The Bookshelf: Decluttering Tips

Books can create a lot of clutter. I am speaking from my own experience – I love books, I used to work at a book store, and I am a frequent shopper at the bi-annual library book sale (who doesn’t love $1 books!) – but it can easily overwhelm your space.

What do you do when something that brings you joy unknowingly overwhelms you?

books

If you currently have a large amount of books in various places in your home – on shelves, in boxes, scattered among multiple rooms and spaces – here are some tips for downsizing.

  1. Gather all of your books in one place. This in itself can become overwhelming if you have a lot of books, but it is a great way for you to see how easily they can take over.
  2. Sort. Immediately go through your books and set aside ones you know you don’t want. Put them in boxes/ bags right away. While doing this sort your books into three sections: keep, don’t know, donate/discard. Your keep and discard piles are the easiest – that middle pile can be more difficult.
  3. Set boundaries. Determine what will make you keep the book and what will make you discard it. Example: Discard if – its damaged, you’ve had it for many years but never read, you’ve read it but didn’t like it, etc. Keep if – you use it as reference, it inspires you, you haven’t read it yet but recently purchased, etc.
  4. Repeat this process. This step is crucial if you have hundreds of books. It can be a slow process to truly make a significant dent in your collection.

When you have finally finished purging your books to the point where your collection is not overwhelming your life or space, you need to find ways to keep the clutter down. Here are some tips for keeping your book clutter under control.

  1. Buy one book, donate one you have. One book comes in, at least one book goes out.
  2. Go to the library. Instead of going out and buying books you want to read, get a library card and take it out of the library instead. This will not only keep the book clutter down, but you’ll save money in the process.
  3. Periodically purge. Personally, I try to purge my books close to the local library book sales. There are deadlines for donating books for the sale, so it sets a deadline for me. (***Just because you donate 20 books, doesn’t mean you should buy 20 more. The goal is to keep your collection numbers low.)

Hope you enjoyed these bookshelf cleaning out tips!

Good luck!

-Shannon

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