I’ve decided to break down my year long home purge by floor and room. I started in the master bedroom earlier this spring by paring down my wardrobe and weeding out unwanted beauty items, including toiletries and cosmetics as well as nail polish. The most natural next step was to turn my attention to my book collection, half of which I store in the master bedroom and the other half in my home office. That room is next on my purge list and I was able to finish up the master bedroom and kick off the office clean up with this book purge.
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While I did borrow some inspiration from the KonMari method as I did with my past purge efforts, I decided to leave my books on the shelves as opposed to piling them all onto the floor. I know I have a lot of books and I’ve never actually done a proper purge of my collection before. I’m part of the camp that believes you really can’t have too many books. Reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo inspired me to consider my book collection and how I’ve hung onto most every book I’ve purchased in the last decade. I realized it was kind of silly to hang onto books I knew I would never read again, so that is what I designated as my criteria for the purge.
I went through each book, shelf by shelf, and pulled the ones I was confident I had no interested in rereading. This doesn’t mean I didn’t originally like the book, but not all books are read-more-than-once types. This, of course, is a matter of personal preference. Fortunately, since I was only going through my personal collection and not my husband’s (which I personally don’t believe is any of my business to go through and purge his things), this process was easy and relatively quick.
I cut my book collection down by at least half and was able to move what remained aside from crafting and reference books from my office to my bedroom bookcases. The reorganization of those shelves took substantially more time than the purge itself, but it was well worth the time spent. I am extremely happy with both the organization and look of my bedroom bookcases now. Just like before, I have a mix of fiction and nonfiction books displayed alongside photos and momentos. I like my shelves to have a bit of visual variety to them and try to avoid cramming them full of books if I have the space.
My preferred method of book organization is by category. For example, the bookcase on the left (above photo) is completely dedicated to fiction, with the exception of the one shelf towards the middle that holds books I haven’t read yet. I’ve organized by top to bottom from old classics to new classics and book series. The bookcase on the right includes nonfiction works on the top shelves, separated by emotional well-being, physical health and nutrition, and autobiographies. The bottom two shelves are dedicated to favorite books from my youth. Keep in mind that these categories are distinguished by me and not the literary powers that be so that they make the most sense in my collection’s organization.
I also went through and purged our cookbook collection, which I consulted Don on since he is the main cook in our family at the moment. We were able to weed out the ones we never reference and keep only the most useful cookbooks and manuals to us. The top shelf is dedicated solely to cookbooks while the bottom shelf is where we store baking-specific books, general food prep manuals, and entertaining guides. It is neat, uncluttered, and easy to access our most reached for cookbooks now.
I also decided to consider my magazine subscriptions as part of my book collection. I currently pay for four subscriptions, including Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Self, and People. Somehow I also receive Oprah and Allure for free. As much as I love magazines, I honestly haven’t picked one up in way too long to justify keeping these subscriptions, so I’ve decided to cancel them all. In the event that I want a magazine, I’ll simply go out and buy it. That makes much for sense to me than wasting paper and money receiving a constant supply in the mail that I never seem to get to.
When all was said done, I filled up fourteen grocery bags with books to donate. I’m looking for a good place to donate the lot. If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments!
If you’d like to see more about my book purge process, including before shots of both my bedroom and office bookshelves as well as my process and final results, check out this video:
I’m very happy with how this purge and reorganization turned out. I was able to successfully complete this project over the course of one day and am left with books I truly love and want to read again. I’d love to know if you decide to attack your book collection. Feel free to share your process if you like!
Happy spring cleaning!
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