraries" have a pretty beat up and sparse collection.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 3:22PM
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I've found that sometimes I just need to get clutter out of my house. Getting it out is more important than finding it another "home."

You've made a wonderful effort. If it were me, I'd call one school or Church to see if they want them. If not, I'd put them in the paper recycle part of the trash.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 4:52PM
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Our thrift stores take any kind of book. It's where I buy most of mine. Are church rummage sales common in your area? How about some type of group trying to raise money with a garage sale? Scouts, soccer teams, T-ball, etc.

I would go back to the library and ask if you could put the box in their lobby with a FREE sign. Or a school. Or a hospital waiting room. Do you have any recreation centers? Senior centers? Low income medical clinics?

List the books on Freecycle. Just by the box and tell them to Freecycle anything they don't want. If you drive by a garage sale, stop and ask them if they would take your books as a donation to their sale ;)


    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 1:21AM
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You might even start something with the library. Ours now has a permanent box for recycling magazines - recycling to other readers, that is.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 2:11AM
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Our local Goodwill is the only charity that accepts books. I take all mine there now.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 9:23AM
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my city recycles paper. Books are paper.

My DH would have a cow--he thinks no book deserves to go in the garbage. But I'm telling you, books are a dime a dozen. I work in publishing, and I know--they are simply ways someone came up with to get your money into their pocket. Hopefully by selling you something you were interested in. But they're not holy.

*Especially* decorating books. If these are 4 years old, many of their ideas will be out of date. Some things are timeless, but even those are influenced by the times. And the photography and typography can rapidly make the entire book feel dated.

My vote: Toss 'em. You've made your good-faith effort. (well, Freecycle attempt first, maybe)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 10:16AM
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Tally, I think I'll add your comment to my list of mantras (collected from another post).


Why is it so much easier to throw away stacks and stacks of paper, yet bind that same paper into book form and suddenly we feel that throwing it away would be akin to desecrating the flag? You really put this is perspective for me.

I will tell myself the following:

"I do not need to find a new home for my college textbooks, I can throw them away" (I graduated in 1988!)

Regarding the original poster's dilemma, if it is that hard to GIVE the books away, that is a sign that they are not wanted and should probably go into the recylcing.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 10:41AM
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I like that! "Books are not holy"

Ok -- One last Freecycle post and I'm done! And I will quickly toss the college text books (those I wasn't even trying to give away!)

I happen to have a girlfriend in publishing and we get one of everything that they think we might enjoy. Often we get boxes and boxes of books. I love them -- but there are alot of books that are off the mark for us. And no one will buy historical novels.

So one last freecycle post and I'm done!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 10:52AM
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I'll make one last pitch to try residential programs for the elderly, mentally ill, criminal....

I was in two elderly assisted living places yesterday. Both could have used your books and magazines. In the "library" at the large state Soldier's Home for veterans, the newest magazine on display was from 2003. Truth.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 9:37AM
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Now, how come when I post that books are consumable items and not all are worth keeping, I always get the posters who feel that a home without a wall to wall library must be full of dunces?


    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 11:44PM
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One of the grocery chains (Hannaford - I think they're regional) has piles of books in the vestibule that they sell for 25 cents or a buck and the money goes to a different charity each month. That's where mine are going - that's where some of mine have come from, too, as a matter of fact. These are mostly fiction, but I don't think they care. One drops them off at the courtesy desk to donate.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 11:07AM
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How about the local junior or senior high school? They don't call them home ec teachers any more, but the equivalent would probably be thrilled to get decorating books, etc. The teachers for "Family Living" at my local middle [junior] school have many shelves for book donations, which the students seem to read often.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 1:02PM
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I remember a post here once from VERY early in my days at That Home Site; someone wrote that they had years' worth of some science magazine--not National Geo, but some other one.

he (I think a "he") had called all the schools in the area; they didn't want them. All the libraries; they didn't want them. Spoken to some of the homeschooled kids he knew (extreme western Nebraska, where towns are few and far between, and kids can live miles and miles from a school); they didn't want them.

But still he insisted, they must be valuable, because they had all this valuable science info in them.

Nevermind that there was no comprehensive index.
Nevermind that it would be really hard to find the story you want on the specific subject you're studying without flipping through the whole pile.
Nevermind that the same information is available in reference materials in libraries, in an easier-to-find form.

I suggested tossing them, but he chastized me, saying, " These are valuable." yet no one wanted them.

What's that saying, that describes how worthless something is?

"You couldn't GIVE those things away!"

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 1:39PM
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A few years ago, I culled out some old textbooks. I found math regents study books from high school. What was I saving them for? In case 1970 comes back and I have to take the final exam again?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 3:12PM
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You could always try BookCrossing!

Here is a link that might be useful: Book Crossing

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 8:20AM
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You know, I recycled a piled of books and felt a little bad about it until I read this! Thanks for letting me dump the guilt about trying to find a home for books. I have a lot of antique books my mom bought for things I had no interest in which ended up in my bookcases. There's information in those books, but some of it is outdated and I need to let go of these. I guess I can try to sell them at my next garage sale, but if they don't, into the recycling bin they go.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 9:19AM
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My local used bookstore accepts all of my donated books. They keep some to sell (and give me store credit for a portion of that) and they donate the rest to thrift stores. I like supporting my local business.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 1:23AM
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My local used bookstore takes books for credit. Since I now have a kindle and didn't plan to use the credits for myself they were happy to distribute my credits (MANY) to needy customers.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 2:49PM
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Sometimes local coffee shops will take some books for their customers to browse.

Abe Books and Amazon will help sell books on the internet.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 3:37PM
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If you have really old books, you might put them out there for crafters to use--they can cut them up and fold them and decoupage them, etc.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 12:53PM
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I once knew a lady who used old paperbacks to start her BBQ. Not sure I could that, but she had problems where she could not get rid of them locally.

Our charity thrift stores take books most of the time. Occasionally one will not be taking them, and most won't take encyclopedias, textbooks, or manuals, but for the most part they usually accept books. We are lucky enough that we get mail cards for charities that come by the street regularly, and they are happy to take books. I usually donate to VVA because they are in our area (and in a lot of areas of the country) and I can schedule the pick up online. Love being able to just put donations out front and forget about them.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 3:41PM
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I have a friend with a summer cottage on a small island. Our bookclub gave her lots of books for a library there. They were thrilled! I know it doesn't help the OP, but sometimes good books deserve a new home......

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:31PM
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I'm not into decorating books but I love old gardening books! I have several from the 1920s and 1930s. I even downloaded three, free online from 1917 and 1918.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:14PM
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