I love books – reading takes you to places you may never go, you can imagine and create new worlds, and be inspired to make life changes – all at the turn of a page.
But books take up room!
Here are my tops ideas to help save space, and get your books organised once and for all!
Firstly – what books should I keep?
Its very tempting to keep every book you read, and this is often the case for most households. We don’t really think about whether we want to keep them, its just a case of they are now our books, and we need to find space.
My main bug bear with books is that mostly we only read them once – so why keep them?!
The exception to this are reference books, books you need for study/work, childrens books if you are planning on having more kids, and any sentimental books or books that you come back to again and again.
If books don’t fit into one of those categories, then frankly – you could take them out of your home and be no worse off!
Where can I get rid of unwanted books?
There are loads of places that you can take books that you have decided to take out of your home – and here are just a few ideas:-
- Pass on to friends who you think would like them
- Sell on Ebay or Amazon – Books can sell quite well online at auction sites such as ebay – consider grouping books into authors or genres as collections may sell better and are easier to sell as you have less items to list.
- Donate to Charity (there are several book specific charity shops in the country who would be only too pleased to receive them!)
- I can’t remember what the scheme or movement is (let me know if you have heard of it! – I have had a quick look and found this website which looks promising! http://www.bookcrossing.com/) – There is a lovely idea that I remember reading about, of simply leaving the book you are reading in a public place – with a note on to say that whoever finds it should read it and pass it on – its a lovely sentiment and I would love to hear about anyone who has actually done this – and whether it works – but what a lovely surprise to find a book on a bus with a note saying keep me for a while!
Always ask yourself if you can get the information easily from elsewhere (internet for example), whether you really will read them again, how long ago you last read it or looked at it, and whether it is indeed relevant to your life any longer – these will help you make the decisions you need to sort through them all.
Now, where should I store books I want to keep?
- Bookcases – The most common way of storing books – you can create a specific area in your home to store all books – and have them stored by genre, size, colour, or any way that helps you to get to what you want as and when you need it – you can also put bookcases together to create a library effect which can be a stunning way of storing a large quantity of books. TIPS – break up the expanse of books by leaving some gaps for either bank space or for ornaments etc… as this can look really good, and also think about pulling the books to the front of the shelves so that they all line up – again more visually appealing.
- Shelves – Shelves can be a more random way of displaying books – and can be put up at any height so you can get a really bespoke look. They are great for adding over other furniture (what about over the back of a sofa?!) and are also a great way to display books that mean a lot to you, that are used a lot, or look good as display items.
- Draws – You can buy some stunning chests of drawers that would look great in any room as a sideboard (giving you a shelf on top as well!), and hiding books away with their spines pointing upwards for ease of seeing what you have and also for getting them out, works really well – and is great for those people who don’t want to see their books everyday, or that don’t like to dust them all on open shelves!
- Coffee tables – there is a part of me that doesn’t want to suggest this – but the interior designer in me loves this look so here goes! Coffee tables can look very bare when empty, and a great look is to have one or two gorgeous books on display there. You could have them on a shelf underneath the main table (which will also hopefully keep that shelf free from clutter!), or placed under glass for complete display purposes.
- For older books and precious ones – you will want to keep them out of direct sunlight so as not to ruin them – and you may also want to get them valued to ensure you know what you are dealing with!
- Keep books in the correct room – too many in a living room can make it feel cluttered. Childrens books in their rooms, recipe books in the kitchen, work related books in the study etc…
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Other great tips for organising books
- If you read a lot, consider writing a lost of books you have read, with their authors and a ranking (a notepad or on the computer would work well), then you will know easily what authors you have enjoyed, wasting less time on books you probably won’t! (and saving time looking!)
- Instead of buying books, why not join a library – you can enjoy loads of books but not have the costs or storage issues to contend with. TIP – If you do borrow books, ensure that you add the due back date to your diary and a reminder a few days before so that you don’t forget and incur late fees.
- For books you own, consider marking them in some way – or even naming it inside – ONLY IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO KEEP THEM! – then you will easily be able to lend them out (you could also keep a note of books you have lent out in your notepad!)
- Books make great gifts – and you can personalise them by writing a note inside the cover. A great idea is buying a set of books and giving them one at a time for birthday presents so that the owner will be building up the collection over the years (great for godparents for example)
- Just as with filing, if you have many books, and you really love them or need to keep them, then you need a good way of accessing them easily. Think about the way you work best, and store them accordingly – maybe by author, title, A to Z, genre, size etc…
- Lastly – but definitely not least – why not consider buying a Kindle or equivalent – taking away the need for so many hard copies of books will completely free up your life! Some people don’t like the idea of not turning pages, but you could still buy a few precious books in hard copy – its just that for many books its so much easier to read in this new, much more modern way. The thing that really sells me on this is when you go away on holiday – your travel bag will be so much lighter without the weight of your holiday reading list!
So – think about what you want to keep books for, and try and find new ways of accessing them without having the hassles of storing them or cleaning them. When you have finished, share them with others, and make the most of all those books out there still to read!