How do you dispose reading material?

azmomAugust 11, 2014

I love to read. Now I want to downsize reading material - books, magazines, newspaper clips, brochures..etc. but I feel quite indecisive as which one to dispose.

How do you clean out your reading material? how do you make the keep/toss decision?

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I've had a lot of experience having owned a large private library. About half of the library was pre-WWI copies. It's like getting rid of your best friend! Now I am down to only about 3,000 books.

Our recycling center will accept paper (magazines, newspapers, brochures and some books) and the thrift stores take books and some magazines (especially craft or cooking magazines).

If the book collection has any value, you may be able to trade them to a used book store for credit or sell them outright. I've sold everything from early copies of children's Golden Books to collectable cookbooks.

I have also sent boxes of books to the war zones (son-in-law is an Army Officer), where they are much appreciated.

Check with your local library, they may have an annual book sale and you may be able to contribute them to the library. Our Symphony Guild also has an annual book sale.

I've donated children's books to an after-school reading program at the Catholic Church.

I read about a small community, not far from here, starting a lending library in the local paper and I took them about a thousand books.

A friend was a member of a small church and I donated a number of religious books to them.

If you need a new hobby, you can convert paper (including junk mail) to homemade paper with a new use. I make all my greeting, note, and Christmas cards, gift tags, some gift items, wrapping paper, etc., with homemade paper.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 5:12AM
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Throw away all the things!!

Seriously, though, I work in publishing. Magazines, newspapers, etc.

Throw them all out.

If there is something that truly you would want to share with your granddaughter or daughter, pull it out and stick it in a a file folder labeled "Deep Thoughts" or something. (My mother once sent me a story she'd saved about a little girl who wanted to badly to learn to read, and was frustrated when she realized that the stories she was being given to read were "see Jane run," so she read them very dramatically. It spoke to her--and it spoke to me.)

But those should be somewhat few and far between. Really serious stuff.

The rest of it? Give yourself about 20 minutes to think about it; talk it through w/ your husband/friend/kids. Let it become part of your mental database, and reinforce its presence by thought and conversation. And then toss the paper.

All those publication are called "periodicals"--which means (mostly) that they are published periodically. But I think it also means that they are intended to last for only a short period.

Throw away all the things!

(if you can find a way to recycle the paper, do it.)

Books: They aren't sacred. If you really think you'll read them again, find a way to keep them. But if you probably won't, or at least won't anytime soon, send them out of your house.

I will confess. I have thrown books in the garbage*.
I do it enthusiastically if I think the book is badly written, or cheerfully if I think it's not of great appeal. If I wouldn't heartily recommend it to someone, I am willing to toss a book.
I have even tossed otherwise fine books simply because I didn't want to have it sitting around for weeks while I figure out how to donate it.

In my neighborhood, there's a guy who sells used books on the street. Lately I just take whatever armful I've got and drop them off with him as I go by.
We also have a used-book store here in NYC that operates as a charity--we drop books off there as well. Even if the bookstore were a for-profit enterprise, I'd drop books off.
Anything to get them out of my house.

*In my town, that means the paper-recycling section of the garbage truck.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 11:00AM
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Books are donated to the local library to be sold in their volunteer run book store. Not too many new ones coming into the house now as I read books on my IPAD. I also use the library a lot more now that I am retired.

Recipes torn out of magazines are immediately put in a 3 ring binder. If I see a product ad for something I want to try, I rip it out and put it in my purse. I've found I used to tear a lot of thing out of magazines and then never looked at them again, so I just stopped wasting my time doing it. Rarely I will scan a magazine article if it's really compelling. Some magazines I toss in the recycle. I often remove the mailing labels and leave a few in the doctors' waiting rooms. I think of it as a public service!

A friend brings a lot of her magazines to the hospital where they are gladly accepted in the chemo units and other areas where there are long waits

User manuals or brochures that serve some purpose (not just fluff) are inserted into sheet protectors along with pertinent receipts/warranties/service histories and then into 3 ring binders that are in drawers in our office. From time to time, I go through those and shred and info for discarded appliances, etc

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:06PM
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No magazines for me at all. I don't save many paper things, only manuals which are in the kitchen drawer, manuals for electronics are in a manila envelope in the room with the electronics. Other manuals are in my computer room in a file cabinet. I do have 400 hard back books which I have in book shelves in 3 rooms. I don't keep paper backs, I pass them on.

