Is It Time For a Clear Out?

Is It Time For a Clear Out?

When it comes to decluttering, do your books get a free pass? Do you have a strict one-in, one-out policy for everything other than books? Then may we tactfully suggest it might be time for a cull?

We invest our books with so much meaning the idea of letting them go can provoke strong feelings. But clutter is just stuff we accumulate that we’re not using and don’t want to get rid of, and that includes books.

Shelves two layers deep with more stacked horizontally on top might make you feel like a book loving intellectual but do they actually invite you to pick one and settle down to read?

Having too many books can take something vital from their essence. They become a kind of mausoleum rather than living things full of ideas for you to interact with. At worst, they’re a constant reminder of your overwhelming to-be-read pile. Is it any wonder you’d rather browse a calm and beautifully organised bookshop than try and find something to read on your own overstuffed shelves?

You can be a book lover and still let books go. In fact, it can be just what you need to invigorate your read. Start by getting them all into one place. Look at each book in turn, dust it, flick open its pages, think about why you have it. Start with the easy wins. Make a pile for ‘absolute must-keeps’ and a pile for ‘can definitely go’.

The harder ones lie in the middle. Books you’ve enjoyed but don’t hold any special meaning. It’s tempting to keep them as evidence of your reading credentials but wouldn’t it feel better to let someone else read them? And books you haven’t read. What to do with those? If they’re likely to remain unread, give them away and make space for books you actually want to read.

Get the ones you’re letting go out of the house straight away, clean down your shelves and put the keepers back. Crucially, put those unread books on a shelf of their own, front and centre. You could even lay out a few on a side table, ready to tempt you next time you sit down with a cup of tea. Now stand back and admire your beautifully organised books. Hell, you might even feel like reading one!

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