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Literary Spring Cleaning

Eight Methods for More Manageable Mounds of Reading Material

Just because summer is almost here, it isn't too late for a little spring cleaning. If you're anything like me, your spring cleaning falls toward the end of spring and consists of a few specific activities: some scrubbing, a little closet cleaning and a huge amount of pile organizing.

My boyfriend and I are both book junkies -- we'll find them anywhere they can be found, from yard sales to thrift stores to boxes on the street. Because I really do like my books somewhat organized on a shelf, I've found a number of ways to disperse with books that I haven't totally fallen in love with -- and I'm ready to reveal my secrets…

  1. Book and a Dish Party
    A relatively pressure-free party, this consists of telling all of your friends to bring a wrapped copy of a meaningful book (preferably used), with a note about why they love it, and one of their favorite dishes/drinks to share. At some point in the potluck celebration, everyone gathers round and each person picks a books, unwraps it and revels in the joy of having a hand-selected and recommended book to read. And then the partying continues…

  2. Donate to Community Thrift Store
    I love this place with a capital "L." One of the few thrift stores whose book collection is organized and alphabetized, this is a fabulous place to donate not only books, but also good clothes, furniture and random stuff. Your donation can be tax deductible, and you can choose a beneficiary charity from a list of over 200 local and national organizations.

  3. Sell on eBay
    If you think any of your books might have some significant value (out-of-print, signed first editions, etc.), consider trying to sell them here. If they don't sell, you can try on of the other options.

  4. Donate to Queer Alliance
    If you have any queer-themed books you're looking to part with, the Queer Alliance at San Francisco State University houses a small library containing fiction, non-fiction and other reference materials, and they accept donations.

  5. Create a Trading Library at Work
    If your work environment is somewhat casual, find out if a bookshelf is available where you and your co-workers can leave books you've enjoyed and want to share.

  6. Have a Garage Sale
    Even if you don't really have a garage, you can sit in front of your home on a sunny day with cheap goods to get rid of and finally meet your neighbors.

  7. Donate to the San Francisco Public Library
    What a great way to contribute to the local book world! Some of your books might make it on the shelves, while others will be sold at sales that benefit the library. Be sure to check out their website to see what they accept.

  8. Donate Kid's Books to the Bridge of Books Foundation
    This organization will accept new or gently used children's books, which are then distributed to low-income San Francisco families.

Get off your duff and organize those towering piles of books. Your pets and/or significant other will thank you -- there is nothing like having a clean, pile-free house. At least for a day or two.

Community Thrift Store
623 Valencia Street, SF, 415.861.4910


Queer Alliance

San Francisco Public Library

Bridge of Books Foundation