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    Here's Everything You Need To Know About Getting Rid Of Your Books

    FYI, you probably shouldn't try to donate them to your local library.

    If you've watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, you may or may not be having a small meltdown because of her advice to reduce your book collection.

    Marie Kondo: h- People With Too Many Books: I CANT BELIEVE YOURE FORCING ME TO BURN ALL OF MY BOOKS

    While Marie Kondo doesn't have any set rules as to how many books you should own, she personally keeps a 30-book collection. However, she doesn't necessarily expect you to do the same. In her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she writes, "Keep only the books that will make you happy just to see them on the shelves, the ones that you really love.” Once you've followed her advice, you might be wondering what to do with all the books that you no long want.

    So, here are a few tips for getting rid of books that no longer spark joy:

    1. Don't assume that you can donate books to your local library.

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    I'm as surprised as you are! According to Lifehacker, libraries prefer to purchase brand new books from vendors to ensure their quality. Some libraries (especially those that are underfunded or underserved) will accept used books, but you should always check their online FAQ section or ask a librarian first.

    2. Prison libraries, however, are often in need of new or gently used books.

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    Not only do books offer prisoners entertainment, but they can also help them prepare for re-entry into society. For example, they can work to get their GED, to improve their vocabulary and language skills, or to prepare for a new career. Prison libraries have pretty strict policies on what they do and don't accept so check out their website before sending your books! Hardback fiction, children's books, true crime stories, or academic journals, for example, are unlikely to be accepted. Here are a few organizations that accept book donations:

    Prison Book Program provides books that offer entertainment and practical information to prisoners. The organization has an extensive guide to the books they accept so check it out before sending anything!

    LGBT Books to Prisoners provides books to queer and trans people who are incarcerated to help them deal with the isolation and marginalization they may experience in prison.

    Women's Prison Book Project provides books to female-identifying people; their website says they are in need of “material on families, children, women’s self-help, women’s health, and legal aid pertaining to women who fight back against their abusers.”

    3. Send children's books, young adult books, and textbooks to kids in need.

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    If you've got a bunch of children's books, YA books, or (relatively new) textbooks that you no longer want or need, consider sending them to kids! Your new and gently used books can help to support their education. Here are a few organizations that accept books:

    Books for Africa sends new and gently used books to students in Africa. They accept some academic textbooks and reference books.

    Project Night Night provides care packages to homeless children to comfort and help them learn to read. They only accept new children's books that are appropriate for babies, toddlers, and tweens.

    Better World Books sells new and gently used books online to raise funds for non-profit literacy organizations. You can send the books to their office or put them in one of the drop boxes that are a scattered across the US.

    4. Or mail them to soldiers, veterans, and military families.

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    There are so many organizations that cater to soldiers who may want your new or gently used books! Here are two:

    Operation Paperback provides information about how to ship your books to troops overseas, veterans, or military families.

    Books for Soldiers shares book requests from soldiers and information on how to send them.

    5. Sell the books online or at indie bookstores.

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    The more books you sell, the more new books you can buy! If you're selling online, just be honest about the condition of your books. Take pictures of all sides and ship them in a box or envelope that's sturdy and water-resistant.

    — Many indie book stores will offer you cash back or store credit for your used books.

    — Check out Amazon's Trade-In store to see which of your books are eligible and how much they will pay for them. Keep in mind that you'll get an Amazon credit rather than cash.

    — Punch the ISBN into BookScouter. They will tell you how much they, and other vendors, will pay for your books.

    6. Give your books to friends and family.

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    Even if your books aren't in good enough condition to sell or donate, sharing them with people you love is an awesome way to give your favorite titles a second life. Set up a mini bookstore in your home and invite everyone to shop through them, or provide some food and drinks and turn it into a party! It'll be so much fun to talk up your favorite reads. You can even keep up the habit year-round to keep your book collection at the perfect size.

    7. Share the books with your local community.

    Donating to local organizations can help you feel connected to and create a positive impact in your community! Homeless shelters, schools, hospitals, and thrift stores often accept book donations. Just give them a call to find out what they need.

    8. Remember that most charitable organizations won't want outdated textbooks or books that show a lot of wear and tear.

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    Most organizations only want new or gently used books, so books that have markings in the margins, water damage, or yellowed or missing pages will most likely not be accepted. They also typically don't want academic books or encyclopedias that are more than a few years old as the information in them may no longer be relevant or correct. That being said, the needs of every organization change quite often so check their website or contact them before making a donation!

    9. Try upcycling any books that are way too out of shape to donate.

    Look, I know the idea of ripping a book apart can seem painful, and even sacrilegious. But if your books are outdated or worn to the point that they are unreadable, upcycling is more sustainable than recycling. It's a great way to clear out the books that no longer serve you and show off your love of books! Here are a few ideas:

    – Use fabric and elastic to turn a book cover into a case for your tablet.

    – Glue the pages together to make an art journal.

    – Mount the book on L-brackets to create a levitating bookshelf.

    10. And recycle them if there's really no other use for them.

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    This is your last resort. If the books are really out of shape or totally outdated, and you're not willing to upcycle them, lay them to rest in your recycling bin. Hardcovers are made up of materials that cannot be recycled, so you must remove the cover from a hardback book before recycling the pages. Paperbacks can be thrown right in the bin. However, neither hardbacks nor paperbacks can be recycled if they've gotten wet, which is just another reason to protect your books from the rain!

    Happy tidying!

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