How to Unclutter Your Bookshelf
Getting rid of clothes was hard for me, but not nearly as hard as getting rid of my books and DVDs! I started with five bookshelves full of books, along with random cupboards, shelves, nightstands, etc. My husband and I decided we needed to get down to one - five shelf bookshelf.
Sadly, I cannot say I fully succeeded, I just couldn't do it... yet! But I do have one children's bookshelf and one adult bookshelf! Being a minimalist is a process. I got rid of over half my books, and a quarter of my DVDs and CDs.
My plan was simple.
Three Simple Questions
For my books, I asked three questions, if the answer was no to all three, then I either sold it, gave it to a friend, donated it, or swapped it. My questions:
For DVDs and CDs, I wasn't too serious about condensing them yet. The book project was a lot of work. So I took two steps. One, I put them back into alphabetical order. As I did I looked at each individually and asked one question, "Do I want this?" Amazingly, I had so many I didn't even want. In the future I will condense them further, but for now, that was a good first step.
How to Sell Books Online
So after I collected hundreds and hundreds of books I didn't want, the first step I took was to find out if I could get money back for them. I found four excellent sites that bought back books, and two that specifically bought DVDs and CDs.
Excuse to Get Together with Old Friends
Before I posted them on Facebook on the garage sale sites, I posted them on my personal page saying, "Free to friends." This gave me an excuse to meet old friends for coffee, catch up with good friends, and bless others who I wasn't as close to. My whole goal with minimizing is to enrich my life, and this was a great way to do that!
Paperbackswap.com / Swapadvd.com
These sites are my absolute favorite sites and I have been using them for years. They also have a CD sister site that I do not use often, but they all run the same way. You post a book, DVD, CD, then others request it. You mail it out to them, and you receive a credit towards a book of your choice. Sometimes you have to wait a year or two to receive the book of your choice, because you get placed on a waiting list. Others you can request that day. I did place some on this site, before I took the final step of donating them. I currently have 29 credits. Another great site that works similarly for books is called bookmooch.com.
Where to Donate Books
Finally, I had books that no site would buy, no friends wanted, and did not get picked up on my swap sites. There are many great places to donate both online and in person. Here are a few great suggestions:
How Many Is Too Many Books/DVDs/CDs for a Minimalist?
Minimalism is going to look different for each person. For us, we want to get down to one bookshelf. I did not succeed, but minimalism is a process. Cutting my books down by more than half was a huge feat, and I am not going to feel bad that I did not reach my goal yet. I will slowly donate books as I finish them, and possibly go through them again when I decide to look through my DVDs and CDs with a more critical eye. Any great site suggestions for selling or donating, please share in the comments!
Angela Michelle Schultz
I am abnegating my possessions for the sake of the good things in my life like my church, my husband, my daughters, my family, my friends, and my writing. I am learning the joy of having more time and money for what matters by removing the stuff that doesn't.