declutter · lifestyle

Decluttering your bookself

I love reading, guys!

It’s been a hobby of mine since childhood and I’ve always loved getting lost in a good book and letting my imagination run wild.

I won’t say I have a type of genre I prefer over others; whatever is interesting is good enough for me. What’s not so good is that I own around 400 books.

Okay, it might not be much compared to some bookworms out there, but I’m still growing my collection whenever I get the chance. I haven’t actually read all the books in my home because of time limitations currently, but every now and then, when I’m REALLY in the mood for a good book and want some downtime, I’ll get some reading done before bedtime (when it’s quiet and I can focus on what’s in front of me).

Before we moved earlier this year, and I was getting ready to pack up our things, my books were the very first things I decided to pack away because I knew I’d be too busy to get to any reading. As I started sorted through them and actually remembering what I own, I realised how many books I haven’t picked up in years because I had read them so many times in the past, I felt there was no need to reread them again. Some of them were meh books and I only read them once and decided they weren’t worth reading again.

Yet I kept them because I’m a sucker for books, even if I won’t read them again. I struggle to part with books which why I sat in the situation that my bookshelf ran out of space and I had to pack some books on other stands to store them. Which, of course, made the places looked cluttered. In my opinion, the solution would’ve been to get another bookshelf but that wouldn’t really solve the problem because more books on books would create even more clutter; clutter that I was trying to tackle with the ones I already had.

So I made some time to go through all my books and sorted through them to decide what was staying and what was going. In the end, it took me less than an hour and I had a pile of 40 books that were going to a new home.

I’ll share at the end of the post what you can do with the books you won’t be keeping after you’re done decluttering them.

Here’s a quick and easy way to declutter your books and only keep the ones you really want to.

Take all the books out of your bookshelves

Spread them out on the floor so you can see them all in front of you. If you have limited space, do it shelf by shelf so they aren’t lying all over the place and you can’t move around. Do a walk through of your house and gather all the books you’ve left at various locations (yes, that happens more often than one would think).

Sort into categories

I own a lot of different types of books; from novels, to autobiographies, to self-help, to christian books, to recipe books, to encyclopediae. Then there are all the adult colouring-in books, art manuals and magazines. Having all of them mixed up made it harder for me to focus on which books I wanted to keep and which needed to go so I decided to sort them into the same categories so I could work through each pile individually and see what there was.

These were my categories. You won’t need to make it this ‘complicated‘ if you don’t want to or don’t have the time but it worked better for me.

  • Books by genre (if you love a certain authors books, you can sort the books by author as well)
  • Autobiographies
  • Rugby books
  • Self-help manuals
  • Christian books and devotionals
  • Encyclopediae
  • Adult colouring-in books
  • Art manuals
  • Recipe books
  • Magazines

This way I would be able to work through every pile and that helped me get to the next step.

You’re going to be making new piles now….

The three main category piles

Once you’re sorted your books by their specific categories, its time to start on the three important categories:

  • Books I love
  • Books I rarely read
  • Books I never read

Put thought into these when you pick up each book and decide which pile it belongs in.

Guys, this is where self-control comes in because after a while I realised I was packing ALL my books in the ‘Books I love’ pile instead of actually sorting through them and decluttering. It’s hard for us book lovers to part with our books, but when your bookshelf is overflowing, it has to be done.

So I had to start over and really focus on each book. What did I like about it or love about it, would I read it again?


Once you start reading, you’ll forget that you’re actually decluttering and it might cloud your judgement, and your ‘Books I love’ pile might by unfairly higher.

Some books you’ll immediately be able to make a decision on. I have books that I know I will read over and over again until the end of time so it’s a no-brainer which pile they will be in. There are books that I’ve tried to read and couldn’t get past the first chapter for whichever reasons and I’ve never tried to read again, so why was I keeping them? If you do struggle to decide which pile a book must go to, only read the back of the book and see what emotions it triggers. Again, try staying objective!

Where to find a home for the ‘Books I Never Read’ pile

I’m soooooo against throwing books away! I’ve fixed books that I bought second-hand because their covers were hanging on by a thread, but I have never thrown a book away. I just can’t get it over my heart!

So what do you do with these books, then? There are a couple of places you can take the books to give them a new home:

  • Libraries
  • Old age homes
  • Orphanages (just double check for appropriate books to donate)
  • Hospices
  • Friends and family
  • Prisons
  • Homeless shelters
  • Sell them online
  • Second-hand bookstores (some even offer to give you credit for the books so you can use it to buy other books – there’s no getting away from books, guys!)

You get all kinds of hoarding, and book hoarding is a real thing! I hope this helps you sort through your own books, and as the saying goes, ‘Out with the old, in with the new’. New books, of course!

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