How to Declutter Your Books: The second category of the KonMari Method

If you’re a book collector, it may seem crazy to even think about getting rid of even a single book. If you’re not, then the few books around your house may not seem like a big deal. 

For some reason, there is this idea that you should never get rid of books...but why is that? Is it the outdated notion that books demonstrate to others who you are as a person? I’m here to say you should at least ask yourself why you have them, and consider if they are serving your life or not.

Personally, I’m an avid reader but I’m not a book collector. To me, books are stored information, ideas, and stories and they only come alive and bring something new to your life if you actually read them.

How do you decide what to keep and what to let go?

  • Start by taking all the books you own off the shelf and put them in a pile. If you have a lot, this can seem very overwhelming, but it’s the best way to truly see what you have. (And it’s a great opportunity to dust the shelves!)

  • Hold each book and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?

  • Alternative questions to ask yourself if you’re just not sure: 

    • If I was going to pick up a book to read today, would I pick this one?

    • Is this book important to me?

    • Do I have this book in another format, like Kindle, or would I be OK with getting it from the library if I really wanted to read it again?

  • Consider your ideal lifestyle. If your goal is to have a large home library, then you may want to keep more books...but consider if you are keeping them for quality or quantity. If you plan to move soon or downsize books are really heavy, take up a lot of space and are costly to move.

  • Store them by topic and author. If you have space, store cookbooks in the kitchen. 

Unread books

Unread books tend to become part of the scenery; you stop noticing them. Subconsciously, they could feel like a huge pile of unfinished work and drain your energy without you really noticing. Often the initial excitement you felt about the topic or story fades but the tie to, ‘maybe reading it someday’ remains. Since books are stored information, ideas, and stories, it’s important to check each book to see if you still have excitement about them, otherwise it may be time to let the old ideas go to make room for new inspiration to come into your life.

Self Help Books

Self help books are amazing resources when we are struggling with a personal issue or are trying to learn something new. Once your life situation changes such that you’ve evolved your thoughts and feelings, holding on to the book can be an anchor to the past. For example, if you’re going through a divorce, the books can be comforting and reassuring for you throughout the process. Once you’re ready to move on to a new relationship, it could be time to release those books. 

Kids books

Kids love to be read and creating a daily ritual of reading is a great way to connect with your children. But kids can also get overwhelmed with too many options. Put a few books in a basket near their bed or in a reading nook and store the remainder away on a shelf or in a closet. Rotate the selection once a month to continue to have variety. 

If you like variety and home delivery services, check out Columbus based company, My Bookworm Box. They curate subscription boxes of books based on your child’s reading level. 

Shout out to the LIBRARY

The library is one of every community’s best resources. They can pretty much get you any book you want to read FOR FREE and they store all the books for you in their building. They also have these amazing people called librarians that can help you find any information you want. 

Seriously. Go check out your library. 

What to do with the books you discard

Half Price Books is a great place to sell your books. Generally you won’t get a lot of money for them, but if you have a large volume, it could be worth it to take them in. If you are local to Columbus and are downsizing a large collection or estate or have rare books Crestview Books will come out to your home to evaluate and purchase the collection on the spot. Many charities accept books as donations as well. 

In summary

Books can be a wonderful way to surround yourself with joy, but they can also be a space and energy suck, so take some time to check your collection to see how you really feel about it.