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Decluttering children's books...

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I don't know if you all have covered this in the decluttering threads but what do you do with well loved books your children have outgrown? It feels so heartless to thrift or trash in this case. I think I need some guidelines or a little backbone.


I've got Are You My Mother and The Cat in the Hat sitting in front of me. Their covers are practically falling . My youngest child is now reading The Series of Unfortunate events. Will I regret not keeping the old standbys?

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We have a couple of boxes of special books that we can't part with. Every year or so we go through them; usually there are a few that no longer seem special to them, so we give them away.


Anything with cover falling off or otherwise in bad shape we get rid off. But I have occasionally replaced a worn copy of a special book with a new one, just to keep.


I also consider the possibility of a book going out of print. I wouldn't bother keeping Dr Seuss; those will be around forever. Lesser known kids' books, though, might disappear.

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I kept ALL my Dr. Suess, PD Eastman, and other favorites.


I'll keep them forever until/unless some grandchild absconds with them, in which case I will buy replacements.


So far, I've let go of most board and baby books, handing them off to friends and relatives.


With the story/picture books, I am going through "tiers", and giving away "second tier" non-favorite books right now.


Over time, I will keep going through and paring down, but I expect to keep at least 50-100 good favorite and classic kids' books to have on the shelf for visitors, grandkids, etc.

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I was having the same problem with the books my youngest had outgrown and so decided that I would keep their favorites for my future grandchildren. I imagined them laughing at the same parts my kids liked. I put them in boxes. When my daughter, who is my oldest, got married 4 years ago I started collecting them in earnest and since I love looking for books at thrift stores and garage sales I soon had many boxes. A friend suggested that I only save the "best" and that really helped me to clear out the ones that weren't in good shape. I started looking for the titles I had that weren't in good condition and replacing them with better ones that I found. The others I donated to Goodwill or Amvets. Hope this helps.

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If they are in good shape, I like to give away baby board books to friends having babies.


Our library has a book sale room that is open two days a week. So we donate some books there. They take anything no matter how well worn. They sell them for 25 cents or less.


My DD still will go to books that are below her reading level, just for nostalgia, so I keep some. But there are some I know she is totally down with - Dora, and similar 'character' books.


That still leaves a lot of books.

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