Being surrounded by favorite books can be a calming experience in a highly chaotic world. However, when your book collection becomes a part of your chaos instead of a relief from it, it's time to rethink your organizational methods. If books are keeping you from enjoying an organized, clutter-free home, here are some solutions.
1. Donate the Duplicates
It's your all-time favorite book, which means any time you see an affordable copy or a new edition it must come home with you. Unfortunately, this is how clutter begins. On day one of your book re-organization, sort through what you have and put duplicate titles into a donate box. You don't have to give up your favorite copy but letting go of the other three copies of that very same book will feel empowering. It will free up space on your bookshelf and it will make that single kept copy feel more special.
2. Sort and Separate
Designate spaces for the following categories:
Books you're definitely keeping
Books you would like to keep
Books you are fine not keeping
Anything that ends up in the third category can go right into a box to donate. Then, you can focus on the middle portion and see if there is any more room you can make.
3. Dedicate a Space
Will you keep a single shelf of books, a an entire wall? Will you devote an entire room to housing your books and create a dedicated home library? Whatever you decide, ensure you have the room necessary to neatly store all the books you're keeping.
At this point you may need to buy or build proper book storage. Here are some ideas for storing books neatly and easily:
Purchase furniture pieces that offer inventive book storage, such as a raised bed or sofa that features book cubbies beneath the sleeping or sitting area.
Buy or create wall art that holds books, such as shelving built in special shapes or crates mounted up the corner of a room.
Use wooden boxes on wheels that you can roll easily under a coffee table or storage bench.
Place slender bookcases behind bedroom doors.
Fill a free-standing shelving unit with books and use it as a room divider.
Once you have all the storage you need, it's time to go back through your books and re-sort them.
4. Finalize Your Book Organization
Books in the must-keep category into the shelves first. They should be in the most accessible spots and ideally at eye-level. Once you're finished with that category move on to the books you'd like to keep. Sort and re-sort, according to the amount of room you have left. Books that don't make the cut at this stage should go directly into the donate box.
At this point, most of your dedicated space should be full, preventing you from keeping more books than you have room for. Donate any leftover books right away before you second-guess your decisions. Paring down your book collection may make you anxious. It may feel like you're doing something you'll regret later. But books are intended to improve our quality of life, not detract from it. This will help you take control of your own space and be mindful of future book collecting.