The 7 Step Shelf Detox

The start of the year is the perfect time to take on a fresh perspective. Sure, you could follow the fitness crowd or go the way of inner peace and wellness or whatever, but have you seen your book shelves lately? Honestly, when was the last time you broke the spine of Calculus of Variations? When, exactly, are you going to get around to Mastering the Art of French Cooking…or any cooking for that matter?

Sounds like it’s time for a shelf detox. We’ve outlined some practices to help you successfully declutter, then restock, your book shelves.

Step 1: Survey the books you own.
Take a long hard look at what you claim to have been reading.

Step 2: Keep your favorites.
Let me be perfectly clear: All of them are not your favorite. You are going to have to get rid of some books. Just accept that now. I know we tend to get attached but relax, you’re clearing out your book shelves so that you can replenish them. You’re going to get more. Breathe through this. Take this time to bask in the nostalgia of your favorite reads as you add them to a separate pile and schedule some future time to revisit them. Try to focus on books you find yourself reading several times.

Step 3: Do the math.
Note the length of time you’ve owned books that don’t fit into your favorites category and set aside any book that’s older than two years old. Odds are, if it’s been collecting dust since 1963, you aren’t going to get a burning interest all of a sudden…but it’s not impossible. Hence Step 4.

Step 4: Evaluate the books you’ve set aside.
So let’s say the book from 1963 is, oh I don’t know, Decorating with Llamas. All these years, you’ve been waiting on the perfect excuse to thumb through countless pages of instructions on how to use those long-necked mammals in your media room. You’re in luck. Llamas happen to be on trend, so that can go in the favorites pile right next to Emily Dickinson, or your favorite mystery series.

Step 5: Keep the ones you’ve determined have true purpose and/or value.
After going through the rest of your non-favorite inventory, do the tough inner work of figuring out which books truly have value. If certain books hold a special family memory or happen to be an inside joke between you and a good friend, by all means keep them. If they don’t, take a deep breath and get rid of them.

Step 6: Sell the rest to Half Price Books
Speaking of getting rid of them, an important note: This isn’t Fahrenheit 451. We never, ever destroy books that are in at least fair condition. Ever. Pack up your less-than-desirable literature and take it to your local HPB and sell it us! We love books. All kinds of books. Puzzles, board games, video games, records…there are tons of items you can sell to Half Price Books and the process is tré simple. Learn how it works here.

Step 7: Buy more!
And now, the fun part! While you’re waiting on us to give you cold, hard cash for the books you were never going to read anyway, feel free to peruse our shelves for more options, including new bestsellers, to add to your  reading list. Need a little nudge? Our Resolve to Read More giveaway is going on now. Think you’re up for the challenge? Tell us how many books you’ll read this year and you’ll automatically be entered to win a $100 HPB Gift Card to fuel your year’s worth of reading! One lucky winner will be randomly selected and notified after January 31.

Best of luck to you on your shelf detox. Here’s to a less-cluttered book shelf and an exciting year of reading ahead!