The last year has changed the way we do a lot of things, especially the way we live at home. Between mandatory shelter-in-place orders, canceled vacation plans, and remote work, we’re all spending far more time inside our four walls than ever before. And with our homes now doing extra chores as offices, gymnasiums and even classrooms for kids, clutter is definitely not lacking.
If you’re as fed up with batteries as we are, then we bet you’re ready for action. And there’s never a better time than a New Year to rethink your space, declutter, and get organized.
That’s why we’re launching a new series with tips from the pros for tidying up every space in your home. First up: all those books you bought to read (and never did) during your quarantine. Here’s what the experts are saying about how to comb through your shelves and organize those seemingly endless piles.
How to declutter your collection
“The clutter is a postponed decision – and so is the clutter of books,” says professional organizer Barbara hemphill.
âThe first step to decluttering books is figuring out how much space you’re willing to allocate to books,â she says. âWhen deciding whether to keep a book, ask yourself, ‘What’s the worst thing that would happen if I got rid of this book and wanted it afterwards? If you can live with your answer, donate or throw it away.
Get rid of ugly or old books
While some books can be obvious keepers (like the ones you’ll reread or reference later), you’ll likely end up with a stack that is maybe a good size. For those, Barbara reich, founder of Life Organized, has this pro tip.
âI look to see if a book is in good condition and if it’s something I want to exhibit,â she says. “For example, you might not want to view all of the self-help books that you own.”
Donate your unwanted books
Once you’ve reduced your pile of Guardians, it’s time to get rid of the rest. While you can try to sell valuable or collectible editions, most other used books won’t make a lot of money, which is why donations can be a great way to get rid of your unwanted volumes.
However, Sherri Curley of The Practical Sort notes that the pandemic has made the usual outlets – libraries, second-hand bookstores, nursing homes and hospitals, consignment stores, and even some nonprofits – reluctant to manage property. ‘opportunity.
“I caution my clients and readers to save time, hassle and fuel by contacting the organization before leaving, to make sure they accept donations and what their current protocol and schedules are.” , Curley said.
How to organize your remaining books
Organize your books by color
With your permanent collection of books established, you are ready to start organizing them. A great way to start is to group your books by color.
âIt works for the highly visual customer who likes their books as a collection, rather than looking for specific books to read or reference,â explains Lucy Milligan Wahl LMW editions.
Organize by author
If a colorful display isn’t your style, then you can just consider organizing it by author instead.
âThis style works best for those who love to read and are looking to be able to access specific books on a regular basis,â says Wahl. âIt’s also a more time-consuming method, as it needs to be adjusted and updated every time you add a new book to your collection. “
Organize by genre
If no color or author-based organization system works for you, consider a simple gender-based system.
âOrganizing by genre works well for most customers, especially when they store books in multiple rooms,â says Wahl. âIt helps to match the genre to the space: for example, cookbooks in the kitchen, business and self-help in the home office, fiction and travel in the bedroom, and so on.
It could also be extended to other rooms in the house, like putting your children’s books in the playroom and sports books in a basement or gym. Finally, be sure to set aside a few favorite exhibition books to decorate coffee tables, guest rooms, and even bathrooms.
Use leftover books as decor
While decluttering and organizing may be fine for most book collectors, some might end up with a few leftovers that still need to be sorted. Here are some creative tips from the pros that can help.
âI love using large art books stacked under lamps or small art objects to personalize a space,â says Sarah Giller Nelson less is more. âUsing a few favorite books to decorate your hallway will make you happy every time you come home. “
Be creative with the shelves
If you need more space than just a stack, invisible wall shelves are another great option for displaying your favorites.
âInvisible shelving can be wonderful for adding an accent to a wall without needing to invest in art,â says Wahl. “A window seat can also be a great place for a row of books, perhaps your favorite novels to snuggle up on a cozy afternoon.”
Last but not least, if you need more shelving, consider this minimalist design, perfect for showing off your book collection, without the clutter.