Day 18 – Books | 31 Days of Decluttering

Hello friends! 

Happy Humpday! Time to cull your books. For some of you this might be a super quick assignment, but for other – book loving – people (me!) this can present another clutter problem. 

Books are great, and I love to be surrounded by my favourite fictional worlds and character – but books are also heavy and take up space. If you are like me and read about two to four books every month, you would be drowning in books after the first couple of years if you were to keep them all. Instead of adding and adding endlessly to our collection, let's see which are still meaningful to us!

The Goal

  • no more crammed shelves
  • an appealing book display
  • only pieces that are close to your heart
  • inspiring input
  • more space for new books
  • less weight to carry when moving house

Guiding Questions

Do I love this book?
Does it serve a purpose, e.g. for school / uni / work?
Will I re-read or re-use it?
Does this book inspire me?
Does it have sentimental value?
Does it have monetary value?
Have I ever read it? 
Will I ever read it?
Will I need to refer back to this?
Do I own more than one copy of the same book?

Working Steps

1. Declutter

Empty your entire book shelf, and where ever else you keep your books. If you have an overwhelmingly large collection, start with only one shelf today.

Today's list includes:

children's books / picture books
volumes of poetry
comics & mangas
graphic novels
cook books
advice booklets

Take a moment to wipe down the empty shelves.

2. Go through your guiding questions

Are there any books you are not looking forward to reading, but holding onto because they were gifts, or seemed interesting at some point? Are you still passionate about the subject? If you have been holding on to all your old college books, maybe it's time to part with them.

3. Assess and organize

Sort everything into keep and don't keep piles. Ask yourself about each book's value to you and whether you should keep it. Basically, you only need to go by these two questions: 

1) Do I love it?
2) Will I read it again?

Let go of any damaged books and books you don't love any more. Duplicates and unread books that you don't intend to read also belong on the don't keep pile.

Consider going digital, and opt for the audio or e-format. That way you won't only save space, but also do the environment a favour.

Also consider getting your books from the library, and only buying a copy if they turn out to be a new favourite!

4. Return

Put all your favourite or not-yet-read books back into the book shelf, double-checking your decision to keep them.

Pull up all the books to the edge of the shelf to keep the space uniform and give your bookshelf a neater impression. As for magazines, use (white) magazine files to create a cleaner overall image.

Maybe you want to alphabetize or colour-code your books, or sort them by genre or subject.

If you don't like the new empty space in your shelves, consider adding a few decorative items such as picture frames, flower vases, bookends, and collectibles.

5. Donate / Discard

Take a look at your don't keep pile. 

Sell any books that are is intact, with no nicks or tears, or even brand-new and unread. You wouldn't believe how many (hundreds!!) of books I've already sold on Amazon in the past decade – it does pay!

Donate any books that are still in good shape, but you either don't want to sell or that aren't profitable.

Hand down any books that have sentimental value – or that make for a lovely personal gift – to friends or family members.

Toss any books and/or magazines that are ripped, torn, moulded, have missing pages or are otherwise unusable. 

6. Celebrate

And you're done for the day! Well done, my friend. Why not round off the day by snuggling up on the sofa and reading a few chapters of a book you enjoy?