Published On: February 22nd, 2024|Categories: Blog, Clutter Control, Home Office, Home page, Office|

Most people can benefit from decluttering and organizing books. Whether you are downsizing, or simply have lots of books, you will find this useful to you. It is difficult to start reducing books if the only choice is keep or toss. There are various levels of priority with the books we keep and with the books we consider letting go of. Books organizing represents another great example of what I’m always saying, “You have to prioritize to organize.”

Prioritize to Organize

A familiar approach to organizing books is to sort by category. Such as:

2. non-fiction
3. biography
4. reference
5. cookbooks
6. etc.

However, I recommend another approach to help with prioritizing that is more effective. Ask yourself why you are keeping a book, because why takes you to where. This is particularly useful if you are downsizing. Maybe you no longer have a full room that is a library, so what are you going to do with all these books?

Here are some examples:

1. Unread books that you want to make a point of reading should go to a reading area. Maybe in the living room or on the bedside nightstand.
2. Books for reference (with information unavailable online) should go in the home office area.
3. Books for purely sentimental reasons can be stored more remotely. Maybe binned in your basement, if you are short on bookshelf space.
4. Books for looks should be displayed prominently, maybe on a coffee table or a living room shelf.
5. Books of value should be stored out of the light. If the goal is to eventually sell these books, then condition is your priority.


This is an effective way to reduce books in one big space, but how does it cut down on quantity? When you get clear on why you are keeping a book, it then becomes easier to declutter a book. A book may be in good condition, but if you’re not going to read it, use it for research, treasure its sentimental value or anything else then it becomes much easier to donate or sell. And yes, if it is in bad condition and fills none of the criteria, you should just toss it.

For books that you are ready to donate, check with your local library. Sometimes they hold book sales. It’s also worth checking with your local transfer station. At my local one books are a very easy drop-off.

If you have books to sell, there are online options, but you must sell them one book at a time. The two biggest options are Amazon and eBay. For those near Stamford, CT, I recommend a great book dealer that takes books with resale value in bulk. His name is David Greif of Griffin books.


So now that you have reduced your excess books, organizing suddenly becomes significantly easier. This is because you have worked out where they are going to go. Jerry Seinfeld did a bit on book collections. He said something to the effect of, having a wall of books is like saying “LOOK at all I know!” I’m not sure I buy that from most collections. However, certainly in a lawyer’s office I take some comfort from a wall of legal books.

I’ll share the reasons I keep books, just to give you an idea of how unconventional you can be in your reasons for keeping them.

1. Conventionally, books are made of paper. The ones I read now are mostly digital. So, most of the paper ones I keep fall in the books-for-looks category.
2. The books in my library bookshelf tell a story of my personal history.
3. The books I keep in my home office are more recent. They serve more as a backdrop for videos than anything else. Another unconventional reason.
So, if the reason why is for looks, then sorting by color actually does make sense.

You’re probably seeing beautifully curated books all the time in people’s backgrounds on Zoom calls. Whether your reasons for keeping books are more conventional or unconventional it pays to clarify the why …first.

So that’s it for Decluttering and Organizing Books; I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions below!


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