Papers can deteriorate quickly and leave a smell in the home, especially in the basement.

This post was edited by EmmaR on Thu, Aug 14, 14 at 9:47

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:45PM
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Our Friends of the Library donation drop is beside a large dumpster for paper waste.

There is a person at the university library that collects seriously old newspapers, like civil-war era stuff.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 3:49PM
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I second taking magazines to dr. waiting rooms. DH said there is nothing as boring as an out of date (news) magazine. I told him that there is nothing as boring as NO magazine in a waiting room. They seem to migrate to the exam rooms or some other hidden place.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 5:03AM
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Start with YOU. Think about you, your interests, what makes you happy, etc. Then pull out the books you absolutely love and cannot imagine not owning. Then pull out ones you feel you need.

After that, look at the remaining books and ask yourself, "If I walked into a used bookstore and saw this today, would I buy it?" If the answer is no, it doesn't fit you anymore.

We donate books to the thrift store, pass magazines to MIL who then passes them on to an elderly lady who is unable to get out, then she passes them on to someone else... Brochures and other papers, just toss.

I found that I got rid of most of my reference materials on things like gardening, household repairs, and even cookbooks, because I was much more likely to turn to the internet than pull a book off the shelf.

I also sold a good number of books directly to Amazon. Look up a particular book and somewhere on the page they will have an amount you might be able to trade it in for. If you don't see an amount, just a box suggesting you sell it yourself, then they aren't buying it. It's a very easy process, like making a reverse order- assuming you have books they are willing to buy.

You can always just start with a small grocery bag- load it with a few books that you don't want and donate it. Then do another bag soon, and another. It's the old eating-the-elephant adage. That's what I do with DD's outgrown clothes- they are so hard for me to get rid of, and yet no one here is ever going to use them again. I donate a small bag, and then another small bag, and eventually, they are gone--- until she outgrows the next batch.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 3:02PM
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Thank you everyone for your suggestions.

The problem is that I am very selective in purchasing reading material, especially books. I read reviews, excerpt prior to every purchase. All the books I bought are of the subjects I love and have tons of information. It is hard to make decisions.

I do appreciate all the "pushes" you folks have provided. I pulled out books used in business school - yes, it does not make sense to keep out of date information. I also packed magazines, will take them to local library - Talley_Sue is right, magazines are "periodicals".

How do you decide on keeping/tossing your gardening, home improvement and cookbooks?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 10:00AM
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I got rid of my cookbooks because I don't cook anymore, also if I decide to cook again (not likely), I don't need cook books. The foods I miss are my chicken fried steak, pot roast, cookies and cakes. I am getting rid of so many things, like the remaining dolls I have from my collection. I am keeping just enough to fill my custom made wall to wall cabinets. I have made 3 trips to the Bethesda Store already to donate them. They made $400 on my dolls the same week. Decided to take a break but will start in again next week.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 10:33AM
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I've found that those reference books can become outdated. Pesticides and treatments change insofar as gardening. Cooking styles change too because our grocery experience is different than it was a few decades ago. I'd get rid of a gardening book or two every time I had a question and realized that I found answers in a flash online and often didn't find them at all in reference books. It depends on what you do with a book though- do you take them out and look at them, enjoy them on a regular basis?

I use to keep fiction paperbacks that I read and liked, but then later realized that there were very few that I actually liked well enough to reread, so even if I liked them, if I wasn't going to reread them, I let them go. Most can be repurchased for very little $$ used online-- if I liked it well enough to remember the name, then I probably kept it!

There's a guy who wrote a book on decluttering and he talks about some people keep all their books because it makes them feel knowledgeable and therefore good about themselves. I thought was an interesting take on why some people might keep so many books. I can say that was somewhat true of me.

If you are having a hard time letting go of books, then maybe those are the things you hold most dear, and maybe you should start with other items in your house where decluttering is concerned?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 3:50PM
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being a former librarian made the clean out easier for me
i saved maybe a half dozen hardback favorites plus all my gardening and cook books and atlases and a couple of history books, story books i read to children and grandchildren all my books fit on two shelves now
i got an e-reader and now use the public library to read and reread my favs and new books and if i want to read a hardback copy, i go back to the library and check one out
i am so glad i "got rid of those books far as the magazines go, dh had 30 years of 2 magazines that he finally dumped (after i cleaned out my collection) i tossed more than 10 years of my mags but i did save a few that had specific articles i use from time to time
it feels very good to "declutter"

    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 8:35PM
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The books I would either donate to a hospital or nursing home or I would go and trade them for more books to read at one of those used book stores. My husband, on the other hand....just can't stand to get rid of anything, so....I do it when he's not looking.

