Is there anything worse than coming home from a library sale or used bookstore, going to shelve your beautiful new books, and finding that there isn’t space for them? We’ve all been there, and unless you’re a lucky duck who has room to add another bookshelf (or has no problem stacking your books on the floor, which, I mean, we’ve all been there), you’re going to have to get rid of some of the old books to make room for the new ones. Here’s the question: Do you get rid of books you’ve already read, or books from your TBR shelf?
A few weeks ago, a discussion on the Books on the Nightstand podcast got me thinking about this very topic. I realized that I tend to have a much easier time getting rid of books I have read and didn’t care for than books I haven’t yet read. When it comes to books I have read, I enjoy having a curated shelf; it’s nice to look at my bookshelves and only see books I love (plus a few classics that I feel like I should keep so people will think I’m smart). To me, there’s no reason to hang onto that book I read five years ago and didn’t like. If there’s no chance in hell that I’ll ever re-read a book, I’m pretty okay with letting it go.
Unread books, on the other hand, are filled with so much promise! How can I get rid of a book that could become a favorite?! It doesn’t matter that I bought it for a dollar at a library sale; I was so pleased to find it, and I’m still dying to read it. So what if I’ve had it for three years and I rarely have time to read backlist? This is why more than a quarter of all the books in my apartment haven’t been read yet. They come in faster than I can read them, and they’re so hard to get rid of!
How do you approach culling your bookshelves? Which books are the first to go: Books you’ve read or books you haven’t?