So you’ve decided to take Marie Kondo’s advice to heart and remove some of the books from your space. Congratulations! It’s a tough thing to do sometimes, we know. But now that you’ve made that decision, you might be left wondering—what do I do with unwanted books? Well, my friend, you’re in luck. I have just the list for you.
MAKE BOOK ART
You might not be the most crafty person in the world, but there are lots of crafts you can do with books you’re otherwise finished with. Try something ornate, like making a decorative birdcage out of books or go a bit easier and use book pages as the canvas for your latest print or drawing.
MAKE A SECRET BOX
You might have sensitive documents or meaningful trinkets lying around and while we can’t all have a secret room hidden by a bookcase, we can pretty much all have secret boxes that look like books—and were, in a former life—to hide small items in. (Alternatively, switch out the traditional ring box with a book box for a proposal to show your potential future spouse you get them.)
Libraries, prisons, shelters, schools, and certainly other places are often in need of books. Be sure they’re in good condition and not too outdated for maximum helpfulness! Otherwise, you’re just asking someone else to do the work of chucking them in the recycling bin for you.
Just because a book was no good for you doesn’t mean it’s not right for someone else. As long as the book is in good condition and you’re also giving it in good faith—not just to get rid of something—there’s nothing wrong with giving it as a gift.
BRING THEM TO A LITTLE FREE LIBRARY
Almost like regifting, there’s also the option of bringing unwanted books to your nearest Little Free Library. It’s a great way to get to know your neighborhood (and maybe meet your neighbors) while potentially even scoring some new books for yourself. Win-win! You can find official Little Free Libraries near you using their map tool. Meanwhile, you might also find similar, unofficial setups near your home just by going on a walk.
USE THEM AS A DOORSTOP
There’s a reason we call big books doorstops. And why not put something big and beautiful to use? It can be both an artful addition to your home and functional. Plus, imagine the conversations you’ll have in your home when others see it. “So, did you actually read War and Peace?” It’s only a hop to the woes of climate change from there—after all, you did reuse and recycle, thus avoiding more plastic packaging from an item actually meant to be a doorstop.
MAKE FURNITURE FROM THEM
Akin to crafting with books, why not make furniture of them? They’re already piled up around your home, and if you arrange them just so with a little added glue and maybe some additional wooden support, you’ve got yourself a new end table. More recycling—yay!
START A BOOK EXCHANGE AT YOUR WORKPLACE OR ELSEWHERE
Everyone likes free stuff! My library does an annual event around Valentine’s Day involving the exchange of romance novels and cupcakes. Why not encourage your coworkers or other groups you see regularly to do something similar? Do it in one big event where everyone gets a ticket for every book they take in to represent the number of books they can take out if you want to be exact about it or set up a system more like a Little Free Library in your break room. One person’s unwanted book is another person’s next great read!
What other ideas do you have for things to do with unwanted books? Tell us in the comments!