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If you’ve decided to declutter your book collection, you don’t have to limit yourself to an arbitrary number of titles, like Marie Kondo’s Thin 30-Book Collection. Keep your batteries on batteries, but make sure you have enough space for what you have. This is why the five professional organizers I spoke with also recommended that you sort your books before you start organizing, buying a shelf, or building new book storage. Realistically, even if you think you have a fabulous library full of serious volumes, there are probably a few books you could give or give away. Duplicates are easy to get rid of, and according to Patty Morrissey, KonMari Certified Consultant, âMary advocates getting rid of books that you tell yourself you are going to read someday.
âOnce we know what the volume is,â says Karin Socci, senior consultant at KonMari and founder of The Serene Home, âthen we really have to be strategic when it comes to spatial planning, especially in New York. To make sure you don’t end up with unruly piles of books everywhere and to help you find a stylish book storage solution that actually works for you, we spoke with three KonMari Certified Consultants and two professional organizers about their ideas and favorite book storage products. .
âIn general, across all categories, vertical storage is recommended for most things because it makes it more lively and less stagnant,â says Morrissey. This is why most of the organizers recommended some sort of wall solution, although Socci emphasizes: “We really try to make sure that it is attractive, beautiful, restful and peaceful to look at” besides being functional, by especially in the KonMari method. Lisa Zaslow, a professional New York-based organizer and founder of Gotham Organizers, loves modular wall shelving, but notes that it’s important to be careful. âThey sort of float, which is awesome and very minimalistic, but your books can drop by the end if you don’t have bookends,â she warns. That’s one of the reasons she loves these floating shelves from Italian company Teebooks, which have built-in bookends.
Although shorter than those from Teebooks, these metal wall shelves from Urban Outfitters have a similar floating feel and handy racks that will also keep books in line.
If you need bookends for a floating wall shelf that doesn’t have one, Zaslow loves these metal singles.
âIn KonMari, there is the idea that similar things should be together, but also that things should be where you use them,â Socci explains. âSo if you’re reading at night you’re obviously going to have books rotating by your bed or at your nightstand. For arguing over books in this corner, Laura Cattano, a professional Brooklyn-based organizer, likes the Umbra Conceal Library. This is an easy-to-install storage solution for the few books you’re in the middle of, so you don’t have to stack them on your floor or nightstand.
Another option, straight from the kids’ section, is these shallow book racks, which are especially useful if you’re trying to show off or store oversized books. It’s similar to a trick Ann Dooley, KonMari Certified Consultant and Owner of Simple Joy With Ann, has used before. âI had a client who had two layers of books on the same shelf, plus a few on the side, stacked on top. It’s packed, âshe explains, adding that the client finally realized that she just liked certain books for their covers – and that’s okay. For those, Dooley explains, âWe displayed it much like in bookstores, where the cover faces forward, and using it as a divider between sections. I do it that way, I think it makes for a great show.
Cattano likes these shelves from Restoration Hardware’s children’s range, noting that the shallow design is ideal for a narrow kitchen or above a desk. Cattano describes it as a “little revolving library” for the books you are referencing or reading.
There is also this clear, shallow acrylic bookcase that will make the books appear to be floating.
In keeping with Kondo’s organizational principle of keeping things where you use them, Dooley believes that keeping cookbooks in the kitchen can work “if everything else is organized to be displayed, and on top of that, it’s really easy to access â. For that, Zaslow likes this pot rack from Crate and Barrel, which doubles as storage. “There is a shelf above which allows you to free up space in the cabinet [with] hanging up your pots, but there’s also enough room for a decent-sized collection of cookbooks, âshe says.
Another storage option for books being read – also taken straight from the children’s section – is a book rack. âThose little shopping carts could go to the foot of the bed in a corner,â Zaslow explains. “And what’s so cool, because it’s acrylic, it doesn’t seem to take up much space.” It’s also a great option for anyone looking to organize a home office, even if they don’t have a suitable office; it’s a compact place to keep all your books, gadgets, and work-related documents together.
However, if you have a desk, you can also get a table shelf. âIt’s good if you’re someone who has a lot of books going,â Zaslow says.
Cattano loves this desk shelf because it is fully adjustable to accommodate books of all sizes.
And while it’s incredibly obvious, sometimes you just need a shelf to keep your books organized, and there are plenty of affordable options out there, even for the smallest spaces. Zaslow especially likes tall, thin shelves, like the one from Blu Dot, which she describes as “the skinniest I have ever seen.” It won’t hold most books, she admits, “but if you really don’t have much space, I’ve never seen anything smaller,” Zaslow says.
Cattano likes this slim metal bookcase from CB2, which is a bit more width than Blu Dot, for slightly larger collections. She also likes the white finish, especially for rentals: âIt’s the kind of thing I like because it just blends in. Stick it in a small corner, it just blends into the wall, and it takes up minimal visual space and minimal physical space. “
Another stylish option for a tall, slim shelf is this model from Design Within Reach. âThe amount of space it takes up on the floor is basically the size of a big book, and then it skyrockets, with super thin little shelves, and the shelves don’t even waste space,â explains Zaslow. And even though the books are technically stacked on each shelf, they’re still accessible. âIf you have everything full, it looks like this perfect stack of books, but there are shelves supporting them, so you can take the books out and you don’t have to worry about them tipping over,â she says. .
Cattano also recommends DWR’s Story Library, but as she notes, âthis shelf has been knocked over so many times that you don’t need to get the Design Within Reach version. We particularly like the metal one, sold on Wayfair, for about half the price of the original.
If you don’t want to mount things on your walls or climb high to the ceiling, Cattano and Zaslow both recommend going low and long. âA lot of times people don’t have room for a bookcase because they have windows,â Zaslow explains. âAs much as you love books, you aren’t going to put your books in front of a window, but another option is just a small bookcaseâ that will fit under a windowsill.
Cattano loves this open shelving unit from CB2, which has a ton of storage space. And if you have room, she recommends lining several up next to each other. âI always tell people, don’t be afraid of multiples,â especially if you need more storage, she says. âThe multiples of the same thing, you don’t even see them. This reduces visual clutter, as furniture can produce a lot of visual clutter.
There are, however, some books that you might not want everyone to see – self-help titles, books on potty training your kids, and more. âMarie recommends putting books in a cupboard or closet,â says Morrissey, who advocates making room in your clothes closet and using it for extra book storage. But if that’s not an option, Cattano likes a good storage basket. âNothing has to be all or nothing, it’s one of my greatest philosophies,â she says. âYou don’t have to get rid of everything, you don’t need to keep everything, you don’t need to display everything.
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