If you are one of the many Americans who, over the pandemic, has increased their home library, you might soon be suffering from overcrowding on your shelves. But what to do with your old books?

Bibliophiles might cringe at modifying or upcycling their old books, but if done correctly, your old books can live on through timeless decorations in your house.


Keep reading our guide on what to do with old books, and hopefully, you’ll find something that inspires you.

Can We Have Too Many Books?

So how do we decide which books to keep and which to (shudder) toss out? If one goes systematically through their collection, there are a few tips that will help you decide.

Book Series: OCD people might have a problem with this one, but if you only enjoy one or two books from a series, get rid of those you don’t enjoy anymore.

Cookbooks: Avid chefs might have an extensive collection of cookbooks, but if you only use a few of the recipes, copy them out to keep in a file and get rid of the books.

Once read: When you’re done with a book, ask yourself (and be honest with the answer!), “Will I read this again?” and if the answer is no, toss it.

So, What to Do With Old Books?

There are many different ways to rid yourself of those books in your collection, gathering dust. Here are a few options for you to consider:

Check the Value

Not every book is equal – some are first editions, some are rare books, and some are very common. So before getting rid of your old books, get in touch with the experts to appraise their worth. Of course, the last thing you want is to get rid of any valuable books unknowingly!

Donate to the Less Fortunate

Donating books makes everyone feel good, so find some charities in your area and drop off some of your old books.

Most charities will either distribute them for free or sell them to fund the charity’s operation.

Little Free Library

This method of purging old books is gaining traction, especially over lockdown, where public libraries are closed.

It’s a marvelous initiative for your neighborhood and involves a bit of setup to get running. Simply build or buy something to house the books (they need to be protected from the elements) in an area with lots of foot traffic, appoint someone to manage the promotion and the collection, and then stock with your old books, and you’re done.

Get Crafty

You can upcycle your old books in so many ways, from literal bookshelves, hideaway cubbies, and so much more with a bit of creativity.

Final Thoughts

Books aren’t going away any time soon, even with the rise of e-book readers and smartphones. With so many options available to you, which will you choose? Hopefully, we’ve given you some ideas on what to do with old books.

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