How to Declutter Your Homeschool Books

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Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute.

Homeschoolers buy a lot of stuff- especially books. We buy books that our kids need now as well as books that they won’t need for years. We buy things just because they are on sale and we may need them one day. And if anyone dares to GIVE AWAY homeschool books, we are all over it!

How to Declutter Your Homeschool Books

The result? A house full of homeschool books and a strong feeling that we need to do some major decluttering.

Come on, I know it can’t just be me, right?

But how do you go about decluttering your homeschool book collection? That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Well, I think that the key to answering it is to consider a few other questions. Hopefully, by answering these questions, you will be able to whittle your homeschool book trove down to just the things that you and your kids will love and gain great benefit from.

Does it “Spark Joy?”

Famed decluttering professional, Marie Kondo has helped millions of people just like you and me to regain order in their homes through the art of decluttering. Part of her method is picking up each item you own and deciding if it “sparks joy”. If it doesn’t, then she believes it is not something you need to keep around. Pick up each of your homeschool books and take a second to sense how you feel about it. You feel very “blah” about it, chances are you won’t ever actually use it. Put any “blah” books in the discard pile.

Have You Already Read It?

If you’ve already read a book and have gleaned all the information you can get from it, it’s safe to say you can let it go. Unless it is something that you need to keep as a reference, there’s no point in letting it take up space in your home. Toss it in the discard pile.

Did you buy it because you wanted it or because it’s popular?

I admit it – I am guilty of buying books just because they came highly recommended. But then, after skimming through it, I realized that I didn’t really like it or that it wasn’t what my family needed. But I held on to it because…well, because I paid for it. Lol! But the truth is that I will never use them and they are taking up space that could be used for something else. If you have books like this, let them go.

Do you have multiple copies?

Have you ever been at a used homeschool book sale and seen a fantastic price on a book that you just HAD TO HAVE and bought it (because…savings!), but then got home to discover that you already owned the book? if so, go ahead and collect the duplicate copies and set them aside in the discard pile.

Does it look like it survived a tornado?

I know you don’t like to waste money. You may hold on to books that have water damage, missing pages, and tattered pages. As long as they are still somewhat readable, they are salvageable, right? But if you want a homeschool library you can be proud of, you should weed out those books that are in terrible condition. Just like you would get rid of ratty furniture or a car that is more trouble than it’s worth, sometimes it is good to just let go and move on. If you have books laying around that look as though you rescued them from the bottom of a trash bin, it is time to put them where they belong – in the discard pile.

Can you buy a digital version?

Ok, don’t throw a book at me. I am 100% a proponent of real, physical books. Digital books can’t compare to the delicious feel (and smell) of a book in your hands. However, if you are really cramped for space, it can help to convert to digital for as many books as you can. I’m not saying you should go fully digital. But if you can find a book that serves it purpose just as well digitally, I would consider getting it and placing the physical copy in the discard pile

Do You Need It Within the Next 2 Years?

I know that it can be really tempting to stock up on materials all the way through high school- even if your child is only in kindergarten. After all, you’re just being extra prepared. But having books around that you won’t need for several years doesn’t make a ton of sense space-wise. Also, with some books, they may be outdated by the time your child needs them, so you will have to buy updated materials anyway. I would recommend only keep in books that your child will use within the next 2 years and send the others to the discard pile.

Now that you have answered these 7 important questions, hopefully you have a stack of homeschool books that you feel you need to get rid of. Now your only decision is whether you want to sell them, donate them, or simply throw them in the trash. Personally, what I would do is:

  1. Throw away any that are in terrible condition.
  2. Sell any that are popular and still in great condition. You can sell books in the Facebook marketplace, in yard sales, on eBay, and on websites like Book Scouter and Cash 4 Books. If you have a college campus in your area, you may also find stores that buy used books to sell to college students. Any money you earn from selling your old books can be used to pay for other things your family needs.
  3. Anything that you can’t sell, but that is still in good condition would be donated to the library, a local literacy program, a shelter, or a school. You could also post in online homeschool forums to see if anyone wants to take them off your hands. If they are local, they can meet you for pick-up. If they’re not local, suggest that they cover the shipping costs. More than likely, they will be receiving more than enough value to make it worth it.

So, there you have it- my tips for how you can declutter your homeschool books and reclaim a bit of space in your home. I hope it helps! If it does, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.