Blog,  Declutter

How To Declutter Books

Whether you’d like to have a few books or a lot, one thing is for sure, they need to be decluttered and organised if you’re going to easily find what you’re looking for.

Before you panic, this is not about getting rid of any books you love. When we talk about clutter, we mean the stuff that you no longer use, no longer love, and are scattered about in a disorganised way, making your home look messy. Deciding which books in your home are clutter is completely up to you.

Having book clutter can have some negative effects on your life, like:

  • Reading becomes a chore because you have so many “to get through”
  • You’ll read less because you enjoy it less
  • You feel pressure to finish all the books you promised yourself you’d read
  • All of this leads to a lack of focus and enjoyment in reading

How To Declutter Books

Step One

Know your end goal. Are you planning on having 2 walls of shelves dedicated to books? One bookcase? One shelf? Decide now where you’d like to keep your books and how you’d like that space to look and feel. Keep this in mind because this is your goal to keep referring to when you’re making decisions on your book collection.

Step Two

Gather all the books in one place. You could pile them up in the corner of a room, on a table, maybe in a spare bedroom or office.

Step Three

One at a time, determine if you’re going to keep a book, and if you are, if you’ll keep it in a physical format or purchase a digital version. Having all of your favourite titles stored in the cloud means you can access them from any device anywhere, and you’ll have fewer physical items in your home. However, some people just love the feeling of turning paper pages. It’s completely up to you how you’ll keep the books you love.

Questions To Ask When You Get Stuck

  • Will you read it again?
    • A book that just sits on a shelf gathering dust for decades is not fulfilling its purpose to be read and has become useless clutter.
  • Did you read it at all?
    • More often than not, “someday” never comes. If there are books on your shelves that you’ve been meaning to read, but haven’t found the time to, then you probably never will.
  • Does it “spark joy”?
    • Some books we are indifferent to, some we like, and then there are the others that fill our hearts with joy. The trick is not to confuse “I like this book” with “I love this book.”
  • Is it a duplicate?
    • Let’s say you asked for a particular book as a present, and three people bought it for you. As much as you appreciate their kindness, there just isn’t much point in having three copies of the exact same book. You don’t need to keep duplicates.
  • Does it fit my vision from step one?
    • If you want to have a single bookcase to store all your books, then all your books need to fit into that bookcase. If you want floor-to-ceiling shelving around your entire house then all your books need to fit onto those shelves. There is no magic number of books to keep, it’s all about your goal, your space, and how you want to live.

Really, the root question that all these other questions branch from is “If I keep this book, will it fulfil its purpose to be read and enjoyed?” If the answer is yes, then find a home for this beloved book. If the answer is no, donate the book so that somebody else can enjoy it.

Step Four

Decide where the books you’re letting go of will go. Maybe a charity shop, your public library, a pop-up community library (also known as a “Little Free Library”), schools or colleges, a second-hand book store, a friend you know will enjoy them. If the books are of a good enough quality, you could consider selling them online or at a car boot sale. If the books are too damaged to be donated or sold, you can take them to a book recycling centre or give them away as craft materials (great for scrapbooks, bullet journals, origami and paper crafts).

Step Five

Organise the books you’ve decided to keep and put them away, just how you planned to in step one.

How To Organise Your Books

Like deciding which books to keep, how to organise them is also completely up to you. Here are some ideas.

  • Alphabetically – by author
  • Alphabetically – by title
  • By colour – like a rainbow or in blocks of colour to match your décor
  • By genre/subject – horror, romance, sci-fi, etc
  • Chronologically – by date published
  • Mystery – by placing on the shelves with the spine facing the wall, leading to less “visual clutter”
  • Readers’ choice – any way you chose to, even if it’s just random
  • Size – smallest on one side, tallest on the other. Or maybe the tallest in the middle or at the sides? Have fun with it!
  • Spark Joy Metre – in order from least to most joy sparked
  • Staggered – store some books vertically, then some horizontally, and repeat. This way you can easily group series’ and make your shelves more pleasing to look at.

And you’re done

Did you declutter and organise your books? How did it go? Leave a comment and let me know!

If you feel like you need some help in getting your home or office decluttered and organised, don’t hesitate to contact us – we’re happy to help!

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