If you’re a book lover, you might be wondering how to declutter bookshelves. When you love to read, you often have a habit of collecting lots of books and before you know it, they’re overflowing your bookshelves and taking over! I am definitely in the book lover category, and this last week, our bookshelves definitely needed some attention.
Books were crammed every which way onto the shelves and it was hard to grab anything without other books sliding off with it. Plus, there was a ton of stuff on the bookshelves that didn’t belong there. I watched a YouTube video from the Minimal Mom on decluttering books and it totally inspired me to get going!
So, wondering how to declutter bookshelves? Here’s a basic rundown of how to do it as painlessly as possible.
Select the books you love
Pull all the books off the shelf you know you want to keep. It is much easier to start with selecting what you love, rather than just randomly starting to pick up books and determine if you like them enough to keep them. We all have those certain books we return to again and again, the ones we treasure, so set those aside in a pile and start on a positive note with focusing on what you want to keep.
Remove what doesn’t belong
When looking at how to declutter bookshelves, some decisions are easy once you’re into the process. I noticed we had stacks of CDs on the bookshelves, as well as several photo albums and a cluttered mess of photos we printed to put into our kids’ baby books which haven’t quite gotten there yet (real life, right?). It was an easy choice to remove the CDs and put aside the photo albums and prints to go with the rest of our photo albums that we keep stored in the living room. This freed up space and took care of a lot of what had been making the bookshelves look so overstuffed and messy.
Decide what else to keep
Once I’d gone through the two steps above, the final step in looking at how to declutter bookshelves was to decide what I still wanted to keep from what remained. This is often the hardest part, isn’t it? Deciding if you like a book enough to keep it on your shelf. Below are the three types of books I decided to keep.
Books for Reference
These are books you go back to for an in-depth look at certain subjects. And yes, in the age of Google, we can find practically anything with a quick search on our phones, but for some topics, there’s just nothing like a good old fashioned hard copy book filled with solid information.
Books I Re-Read
I have books that are so good I go back and re-read them again every 3-5 years or so. I think books like this are well worth keeping. Even if they are books you can easily get a hold of at a library, there’s just something about having your own copy with your own underlining and notes in the margins.
Again, these books are often easy to get a hold of, so there’s a case to be made for getting rid of them and just checking them out from the library when you want to read them, but my personal preference is to own them. I love having classics accessible for my husband and I to read, and as our kids grow, I want to make these books which have stood the test of time accessible for them to read, as well.
How do you make a bookshelf look less cluttered?
The best way is to leave some open space on the bookshelf. Give your books room to breathe, add a small bit of decor in the open spaces (or leave them totally open if you prefer), and you’ll immediately notice your bookshelf looks less cluttered and more styled. Even if your books don’t all look uniform or have coordinating covers, you can achieve a less cluttered look by simply putting less books on the bookshelf and spacing them out into small groupings.
So, that’s it! That is how to declutter bookshelves. Set aside the books you love, remove what doesn’t belong, then decide on your criteria for how you’ll choose what to keep from what remains. For me, I chose to keep books for reference, books I re-read, and classics. I hope this helps, and happy decluttering!