Books enrich our lives and teach us new things, but book collections can take up a lot of space. Whether you’re downsizing your possessions, moving to a smaller place, or embracing a minimalist lifestyle, you may need to get rid of all or part of your book collection.
Fortunately, if you’re looking to reuse or recycle old books, you have plenty of options, from donations and upcycling to storage. Here are just a few ways to downsize your book collection in Singapore.
1. Donate or Sell Your Old Books
It is said that one person’s trash is another’s treasure, and that saying is especially true of books. There are plenty of book lovers out there who would love to take care of your hand-me-down books, from low-income individuals to charitable organisations.
Some of the best places to donate used books in Singapore include the Salvation Army and the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO). You’ll find numerous drop off sites across the country, and you may want to call ahead to inquire about a donation centre’s operating hours and accepted items.
If you have kids books and want to give those old books to disadvantaged children, drop them off at Blessings in a Bag (BIAB). The non-profit organisation provides services to children in need in a variety of settings across Asia, from schools to orphanages. Donating your old books to BIAB allows you to give back to the community in a tangible way.
The National Library also receives book donations of various genres and you may drop by any of the 26 public libraries managed by the National Library Board for them to select the best titles for the general public. Who knows? The next book you borrow from the library may have been someone else’s favourite title from a few years ago.
Alternatively you can sell them. These days, there are many online marketplaces where you may put your old collections up for sale, and selling of book here are no exception. Websites like Carousel, Amazon and EBay are popular sites that you may list your titles for sale. Simply snap and upload some photos and write an interesting synopsis of the book, or story behind the sale and wait for a buyer to contact you.
2. Repurposing Old Books
There are many ways you can repurpose old books into useful items. For instance, a U.S. bookshop recently made headlines by turning old books into useful benches for its customers.
If you’re the creative type, you can also utilise old books in scrapbooking projects, or turn them into notebooks. A form of upcycling, making notebooks out of old books is a fun and exciting project. You can find many tutorials online that will help you get started.
Decoupage provides another creative way to turn unwanted books into art. You can create a decoupage tabletop by tearing or cutting a book’s pages and then glueing those pages onto a tabletop or other level surface. Finish off your project with a clear coating of sealant for a unique furniture piece.
3. Recycling Your Old Books
If the idea of using your old books for a project seems daunting, you can simply take your books to a paper recycling centre. There are several recycling centres across Singapore, from Boon Lay to Geylang.
Recycling your old books and paper is much healthier for the environment than simply throwing them away. According to recycling professionals, more than 1.26 million tonnes of paper waste was generated in Singapore in 2013, making paper one of the country’s most common types of waste. A little over half of all paper waste ends up in recycling centres.
If you want to recycle your old books, you may need to remove hard book covers or otherwise prepare them in some way. It’s in your best interest to call your local recycling centre ahead of time to see what types of paper products they accept.
4. How to Properly Store Your Old Books
Books often carry sentimental value, especially those you received as gifts, or ones you re-read often. As such, there’s likely to be many books in your collection that take up too much space yet you can’t part with. In this case, rather than recycle old books, you can safely store them for later use.
To get started, invest in plastic totes or crates in which to store your books. Throw in some silica gel or dehumidifying agents to reduce moisture. Wrapping them in brown paper or acid free tissue also keeps out the humidity thus minimising discolouration, leaving the pages in mint condition. Avoid using cardboard boxes for storage in order to keep your books safe from water damage and pests. You may want to label your boxes by genre, such as fiction or nonfiction, or with the names of family members.
Try not to overload your totes as you pack your books for storage because boxes of books can be heavy! If you are ready to store your excess books but don’t have room in your home, look for a nearby self storage facility, such as Store It Leng Kee or Store It! West Coast!
Perhaps your children have left home and you’re moving to a smaller space. Or maybe you want to practice minimalism, which is becoming a popular lifestyle choice. Whether you need more space or want to better organise your home by downsizing your possessions, there are numerous ways to recycle old books in Singapore.
If you choose to store some of your precious books instead of purging them, get in touch with Store It! We have a variety of unit sizes and pricing plans to meet your unique needs. Contact our helpful staff today. Click here for more information.