In January I tend to go into purge mode. I usually have no problem clearing out clutter and getting rid of things we don’t need or use, but there’s one area where I struggle — books. My emotional attachment to books is strong, and it’s hard for me to let any of them go, whether they are mine or my children’s.

As much as I’d like to keep every book we have, our home is small and our storage space is limited. If I don’t thin the herd, I end up finding books everywhere: on top of the toilet, under the couch, stuck in the toy box. Decluttering books is necessary for our space, and it actually encourages my kids to read more. When they aren’t overwhelmed by choices, it’s easier to find a book that they love.

How can you part with something as amazing as a book? Here’s what I recommend for making the process a little bit easier.

6 Tips for Decluttering Children’s Books

6 Tips for Decluttering Children's Books

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Find a Great Place to Donate Your Books

Parting with books is always hard for me, but knowing they will go to someone else makes it a little bit easier. Find a local charity who accepts donations of gently used books, or make a little extra money by selling books in good condition to a resale shop — we like Half Price Books.

Throw Out Books That Are Falling Apart

I like to start with the easiest task first, and what’s easy for me is throwing away books that are falling apart. If books are missing pages, have the cover torn off, or have otherwise been destroyed by my kids’ tough love, they get the boot. Sometimes this means throwing out a book that is falling apart because we’ve read it together so many times — but I remind myself that I can always get a new copy.

Sort Out Books Your Kids Have Outgrown

My boys are six and seven now, so our board books aren’t getting read much these days. For me, that meant it was time to let some of them go. I saved a few favorites from when they were younger, and the rest went into the donation box. This step is one that is hard for me emotionally, but I try to remind myself that our books are better off in a place where they will be read. Books only have power when you put them to use!

Donate Books Your Kids Aren’t Reading

This one is tricky, because sometimes my kids show interest in a book or series months after I’ve tried to introduce it to them. However, if your shelves are overflowing with books that your kids don’t show an interest in, it may be time to clear out a few. Last year, I purchased a complete set of Junie B. Jones books for my oldest, because I was sure he would love them. He read one, but hasn’t picked up another one since. It’s probably time for me to let some of them go — we can always pick them up again if he shows interest later.

Remember the Library

We’re weekly visitors to the public library, and yet I still have to remind myself that any book I part with from our personal collection can probably be found there. The library is also what keeps me from buying more books than we could ever store in our home. If we want to check out a new author or series, we start by requesting it from the library. If we love it, we can purchase a copy to add to our home library.

Consider an E-Reader

If book clutter is a continual problem in your home, consider investing in an e-reader. They aren’t the best for picture books, but my second grader loves to read chapter books on his Kindle Fire. Some people are decidedly not e-reader people, and that’s ok, but in our house it’s been incredibly helpful for controlling our book overflow.