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How to Declutter Your Bookshelves


organized shelvesLet’s talk about bookshelves. Overstuffed bookshelves can quickly become an eyesore, and we are often left a bit clueless on how to handle it. It can be hard to think about parting with our well-loved books, so often we ignore that subject altogether. After all, what if we want to read them again someday?

Don’t get stuck in the trap of feeling like you must keep every book you’ve ever owned. Though books are an important part of our lives, they don’t need to have control over your home and your shelves! Here are some tips to declutter your bookshelves from the Professional Organizer in NYC.

  1. Start by clearing off the entire shelf. When you look at a blank canvas, like an empty bookshelf, you can see the possibilities! And you can see how much space you truly have to work with. If the entire bookshelf seems overwhelming, start with just one shelf at a time.
  2. Get rid of duplicates. If your collection is massive, you may have acquired duplicates as gifts at some point and not even realized it! Get rid of those to make space for the books you truly love.
  3. Separate your favorites. The Professional Organizer in NYC is absolutely not saying that you need to get rid of every book you have – quite the contrary! We all have favorite books that we’ve read over and over, or that hold a sentimental value. Display those books proudly! When sorting, put your favorites into one pile so that you can easily go through the books you aren’t quite as attached to.
  4. Get rid of what you won’t be reading. This might be the most challenging step, but it’s important. Are you going to read that old statistics textbook you’ve had on your shelves for years? What about that fiction book that you never read past the second chapter? These items are taking up valuable space, and if you aren’t going to read them, it’s time to find them a new home.
  5. Organize by size, category, or alphabetically. When you’ve sorted through your books and are ready to put them back on your shelves, sort the books in a visually appealing way. Pull all of your books to the front of the shelf so they look uniform.
  6. Go digital. You may already have a tablet or e-reader and several books stored on it. Many books are now available in a digital version, so you can easily replace books or purchase new ones, and take up no extra space.
  7. Be creative in utilizing empty space. Use a magazine file to store magazines. Use textured bins or lidded containers to hide items that might not be visually attractive or that add to that cluttered feel.

So what should you do with the books that don’t make it back onto your shelves? The Professional Organizer in NYC recommends you donate them to any number of different charities (check out local libraries and schools, too!), sell them at a used bookstore or online, gift them to a friend or family member, or if the book is on it’s last leg, it may be time to recycle.

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