Cleaning out: what to do with all that junk lying around your house

Vinyl is a lot of fun, but takes a lot of space that you might not have. Image via April Greene

I have too many books.  Some people will immediately shout, “but there’s no such thing as too many books!”  My shelves (and floor, if things get really bad) disagree.  So every now and then, I have to get rid of the ones I know I will never re-read.   If you’re looking to make a new start in 2018 and clear out your or your vinyl, DVD, CD, or book collection, look no further than this guide!

How to clear out books
Jim Reed Books Birmingham Alabama
Jim Reed’s Museum of Fond Memories: great for finding something fun – via

Books aren’t difficult to get rid of.  You could grab everything and take it to  2nd and Charles, a subsidiary of Birmingham based Books-A-Million.  2nd and Charles (located in Hoover) has a sophisticated system set up for buying and selling gently used books, games and other items.  There are other options too.  Ask local booksellers, like Jim Reed of Reed Books, if they’ll buy back some of your collection.  Charlemagne Records and Renaissance Records buy books, too.  Definitely ask if they’re buying books before you bring them in!  You can also donate your books.  The JeffCo library co-op has lots of bookstores, everywhere from downtown to Homewood.  Other libraries often hold semi-regular book sales and still accept donations.  Donations are either distributed throughout the JCLC or sold.

How to clear out vinyl

Birmingham has three local vinyl dealers: Seasick, Charlemagne, and Renaissance.  They all buy vinyl, of course!  Make sure the records actually play first, and that their sleeves are intact.  You might be able to get a better price if you do a quick wipe-down to get the dust off.  Seasick offers a guide to selling stores your vinyl here.

How to clear out disks
seasick records vinyl cds
If saying goodbye to your music collection doesn’t excite you, then try uploading your music to Google Play, which grants a free streamable copy of any song you upload.  via

Charlemagne and Seasick both buy CDs.  DVDs are harder to get rid of: Charlemagne buys DVDs, but maybe not everything.  You might have better luck selling videos at 2nd and Charles.  Disk donations are accepted at the library, too.  Finally, remember that for pretty much any library donation, you can determine a reasonable value of your donation (people tend to overvalue their collections, so make sure you keep a record of what you donate) and use it as a tax deduction.

How to clear out old slides
This is my family dining room. It’s a mess. But all the slides are ready for storage!

Oof.  I had to digitize about three decades’ worth of old family photos we had stored in the attic.  They were surprisingly undamaged, but scanning them takes a long time.  Ask around, get a quote for the number of slides you want to digitize. If they ask for more than about $1000, it’s cheaper to do it yourself with an air duster and a professional scanner.  I used an Epson V800 and got good results when the slides weren’t damaged – the work is mindless, you just let it start scanning a dozen at a time!  Getting rid of family slides is trickier.  If you don’t want to keep them around, then all I can recommend is to read this article from the Guardian.  Maybe you’ll change your mind on throwing them out, or maybe you’ll find that the allure of free space in your home is just too strong!

What did we miss?  Do you use other methods for recycling your media?


James Ozment
James Ozment

I'm a Birmingham native who loves music, cycling, reading, and tech. Find me on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College, in Avondale, or hanging out with my cat

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