If you’ve inherited a family library with plenty of books and have discovered that most of them are outdated and have little value, you may start seeking ways to get rid of them. Unfortunately, not all old books are rare and worth a fortune on auctions, far from that. If your library is just a random collection or it contains professional literature which is too outdated for modern-day practices, you can part ways with these books without regret.
In our previous articles, we’ve already covered what to do with old books and how to dispose of them in an eco-friendly and sustainable way. In this article, we’ll discuss the ways to discard the outdated books you have at home.
Outdated vs. Old Books
There is a slight difference between simply old and outdated books. When something is outdated, it is no longer considered useful, interesting, relevant, or even correct. This might be especially true about research or textbooks with statistical data or romances, for instance. Literature classics will always remain, but some books simply lose their value and become obsolete and irrelevant. Therefore, there is no point in keeping them.
Surely enough, there are groups of people who research and collect outdated books as a hobby. One such example is Awful Library Books that features a collection of library books that the website creators—Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner—find amusing and/or questionable for libraries. The site is worth a visit, even if outdated books are not your cup of tea.
If the world of outdated books is not for you, there are plenty of ways you can declutter your attic. In this article, we’ll cover a few most popular and convenient alternatives.
Ways to Responsibly Dispose of Outdated Books
Sell if Possible
The first and the most obvious way is to sell your outdated books if they are still relevant or just old books in good condition. There are plenty of options to do so—from local fairs to online platforms—choose the one that is more convenient to you. Some people even offer outdated books in bulk for little cash. If your books are relatively fine and there is a chance they will be useful to others, we suggest selling them online. Check Bookscouter to compare various vendors that sell and buy books back, their prices, and selling conditions.
The next best thing you can do with the books is donate them. The books that are no longer useful to you may be a treasure to someone else. However, there is a catch: when you donate outdated books, make sure they are in good condition. Giving away books that are on the verge of falling apart, with pages torn or missing, stained all over, will only inconvenience the recipients. So if you want to do some good, be mindful of the condition of your books; otherwise, you’d better send them for recycling right away.
Here are a few organizations that accept books as donations; one of their subsidiaries is quite likely to be found somewhere in your vicinity.
- Public libraries
- Salvation Army
- Local homeschool groups
According to the information on waste and recycling from the Environmental Protection Agency, “Paper and Paperboard” constituted 23.05% of the 293 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) produced in 2018. It is the largest segment in the waste pie chart, and the number must have increased by today. You can play a significant part in decreasing the waste by making small steps and sending your outdated books for recycling instead of simply throwing them away. Recycle paperbacks by putting them into proper bins, and don’t forget to remove the covers and spines from hardcovers before recycling them. Hunt for local recycling service in your area or visit Berecycled and Unitedstatesrecycling for more information on where to send your outdated books for recycling.
Reuse for DIY projects
If the books in your attic no longer have use or value, get crafty and use them for decorative purposes. Here, you have an endless pool of options. Go to Pinterest and get inspired. Give your books a new life.
Donate Books to Retirement Homes
It might also be a good idea to give your outdated books away to retirement homes. The books that are no longer valuable to you may still be interesting to seniors. It does not necessarily mean that you can come and empty your attic without thinking. Ask ahead what they need; there is a chance you have exactly the books their residents would appreciate.
Taking care of outdated books consciously by either giving them a second chance, donating them, or ecologically recycling them is a way of making an impact and a step to sustainable consumption. It is also a way to keep your library in good order.