Decreasing your book-collection and paper-consumption without compromising knowledge

Decreasing your book-collection and paper-consumption without compromising knowledge.

I get it. I am also a bookworm. I love reading. I love writing. I love anything that involves letters and language and paper. I actually used to not read at all while still in school it wasn’t a priority since I was already reading so much. In fact I thought I didn’t really like reading much until my last year of school. Of that same reason I wouldn’t consider my book-collection extraordinarily significant however I do have a lot of books. A lot of books that I really liked the idea of keeping for storage but that I only read once. And a lot more books than I can travel with. So here is my approach to cleaning out my bookshelf with a clear conscious and without compromising on knowledge.

This is my modest book collection, minus a few, still too significant to take around with me

First, cleaning out:

Deciding which to keep

When clearing out my books I took out all of my books and went through each and every one of them. I made a yes, no and maybe pile and a completely separate pile for all my journals, turns out I have a lot of them as well. Clearing out your books doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get rid of all of them, it may be gradual; and for me it was. I still have a handful of books I haven’t even started yet.  For me sorting my books into different piles looked like this:

No: I decided to get rid of all of my books in Danish along with all of my English fiction books as I don’t read Danish at all any longer and as I am more interested in non-fiction books at the moment.

Yes: All  of the books that I am reading (I am currently halfway through 3 which is so unlike me but there you have it) and have not yet read I am definitely going to keep.

Maybe: All of the English non-fiction books that I have already read. I have a few biographies in here that I am thinking I will get rid of and choose a fair amount of the remaining books to keep.

Clearing out the books you do not need

So there are a list of different things you could do with books that you do not need anymore, obviously throwing them out is not one of them as it is extremely wasteful and completely unnecessary. Here is what you could do instead:

  • Donate them to goodwill

Goodwill stores always gladly accept a donation of books and it will make you feel really good as well allowing other people to gain knowledge from the book that you have enjoyed as well. Knowledge shouldn’t be exclusive to those with sufficient funds.

  • Donate them to the local library

Donating your books to a library is another way of allowing many other people pleasure from the books that you have purchased or received and it is the perfect place for books to be kept.

  • Donate them to a charity

I know that they often accept books at refugee camps, children’s hospitals, shelters for victims of domestic violence and the alike. If any of those are in your area that may be worth looking in to as it will be a valuable cause as well for you to donate your books to. Some places you will even be able to donate them to prison inmates or send them to schools in thirdworld countries.

  • Sell them on the internet

Selling your books is obviously also an option. You can always try to sell your books on the internet by posting and add on Amazon, Ebay, Gumtree or even Facebook, maybe someone in your network are looking for a new book to read.

  • Sell them at a fleemarket or a yardsale

Bring your books to a local fleemarket or have a yardsale in front of your house. Alternatively you can ask your friends or family to clear out their bookshelf as well and you can make a day of it. You could even find other things to sell as well. Fleemarkets are such an enjoyable activity that will allow you to connect with your neighborhood and/or community as well as giving your books a new home.

  • Give them away

If you read a book that you read that you think a particular person will benefit from, give the book away. They will most likely be delighted and you will feel good knowing that you made someone happy and that the book and your money isn’t going to a waste

Reading without the book-collection

  • Take out books at the local library

Most local libraries have so many books there is almost no excuse not to buy books anymore. Also attending libraries allows you to connect with your local community, it allows you to read an unlimited amount of books no matter your bank statement and if you are halfway through a book that doesn’t interest you after all; you can simply return it.

  • Borrow a book from a friend

Ask your friends or someone in your family if they have read any good books lately and if you could borrow a book of their recommendation. That way you will also be sure that you will begin reading a book that is worthwhile.

  • Purchase an e-reader

I had to include in on the list but personally I hate everything about e-readers. Well not everything, I do enjoy the fact that you can read at nighttime without the light on, I think that is very clever and also it is indeed very light. But I am in such strong opposition to anything technological really. I am hopelessly old-fashioned like that. I love both the smell and feel of books but maybe I will change my mind one day. Either way it is a good way to save space and money and it is much more sustainable in terms of the environment compared to purchasing books, so there you go.


These are the books that I am keeping for now, half I am yet to read. This is 15 out of a total of 45 books, so 1/3 of my original book collection. These are still too many I think, but better. Progress, not perfection.

Personally, I have already gifted some of my old books to friends and sold some online. With the rest of the books I plan to sell them and the ones that I cannot sell I will donate to the local goodwill store.


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