A few weeks ago I started this series of Zero-Waste decluttering tips as an add-on for my KonMari organization service. In the first category, I suggested options for the clothes we discard. I was actually surprised to learn that 95% of textiles can be recycled, but currently, only 15% does while the rest end up in our landfills. I hope my article has helped to bring more awareness to change those numbers.

The second category to tidy using the KonMari method books. For many, discarding books can be very difficult. Owning books means different things to different people. Some keep them as references for their work, some people collect them, others keep books because “it just feels wrong” to get rid of them. However, books do have expiration dates. Their information becomes outdated, as well as your interests and needs change over time. Have you ever been inside of an old library or used bookstore where you can actually smell the books? Maybe they are trying to tell us it’s been too long since they’ve been opened to get some fresh air.

It’s very common for our home library to be full of books that have never been read or finished. Truthfully, people tend to buy new books even if they have similar ones on the same subject. These days they’ll find the information online, in a digital book, even from an actual library. Chances are those books remain on the shelves collecting dust, taking up valuable space that can hold something else that sparks joy.

The best way to declutter your books is to take everything off the shelves as if you are getting rid of all of them, then go through the stacks to pick out the ones you want to keep. One simple way to see if the book sparks joy for you is by asking yourself “Will I buy this again if I get rid of it now?” And if a well-designed book cover sparks joy for you more than it’s content,  keep it visibly on display so you can enjoy it more.

Now for the discarding part.



This is the obvious solution. You can donate your gently used book to libraries, thrift stores, some churches and senior centers, homeless shelters, and even prisons. You can also do a city-specific search online and find local non-profit literacy programs.

Here are two national organizations for a good cause:

Books for Soldiers:  Sends specific books to soldiers they hope to read, which they can request through the website.

Book4Cause: Supports the Good Books for Africa program.


If you own valuable or new books that can be sold, I’d recommend finding a local bookstore that you can take them to instead of mailing it. Books generally cost a too much to ship and you may even lose money if you don’t price them correctly. If you do sell it on eBay or craigslist, make sure your buyer will agree to pay for the shipping once you calculate the exact amount.

You can also sell them when you have a yard sale, but generally for very little money.


Trading is not only a great way to get something free and new to you, it also allows more connection with others. Although trading means you will bring something back home with you, be sure you choose something that you truly love and will enjoy.


There are actually people who will buy your old books to do crafts (which they can then sell on websites like If you are not crafty, maybe contact them and see if they’ll want to buy your books. If you want to create some original pieces yourself, just search online for “recycled book crafts” and get ready for an overload of inspirations.

Some kids books and art books have great pictures that can be framed or turned into greeting cards or gift tags. Use them to make collages, or decoupage an old tabletop with the book pages and give it a new life!


The quickest way to discard your books responsibly is to drop them in your paper recycling bin. Paperback books can be recycled as is, but hardcover books need to have the covers removed (The covers needs to go in your regular trash, or make something cool with it). If the paper has gotten wet or turned tan or brown, they can not be recycled and should be placed with your regular trash.


I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips. For the next category, I’ll be sharing a lot of fun ideas on how to recycle and repurpose your paper!




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