Cleaning Out Your Shelves – Guilt Free!

Some of us are absolute hoarders when it comes to books and all things bookish. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve come incredibly close to having to stack my books on the floor because they simply couldn’t fit on my shelves anymore. Not to mention my shelves were also full with little trinkets that had no business being there.

Cleaning out shelves can be quite the ordeal. I used to get attached to EVERYTHING, not just books, and my room was a mess. There was stuff everywhere, some of it dating to elementary school. Like, hello, I’m 25! Still, getting rid of books is extra tough, because you read and loved them so much. So here are some tips on cleaning out your shelves, guilt free.

Take out the books you didn’t enjoy

This one is easy. They might look good on your shelves, but books that you didn’t enjoy have no business being in your house. I used to keep books like that around for Bookstagram purposes, until I realized that’s not why I started a Bookstagram. I don’t want to take pictures of just pretty books, I want to promote what I like to read! So first step: take out the books you didn’t like.

Take out books that aren’t relevant to you anymore

Headline is kind of vague, but English is hard. What I mean is, sometimes you keep books that mean a lot to you, but are from ages and ages ago. Like your childhood books. I am absolutely not saying you should just throw them out, but it makes sense to keep them on a separate shelf. If you realize they don’t mean that much to you anyway, put them with the “did not likes.”

This also means getting rid of books you’re never going to read. Be honest with yourself. I had 30+ classics on my shelves for years, and the only one I’ve ever read was Frankenstein…. for class! Not having read classics doesn’t make me less of a reader, so I really don’t have to keep them for appearance’s sake.

Have a system

There are so many ways in which to organize a bookcase, but haphazardly throwing in books will make your shelves look very chaotic. I personally organize my books by height and format, going from my tallest hardcovers to my smallest paperbacks. I have over 300 books and know what each one looks like, so finding a book has never been an issue for me. Additionally, I like having all my books lined up at the front of my shelves.

Also, don’t listen to what the haters say: you can totally order your books by color. Make that rainbow!

Sort through your trinkets

When cleaning your shelves, always go through your trinkets too. I love having some bookish items on my shelves, but there was a time where I had more junk on my shelves than books. It made it all look very chaotic and unorganized. I like keeping my bookish items together with the books they’re based on. So I have all of my ACOTAR and TOG candles with those books. My character cards don’t even get to go on my shelves; I have an empty wall for that (well, it’s not so empty anymore now, oops).

But where does the guilt free part come in again?

I don’t know about you guys, but one of the big reasons why I feel bad getting rid of stuff is because I don’t want my stuff to end in a landfill. Especially if whatever I’m cleaning out is clean, still works, looks like new, et cetera. The answer is selling and donating of course! Selling is nice because, duh, money. But honestly, I’m too lazy to take pictures, come up with a price, and then actually send the books out… So my books just end up going to thrift stores or friends. It’s nice to know that you organized your shelves a bit more, but your books won’t end up in the trash. They’ll get a new home, and someone will love them!

Moving a couple of times has forced me to become better at organizing my stuff, and keeping only what I really need or want to keep. I recently god rid of 50+ books, because honestly, I didn’t like them as much, they didn’t much to me anymore, or I wasn’t planning on ever reading them anyway.

What are your tips on keeping your shelves neat and organized?

Check out my related post on decluttering your room as well!

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