donating and selling books


As organizers, one of the questions we consistently get from our clients is how and where to donate or sell the books that they are ready to pass along. We've compiled our list of recommendations and are eager to share it with you.

If you are ready to organize and purge your books, we recommend that you take the time to look through all the books throughout your home. Rather than simply purging a bookcase in one of many places that you keep reading material, plan to put your hands on every book in the house! Don't forget cookbooks, textbooks, and children's books. Once you've gone through all of them and have your purge pile, the following steps will come in handy...


Step 1: Determine whether each book is donate-able/sell-able or whether it simply needs to be recycled. If it's water damaged, dry rotted, or torn up it's not worth donating. Go ahead and recycle that sucker.

Step 2: Donate: If you don't want to fool with selling, simply donate your books to your local library or to a thrift store. If you have children's books to donate, you can also drop them at one of the many free little library's around town.

Step 3: Selling: There are many approaches and ways to go about selling your books. For a quick way to offload mass quantities of books, McKays is our recommendation. The amount of books you drop off will determine how you sell/how long you wait. For guidelines check out this link. In addition to McKays, Amazon now has a buy back program for certain books that they will pay shipping for and purchase from you in exchange for an Amazon gift card. For textbooks we recommend Barnes and Noble's buy back program.

Step 4: Enjoy the space you've created in your home by purging the books that you no longer need or want!


books, books & more books


Photo via bookriot.com 

Photo via bookriot.com 

Consider these questions when sorting through which books you'll keep and which you are willing to part with: 

  • When was the last time I read this book?
  • Will I read it again?
  • If it's a cookbook, do I use it? Hint: the presence of food stains indicates a keeper.
  • Is the book a classic?
  • Does the book have specific value — is it a signed copy, first or collectible edition?
  • Is the book out-of-print or hard to replace?
  • Do you have mulitple copies? (Just keep one)
  • Do you have an electronic version of this book? (Let the paper version go)
  • Is this a book I've borrowed and need to return?


  • Donate to: Friends of the Knox County Library, KARM, The Salvation Army, local churches
  • Specifically gift relevant books to: family members, neighbors, co-workers, or friends.
  • Recycle: if a book is beyond repair & has seen better days
  • Consign: your books at McKay's Books



Photo via designsponge.com 

Photo via designsponge.com 

Photo via designsponge.com

Photo via designsponge.com

Here's a fun video showing a few different ways to style your own bookshelf. And a cute infographic drawing of the different styles! 

donations 101

Once you've purged, it's helpful to know which organizations locally need which specific items. It's empowering to know your donation is going to a purposeful cause and is serving your local community. We've put together this resource of where to donate specific items!

Household Items-
KARM: drop off and pick up available
Ladies of Charity
Angelic Ministries

Antiques, vintage furniture & historic building materials-
Salvage Shop

Clothing & accessories-
bare.Thred: Exciting things ahead... Be on the lookout for information regarding donations on June 1. They repurpose clothes and aim to reduce clothing waste in Knoxville! 


Medical Equipment- 
East Tennessee Technology Access Center

Friends of the Knox County Library

Arts & Craft Supplies-
The Basement Community Arts Studio

The Lions Club
Volunteer Ministry Center

Construction & Building Material-
Habitat for Humanity

Please share other specific donation spots in Knoxville that you know of! 

*Blog Image from Native Maps