Top Tips to Declutter, Sort and Organise Your Books
Updated: Apr 26, 2019
From a very young age I've loved to read. What about you? Books are a great source of pleasure to entertain us, to help us learn and grow. Some are really useful points of reference. But have you got too many of them? Are they taking over your home? Is now the time to do something about this?
I once took over 300 books to my local library. I decided that having more space in my home was more valuable to me than keeping loads of books I didn't read or have use for anymore. I figured that if I took them to the library I could take any of them out if I wanted to read any of them again. And you know what? I never did. I can't even remember what any of the books were.
Make space and declutter your books.
Deciding what to keep and what to let go
Start decluttering your books by working on the top shelf and progressing down to the second shelf, and so on. Or if you have piles of books, start on the pile that's nearest to you. Here are some questions to will help you decide what to keep and what to let go.
1. Have you read it? If you've read it, do you need to keep it? Are you ever likely to read it again? Maybe it still holds great meaning for you and you'd like to keep it.
If you haven't read it, how long have you had it? Will you every get around to reading it? If you've had it a fair while and you haven't been drawn to read it, is there any point in keeping it?
2. Have you started it and never finished it?
Why haven't you finished it? Is it too boring, too long, not engaging enough, you're not interested in the subject anymore, you haven't got the time? Are you ever likely to get around to finish reading it?
3. Do you refer to it regularly?
Is it a reference book that you refer to regularly? Is the info still relevant and up-to-date? Can you get the info anywhere else? Instead of a paper copy could you download it? Or is the info readily available online?
4. Have you got enough space to keep it?
Do you have bookshelves and/or cupboards that are stuffed to the gills? Do they look heavy, dusty, and stagnant? Do you have piles of books building up on the floor, on tables, on chairs, on bedside tables? Are all your books in one or two places? Or are they all over the place?
How to sort the books you're keeping?
Categorise them and store them in a way that it'll be easy to find what you're looking for. So keep similar books together. E.g. all cookery books together; and within that category, baking together, savoury together, desserts together.
Separate fiction from non-fiction. Fictional books can be sorted by author (A to Z) or by genre. E.g. crime, romance, mystery. Non-fiction can be sorted by genre. E.g. travel, biographies, health, self-help.
You probably have read about having a rainbow collection aka sorting by colour. E.g. books with blue spines together, books with yellow spines together. Visually this could look great and could work for you if you're particularly good at remembering the colour of the spines of your books, or you haven't got many books. However, if you can't remember the colour of the spines of your books it's not going to be very practical for you. You'll probably also end up with series of books in different places too. Take a look at this photo of The Hunger Games series. And this one of the Harry Potter series could be pretty challenging to colour code!
A couple of other tips for you: keep heavier books on lower shelves as higher up they can look too top heavy and overwhelming; store them vertically; don't stuff the shelves; keep a bit of empty space.
What to do with the books you're decluttering?
Taking them to your nearest library could be an option. Phone them first to check if they will take them.
Dropping them off at your favourite charity shop will generally work.
If you have any books that have monetary value, you could look into selling them.
You could give books away to people you know who'd like them but bear in mind that it's good to know if they would genuinely love to have them. After all you don't want to clear your clutter and clutter up someone else's space.
And with the remainder, you can recycle them along with your paper recycling or take them to your local recycling depot.
Get in touch for help to declutter your home:
Trained with Karen Kingston, author of Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui
Member of APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers)