Monday Musings | Book Unhauls


In the bookish community, we see a lot of book hauls, where bloggers and vloggers share their recent book purchases and mail. And while I find these posts and videos fun to read/watch (and so so dangerous for my TBR pile!), I’ve been finding book unhauls to be just as interesting.

A book unhaul is the exact opposite of a book haul: instead of adding books to their shelves, these book lovers are discarding books. I enjoy these types of posts because the bloggers usually give insightful information about why they’re getting rid of the books in their unhaul. Just as book hauls help me figure out whether I should read a book, unhauls give me a chance to pass on others. (Of course, I do listen to the blogger’s reasoning before I make my decision.)

As someone who accumulates books at a freakish pace, I sometimes wonder if I should give away some of the books I know I won’t re-read. There are some books that I’ll definitely save for sentimental value, but I feel like there are others that I could bear to part with.

Have you ever done an unhaul? How did you find the process? Do you enjoy reading/watching unhauls? Are you the type of reader that keeps every single book you read or do you part with them easily?

28 thoughts on “Monday Musings | Book Unhauls

  1. Leah says:

    I’ve never heard of unhauls, but that’s an interesting concept. I typically cull my bookshelves a few times a year and get rid of books that either have no sentimental value or that I didn’t LOVE. A) I need to make space on my shelves for new books, and B) It makes my collection more curated.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      I think those are really great reasons for doing an unhaul! I’m running out of shelf space so I think that I should definitely start thinking about getting rid of some of my books. I’m a pretty sentimental person though, which makes giving away books so difficult!

  2. Carole Besharah says:

    When we moved from Kapuskasing (Northern Ontario) to Gatineau (Quebec) my husband, kids, and I packed all out belongings into one big U-Haul truck. We got rid of so much stuff before we left, including dozen of heavy boxes filled with books. We simply could not bring all of them with us.

    I was so sad to part with my books. Books I had loved in high school. Books I had studied in university. Still, we were leaving our old life behind. I had been so attached to my books and to the memories that came with.

    Today, half the books I read are on my Kindle. I still love receiving new books, but am now more likely to hand them down once I have read them. After all, isn’t it fun to pass on a book and chat about it with its new reader?

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      You’re right – sharing is definitely one of the best things a reader can do! I went through something similar to you; when I moved to Toronto last year from Vancouver, I had to get rid of so many of my university readings (I only moved here with two suitcases and 4 boxes!). Having to build my library up from virtually nothing was so daunting that I don’t know if I could ever do it again!

  3. Arielle Joy says:

    I generally go through my library every so often when I think of it. I collect all the novels I don’t hold near and dear (like the Harry Potter series) and the ones I’ve read that I didn’t have anyone in particular to pass it along to. I donate them to the Friends of the Library Bookstore at the library near my home. They sell used books inexpensively and the money raised goes back into the library to purchase books and other things they need money for. It’s a great way to get a small tax write off and feel like you’re doing something good for the community at the same time. Nowadays I mostly purchase books on my kindle app for my iPad so there aren’t as many physical books to donate.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Friends of the Library sounds like such a great organization! I’ve donated to my local Little Free Library before, and I must admit that it was so fun to check back and see that my books had gone to a loving home. I wish I could be more of an e-book lover (I even own a Kindle), but there’s something about a tangible page that has me reaching for physical books more often than not. I may have to start reading on my Kindle more though, as my shelf space is running out!

  4. annabelsmith says:

    I am a huge ‘unhauler’. I basically unhaul as I go. Unless I LOVE a book and think I will want to quote from it/refer to it/re-read it, I get rid of it as soon as I’ve finished reading it. I pass it on to a friend or give it to the thrift store )which, in Australia, we call the opportunity shop – truly). Every year or so I go through my shelves and get rid of those that once had sentimental value and no longer do.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      The “opportunity shop” sounds so much better than “thrift store”! I love it. I used to be more like you; I borrowed from the library more often and only bought books that I would 100% re-read. But now that I have a little more disposable income, the thought of having a massive library has gotten the best of me. This comment thread is encouraging me to finally do some “unhauling” though!

  5. Lisa says:

    I unhaul as I run out of space to store books – sometimes it’s easy to part with books, sometimes I have a more difficult time. I love to read about unhauls. I don’t always assume that people are unhauling books they didn’t like though…sometimes I know that a person just needs to get rid of books, and it may be one they know they won’t read again.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      That’s very true that not all of the books people are unhauling are books that they didn’t like. I’ve seen a few unhauls where the blogger was getting rid of a book because they had multiple copies, so I do think that it’s better when the “unhauler” explains why they’re getting rid of their books!

  6. Jessica says:

    I keep my books, but a recent move has taught me that I NEVER WANT TO DO THAT AGAIN. Moving boxes and boxes of books I’ll likely never read again made me realize that some titles aren’t worth holding onto. I like the idea of having a curated bookshelf where all the books I hang on are ones I love and want to keep close.

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Haha I can’t even imagine what it would be like to move my current collection. I’d imagine it would be pretty heavy and annoying… I see both sides though; on one hand, I want my house to look like a library (a la Beauty and the Beast), on the other hand, what’s the point of keeping titles that I’ll never read again and are just taking up valuable shelf space? It seems like having a curated collection may be the way to go.

  7. Naomi says:

    I have a hard time getting rid of my books, even though I know I have to. Every once in a while, I go through them and find a few to give away, but usually it just ends up reminding me of all the good books I have! Maybe reading about someone else doing it would inspire me. 🙂

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Haha I feel the same way! I feel like every book I own (whether I liked it or not) has its own story and, being the sentimental person I am, I feel bad about taking them off my shelf. A weird part of my brain sometimes convinces me that the books have feelings that get hurt when I pass them on to someone else…

  8. Charleen says:

    I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an “unhaul” featured, but I wholeheartedly support them. I don’t really let my collection get to the point of needing to get rid of a bunch at once. I only buy books I know I’ll want to re-read, and if I get something as a gift or win a giveaway, then read it and decide I don’t care about keeping it around, I’ll donate it to the library. I have had some mini-purges over the years, but it’s never more than a few at a time.

  9. The Paperback Princess says:

    I actually did a book unhaul twice last year. My shelves were way too full and there were books there that I didn’t really like that much. Then a library burned down in the province and there was a book drive at work so I did another one. It felt really good but I never gave a lot of thought to why I was divesting myself of certain titles. Normally it was pretty straightforward – I didn’t like the books!

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      That makes a lot of sense – why keep something around if you didn’t really enjoy it? I’m having trouble giving away books I didn’t finish though… I feel like maybe, maaybe one day I should give them another shot even though rationally, I think the chances of me actually doing that are slim.

  10. Facing Cancer says:

    I’ve done unhauls when moving, particularly cross-continent moving. The books left behind weren’t bad, they simply weren’t sentimental. Many found happy homes with friends after I put up a list on facebook. It’s quite amazing how quick they were snapped up! 🙂 ~Catherine

    • Karen @ One More Page... says:

      Ooh, I hadn’t thought about giving my books away via Facebook! That sounds awesome. It’s so heartwarming to know that your friends will be reading (and hopefully enjoying) books that you’ve read as well. Thanks for the idea!

  11. Milliebot says:

    I unhaul as I go. If I didn’t enjoy a book, I list it on a swap. At rare times I’ll go through my shelves and get rid of books I think I’ll never read. But usually if I like a book, I’ll keep it, even if I probably won’t read it again.

  12. Alice says:

    I’ve not watched an unhaul before, but I think I would be really interested to see what books didn’t click with bloggers alongside the ones that do. I recently stripped my shelves of a lot of books and it was rather cathartic.

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