Going through the rest will probably be daunting, but if you haven't picked it up or read it for more than a year, you probably don't need it. If you want to organize what you have, I would turn to binders with plastic sleeves. You can organize them according to recipes, craft projects, political clippings...whatever your interests are that caused you to start collecting them. If you have grandchildren, relevant articles might be passed along to them, though you don't want to get them in the habit of "collecting" too :), but it might be fun to find out if you have similar interests. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 12:02PM
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I realized I had a problem with books when I looked at renting a larger apartment because I could buy more bookshelves if I moved there . . . .

I did a couple of things to winnow out the books collection. Over the past 5 years, I've removed about half the books--I'm down to about 1,000 books now, and a firm one in, one out policy.

First, I took all the books in one category, say, children's books. Then I sorted them by "absolutely must keep," "would like to keep" and "can easily get rid of." Because when you look at your books as a whole, you can't think of ever being able to part with a single one. But when you really look at a smaller sub-set of them, you realize there are a few you will always want to keep, some you really like, and others that you are not so attached to.

You can set a goal if you like. Weed out 10 per cent of each category, or 15 per cent, or whatever feels right to you.

Donate/sell those books that you are comfortable in letting go. Then, in three months, revisit the books and see if you can't let go of 10 per cent more. Or 5 per cent.

In my case, I had determined to get rid of two large bookcases, so the books I could keep had to fit in the remaining bookcases. It's good to set some sort of limit on the books--either by number of books, or the space you allow them to take up.

Another thing I would do was go to a single bookcase and count the number of shelves in that bookcase. If the bookcase had six shelves, I needed to remove six books from it. Not one book from each shelf, mind you, because there was an entire shelf of Jane Austen novels and books about Miss Austen that aren't going anywhere, just six (or five or three or whatever) books from the entire bookcase.

Again, this helps to focus you on which books are life-long keepers, which are nice friends, and which are more like Facebook buddies that you are glad to hear from on occasion.

I also had a lot of book series--mystery series, detective series, science fiction series. While I kept a few of these, for most of them I kept just the first book in the series. If I want to re-read the entire series (and I do, on occasion), then I can get the rest from the library.

For cookbooks, I determined that a small, two-shelf bookcase was going to be their home. Then I weeded through the collection, picking out the ones I use the most, and all the chocolate cookbooks (because you never know when a chocolate attack will strike and what ingredients you will have on hand at the time) and a few cookbooks I've purchased on my travels as mementos.

I did copy a couple of recipes I use a lot, but that were pretty much the only one I ever used from certain cookbooks, and put them in a binder with clipping from newspapers and recipes printed out from the internet.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2014 at 6:48PM
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Throw, donate, give away, sell. Same thing your kids may have to do someday.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2014 at 6:58PM
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LOL Oldfixer, when I glanced at your reply I saw, do the same with your kids. There were days when I felt that with one of mine.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 1:28PM
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LOL Oldfixer, when I glanced at your reply I saw, do the same with your kids. There were days when I felt that with one of mine.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 1:29PM
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I usually read in restaurants. If I finish a book that I know I don't want to read again, I leave it there to be picked up by someone else.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 4:06PM
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with access to the 'Net, clutter from catalogs and magazines has diminished to a tenth of what they used to be.

Still have several hundred books in plastic bins, even after sorting and discarding/donating. Have been intending to try to list them and sell them online. But . . . it's a hassle, and they are all old friends. :(

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 5:21PM
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I'll tell you what is a hassle..........listing all sorts of things for sale online and not selling them, that is the hassle. I googled the items I have for sale on EBay and $450. dolls are not even selling for $25. So I just donated about 75 high dollar dolls to The Bethesda Gentley Used Store. It took 3 suv loads to get them over there. Because the store has a lot of customers coming in they sold them to people who did not know about online shopping and people who truly loved the dolls. I was told that the BIG bosses told the manager to pass along their thanks. The store broke the record for sales in one month due to my dolls. I was very glad that I could do that because I believe in their cause.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 6:28PM
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