How To Get Rid of Books For Shelf Space!

I wish I had a library to myself. My own personal, Beauty & the Beast style library. Or even just unlimited book space. Whenever I buy a  new book, my house just expands on its own to let it fit. Wouldn’t that be nice? Alas, I do not. I have 3 bookshelves that are filled to the brim with books and it was time to let go. It was time to say goodbye to some of my books. For me, it was a necessary evil. So, how did I go about doing this? That’s what this post is going to tell you!


Have you ever gotten rid of a book and regretted it later on? Yeah? Me too. So I use what I like to call The Closet Method. It’s what I do when I’m trying to get rid of clothing (literally the same concept and can be applied to many areas of your life, just FYI).

I look through my bookshelves and pick out some books that I haven’t had any desire to read within the last few months. I literally NEVER look at it and say “I’ll read that soon”. (trust me, you have some like this too). I pull those out, put them in a box, and place them somewhere else in my house under the bed, in the guest room, in the garage, where ever you have some extra space.

If months go by and I never think of any of the books in that box. Guess what time it is? It’s time to get rid of the junk! Sometimes I’ll randomly think of a book in the box that I want to read and luckily for me, I didn’t get rid of it right away and it gets put back on my shelf.


For the books that you kind of want to read at some point in the next 5 years but you definitely know you won’t get to it soon because look at all the pretty new releases you have – check your library for e-books. This isn’t an option available to everyone, but if you do have the option, take advantage of it!

What I do is I pile up all the books that fall into that category, go onto Cloud Library (the app my library uses, yours might use Overdrive), and check if it’s available as an e-book through that. If there is, I save it to my wishlist and get rid of the physical copy of the book. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.


Are you having trouble really determining which books fall into which category – so-so, no interest, or definitely keep? Here’s how I can easily decide where to place a book:

When I rearrange my shelves, I take off every book. I start putting them back on in a certain order. First, go books I love and then the books I really want to read. Then I put the so-so books that aren’t available in my library (if I’ve already checked). Once there isn’t as much space or I get my shelves looking perfect, I start narrowing down which books really need to be on my shelf. The pile of books that get left behind, well, they probably fall in a so-so pile or the I-don’t-give-a-crap-anymore pile.

See how that works? You obviously put a priority on certain books and those stragglers left are the ones that don’t really matter. If you haven’t checked your library for e-books, do that now. Or place them in a box and put them in the other room. Or be brave and get rid of them!


Here’s what I do once I’m ready to get rid of my books for good:

  • Try a book trade on social media. Yeah, it kind of defeats the point of getting rid of books, but I’d rather trade for books I REALLY want if it’s possible.
  • Donate them. You can donate to your local library or search for a teen shelter near you.
  • Give them away to friends and family. Because it’s an easy way to con other people into reading.
  • Sell them. I don’t do this often because I’d rather do any of the above if I can. You get almost nothing back for the books you sell that it’s not usually worth it BUT if this is something that helps you save money to buy more books later or just like doing, go for it!

How do you decide which books to get rid of? Do you have a hard time parting with books? Or are you lucky enough to have a gigantic bookshelf (in that case, I’m jelly).

Comments are the best! Let's chat!

24 thoughts on “How To Get Rid of Books For Shelf Space!

  1. I’ve been trying to get rid of books lately. I’ve been going through my shelves and if there is a book that I didn’t like or don’t see myself rereading, I’m getting rid of it. I don’t want something taking up space if I’m never going to read it again! I might have to try rearranging my shelves; there’s probably books that I’m overlooking, but if I saw them all laid out, it would help me decide!

  2. Oooo I like the sound of The Closet Method! I don’t know if I’ll have the storage space for it in my new flat though…but also the rearranging bookshelves sounds fun – I’m currently having a bit of a crisis about how I’m going to arrange my bookshelves in my new home, but I love the idea of having all of my ‘must read now’ books in one place.

    1. Aw, yeah, you do kind of need a spot to put them. Maybe in the trunk of your car? Right now my shelves are separated by paper back and hardcover, my hardcovers are arranged by must read at the top! Its helpful when choosing a book to read 🙂

    1. Not a lot of my friends and family read so I don’t even have that option 🙁 hahah I tend to buy books thinking I’ll read them soon then don’t get to them for a long time. so my shelves fill quickly lol

  3. Checking the library is something I’m not very good at lol. It’s a great idea though, and I’m sure I have a fair amount of books that would fall in that category. Maybe I should try method #1 too- because sometimes I think I’m ready to give a book or books away, and then I have last minute panic/ second thoughts! Maybe the closet method would help me be REALLY sure…

  4. Getting rid of books is ones of those things I really struggle with. I want them to go to people who actually want them but getting them to those people is difficult. I’ve only recently tried bookswaps on social media, I have tried book swap sites and they’re fun but I definitely find that it’s hard to get rid of books, especially popular ones. And since I can’t drive taking them to charity shops for them to be put to good use is hard. I am one of those people who has towers of books in their house and I’d have it no other way.

    1. To each their own! Whatever works for you 🙂 I can’t have piles of books, they get on my nerves haha. You should see if there are any Little Free Libraries in your area! You can drop a few in there 🙂

  5. Oh great post, thank you so much for the tips, Molly! I really should have some sort of spring, well, summer now, cleaning with my shelves. I don’t have any more room left for my books and my room is just drowning under books, everywhere, in every single possible space ahah. It’s getting a bit out of hand, but it’s so hard to get rid of some books, at times! Thanks for the lovely tips! 🙂

  6. This is such an important post. I have been trying to make a list of my books this month. I take each book and realistically think if I would read it in the next three years and if I do not think I will, I am planning to give them away. Only the newer ones though so that I can buy them back when needed from a bookstore. I have a few out of print and vintage books that I think I must hold on to

    1. Oh yes, I would never get rid of my out of print of vintage books! Although, there are some books that I had NO IDEA weren’t sold as hard covers anymore, and got rid of them >.< Oh well. You give yourself lots more time to read a book than I do. I give it 6 months. If I don't think I'll reach for it in 6 months (maybe a year), I try to get rid of it lol

  7. The amount of boxes I have to “get rid of” is driving me insane (I rearrange/unhaul my shelves annually). Needless to say, I am *so* tired of them sitting around my house! I don’t mind the idea of twitter swaps, but my point isn’t to gain back as many books as I get rid of so I do plan on selling some because I do have so many. Like you say, it can be the start of a fund to add new books to the shelves – or maybe a better option, buy new shelves! 😉

    1. hahah they can easily pile up! I have a nice stack of books ready to go but I’m scared to part with them (mainly because they’re all the shadowhunter books and I just keep thinking MAYBE I’ll finish the series) haha

  8. I’ve only got a small space available for physical books so I pretty much have to swap out one for one every time I finish reading one. Fortunately I’m not keen on re-reading books so I use with a bookswap table at my local market.

    My ereader though is usually overflowing!