Is your book collection getting out of control? Most avid readers probably feel like they can never have too many books. The problem arises when they have so many books that their bookshelves are overflowing and they have stacks of books placed on every available surface throughout their home creating clutter.
If this sounds like you, it’s definitely time to purge, and probably also time to arrange your books in an organized way that makes for easy retrieval. Purging is practically a swear word for book hoarders, but it must be done in order to make space for future books! I come across this struggle with many clients who have a love for books. If books are “their thing”, then I try to make room and come up with other solutions so that they can keep their favorites. However, it’s important to remember that if you don’t plan on reading the book again, there’s no real reason to keep it (with a few exceptions. e.g. classics, heirlooms, etc.).
If you don’t know where to begin, start by scheduling time to scan your bookshelves and selecting your least favorites. Do a little each day until you’ve got a good pile going. Then keep going until you’ve at least parted with enough books to have them all placed on bookshelves. I would also recommend that after you’ve donated the first batch, go through them one more time to see if you can get rid of more. The key is to create enough space so that the books aren’t so tight on the shelves and you have room to add a few more later. However, it’s okay to keep a few in a basket or bin by the bed or sofa, but try to use the basket for books you’re reading now.
If you’re not sure about donating all of them to your local charity, check with your local hospital, daycare centers, homeless shelters, public libraries, and used book stores to see if they can take any. Sometimes it’s nice knowing exactly where your donations end up.
After purging enough books to clear some space on your bookshelves, it will be time to organize them in a way that makes sense to you. There are so many different ways to organize books. The most common way is to arrange by either author (a-z), genre or in alphabetical order by title. However, you can also arrange by room location, color, size and style.
How you organize your books is up to you, but you’ll want to think about how easy it will be for you to find a specific title or author. If your new system is completely different from the old one (if you had a system at all!), then I recommend you map out your new system on paper, so that you can refer to it from time to time, until it becomes automatic.