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So I’ve been on a decluttering journey for several years and trying to be intentional about what items I bring into my life. I wrote in another post about giving up some of my books last year and this year I wanted to write a little more about it.

Like most people who love books, I daydream some day about having a room dedicated to being my own personal library. However, I decluttered a lot of books last year and the year previous.

The books I donated, I don’t regret doing that, though I do regret loosing some books.

For me, moving around a lot lately has made it difficult to maintain any sort of collection beyond my Kindle that isn’t really valuable to me. Books are heavy and take up a lot of space.

Some day, when I’m more permanently settled in, I would love to expand my collection of books until I can have several bookcases of them.

For now though, I am trying to be content with what I have on my Kindle and with what I can find at the library.

I have OCD, and so loosing any object makes me anxious and drives me into a spiral until I find it or replace it. So recently, having built my own bookcase, I realized quite suddenly that there are books missing I cannot remember what I did with them.

I know I can replace these books and I probably ended up selling it to Half Price books or donating it to a school library. However the mere realization makes me a little worried.

I do have a process for how I decide to give up books:

To keep (if yes):

  • Does it bring me joy?
  • Will I read it again?
  • Can it not be easily replaced? (If its an older book I enjoy but it’s no longer in print or it’s rare and hard to find I keep it)
  • Is it in good condition?
  • Is the information in it still up to date (nonfiction)?
  • Do I like the author?

To donate or sell:

  • If it’s no longer useful or brings me joy
  • If someone else could use it more than me
  • If it’s in bad condition
  • If I’m not interested in the story anymore

Most people in my life don’t usually give me books so I usually end up aquiring my own books. I do a pretty good job about buying books I know I will enjoy and keep and if I’m unsure I’ll pick them up at the library.

However sometimes we all end up with books we thought we would enjoy but didn’t.

Most of the books I’ve ended up donating or selling over the years were books I acquired from school book sales. These predominately have been nonfiction and I’ve ended up getting rid of most of them due to the information in them no longer being useful to me or because the information became out of date.

Last year I did end up donating a decent amount of fiction books. But those were mostly ones I haven’t picked up to read in years. Although I enjoyed the stories in them, I knew it was time someone else would enjoy them more than me.

I mostly only regret donating these when I see other people’s giant book collections but I try not to let the FOMO get to me. I don’t need a giant personal library to be happy, but I think curating my collection over time is more important.

This also reminds me that there are a lot of people who can’t afford to buy a lot of books. Either they have more important things to buy or they also don’t have a lot of space. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

That’s what I try to remind myself of when I regret getting rid or loosing books.

In the end, not having a huge collection of books doesn’t mean I don’t love books. It just means if I want to read more than what I have, I either have to rent or buy them.

And that’s what public libraries are for anyways. They give us access to books for free so that we don’t have to buy them all the time. And that’s pretty awesome.

If you gave up, sold, or lost any books in the last couple of years, is there any you regretted getting rid of?


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