July Use It Up Challenge – Books

The November Use It Up Challenge is here and it's all about tackling sentimental clutter.

Gather your novels, comics, encyclopedias, and audiobooks, it’s time for the July Use It Up Challenge. Books are something that’s found in many homes. Yet as many readers know, it is easy to buy them faster than you can read them. Thus results in enormous TBRs that feel entirely overwhelming. Regardless of whether you have just a few or hundreds of books, this month we are going to focus on using them up.

In the previous months, we have tackled notebooks, candles, cleaning supplies, craft supplies, clothes, and bath items.

July Use It Up Challenge

What is the Use It Up Challenge?

This is a monthly decluttering challenge that focuses on using the items instead of simply getting rid of them. This helps to reduce waste and also gets your money worth out of those items. Each month, a new category is chosen and we will focus on that category all month long. However, you don’t have to stop once that month ends. Keep decluttering and using up those items all year long. It will have a huge impact on your home and life at the end of the year.

If you are joining in, be sure to share your progress on social media using #IHUseItUp. I’d love to see how everyone is getting along with the challenge.

Where to start?

This should be fairly easy. What you need to do is locate all of the unread books in your home. If you have a small number of books, this will be very easy. However, if you have a large collection of books this may take quite a bit of time. Putting them in one central location will keep you aware of their presence and likely increase the desire to read them.

If you want to take it to another level, you can put all of your unread books on the floor. Only once a book has been read is it allowed on the shelf. This gives extra incentive to read your backlog because you will hate seeing all those piles of books. Doing this truly puts into perspective how much of your TBR is unread.

Next, pick out the books you want to read this month. The number of books included will depend on how much time you have and how quickly you read. I suggest picking out more than you think you can read simply so that you have a variety of books to choose from. Also, if you find you aren’t enjoying a book, you can DNF if – which means did-not-finish, and then quickly move onto the next book.

Finally, you will want to decide when and where you will be reading. Pick a location that is as distraction-free as possible so you can focus on your reading. Reading at the same time each day will help create a routine. I prefer to read after dinner, but you may want to go with the first thing in the morning or just before bed. If you have a long commute to work, this is a good time to read. Audiobooks are great if you have to drive.

I’ve read a book, now what?

You may be wondering exactly how reading a book will use it up. Well, first off it’s one less unread book on your shelf. Secondly, once you have read the book you must decide what to do with it.

There are three options: keep it, sell it, or donate it. Keeping it means that you absolutely loved the book and hope to read it again, or perhaps will read the rest of the series. Selling or donating the book means that you will be able to pass it on to someone else while no longer having to make room for said book. Hence, using it up. This is the best option as you not only finally gave that book the attention it deserves but you have also removed it from your home. Remember, this is a decluttering challenge in the end.

What I’m using up

Like most months, I have picked out a large number of books to read. Generally speaking, I pick upwards of 30 books a month to choose from. I don’t always get through all of them, but I find that if I have lots in a specific pile, then I will always find something that appeals to me. The books below are what I have picked out for the month of July. All but two are books I have never read and I am looking forward to reading them. My hope is to read 15 books this month.

Will you be joining the July Use It Up Challenge? If so, what books will you be reading first?


  1. The amount of books we had stashed away was really surprising, I mean I knew had quite a few books but while moving and packing them up I am forced to admit that we have entirely too many books lol. Which is completely against my book nature Iol but I will definitely have to go through and pick some to donate this month!

    1. Author

      Moving does help to put into perspective how much stuff you have. I totally get the having too many books but at the same time not. I don’t feel like I have too many books – unless I look at the boxes of books I have read but still own and then I realize I own too many. Need to get rid of so many this month.

  2. I have a section on my bookshelf dedicated to books I haven’t read yet, and when it is full, I won’t buy any more until there is room. When I finish, I put them back on my shelf in a different place if it’s part of a series I want to keep or I know I’ll read it again. Otherwise, I put it aside and when I have several I don’t want to keep, I either sell them or donate them. I am probably more organized with my books than anything else in my home!

    1. Author

      That’s an amazing way to do it. That means you never have a ton of unread books and know quickly whether you want to continue a series or not. I have gotten better with reading books that I have recently purchased shortly after buying them, but I do still have a backlog of older books that need my attention. Going to get to some of those this month.

  3. I love your monthly challenges! It’s such a great way to gather things up and commit to using them up or, in this case, reading them. I don’t keep many books in my house but I have a long reading list that needs some attention. I’ve put off reading recently and I miss the escape. Must select a few titles and reserve them at my library. A great summer activity– thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Author

      Thank you. I think the challenge puts a fun spin on decluttering and gives those items purpose instead of simply becoming trash. This is a great time to get around to reading some of those books on your list.

  4. This is a cool idea, I already have z list of books waiting to be read!

    1. Author

      Thank you. I hope you enjoy the books you have picked out.

  5. This is such a cool challenge! I actually cleaned out my books recently and was shocked at what all we were hoarding from years ago! Decluttering and creating a cleaner home is such a great feeling!

    1. Author

      Thank you. That’s great that you have already cleared out a bunch of books. Yes, decluttering really makes everything better, it’s almost like therapy.

  6. What a great challenge! I read on my Kobo so don’t actually have any books in my house. We probably have our Harry Potter and Game of Thrones books in storage somewhere but none in our apartment, which seems odd. But a great way to really reduce is to switch to an e-reader if you can!

    1. Author

      That’s great. That certainly reduces the amount of room you need to have set aside for books. I actually have an e-reader but I highly prefer physical books, especially when reading manga as I find those are difficult to read on an e-reader.

  7. This sounds like a lot of fun. I’m sure that I have quite a few books kicking around that I have read yet. I think the approach of sitting them all on the floor would work like a charm… It would be a reminder every time I walked past it lol

    1. Author

      It’s a great way to get around to those unread books. Putting them on the floor works really well because the piles will be so obvious and in the way that it’s extra incentive to get to them.

  8. Love this idea! I just went through my books and donated six bags! It’s important to pass them along when you are no longer using them. Except favorites!!!

    1. Author

      Thank you! That’s awesome that you got rid of so many! Haha, yes, you need to keep your favorite.

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