One Type of Book You Can Get Rid Of Right Now

published Dec 12, 2021
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Couch and bookshelf in cozy living room
Credit: Getty Images/Westend61

I love my family’s collection of books. For me, they’re not just possessions we’ve kept — they’re the receptacles of knowledge and wisdom and beauty that we’ve taken in throughout different periods of our lives.

My books are filled with underlines, energetic asterisks, and little notes of jotted-down insights and connections I made while I was reading. I love thumbing through them and remembering, tasting the lilt and turn of poetry that moved me then and moves me in an even richer way now. I enjoy seeing the wrinkled spines of well-worn copies of old favorites that I dream will be woven into the fabric of my own children’s literary history.

In addition, and on a much more practical level, I use my books as decor. They fill the built-ins around our fireplace and are the main visual interest in our living room. I have them in rainbow order, a sacrilege to many bibliophiles, I know, but a choice that brings me a thrill, still, each and every time time I see it.

So you see I’m not the kind of person to get rid of books willy-nilly. I’ve had to cull my collection over the years to prepare for a cross-country move, but since then I’ve kept just about everything. My book purchases have been deliberate additions to our family library. (I read most of my books on my Kindle and only buy physical copies for standouts I want on our shelves.)

But if you’re craving more shelf space or, let’s be honest, need room for more books, there’s one category of book you can get rid of without regret: home improvement and cleaning books.

Home improvement books are any kind of handyman manual — books that outline tasks like how to hang pictures or fix a running toilet — while cleaning books are the ones that discuss things like how to clean your floors or remove various types of stains from your clothing.

As fun as these books might be to thumb through, you’re probably not using them as they were intended. The information contained in these books is readily available online and, in most instances, in a more useful form. Online posts with photos and videos and hyperlinks are a much more dynamic, up-to-date, and informative medium than the pages of a book. Letting the books go should be relatively easy.

Not only will you most likely not miss your home improvment and cleaning books, but, since they tend to be larger and thicker than many other books, saying goodbye to them will free up a good deal of book storage real estate. It’s a relatively painless decluttering process with a good, quick payoff. Go for it.