Bookish Thought: Shelf Cleaning Pt. 2

Bookish Thought is a type of discussion post where I talk about anything book related and of course leave it open for you all to respond :)

Last week’s Bookish Thought post was all about Shelf Cleaning and the reasons why I find myself in the situation of needing to some cleaning/ decluttering of my bookshelf.

Which I am still definitely procrastinating on.

Some of you added to the discussion about your own thoughts and what you do when you decide to go through your books. Most commented regarding how they decide which books no longer have a home on their personal shelf.

And that’s mostly what this Shelf Cleaning, Part Two is about: how do you go about the process of decluttering your bookshelf and how do you decide which books to donate, etc.

I just discovered that Barnes and Noble has a blog (I believe) called B&N Reads and within that they have a series called The Book Nerd’s Guide to Life. I found this really cool post, The Book Nerd’s Guide to Cleaning Out Your Bookshelves that outlines some of the questions you should ask yourself when deciding whether to keep a book or not. 

Ask Yourself …

Do I Ever Intend to Reread This Book?

B&N’s Guide points out that it’s important not to lie to yourself when answering this question. And I agree. It’s okay to hold onto it for sentimental or other related reasons and that may mean you might not ever reread the book, but I’m thinking that there shouldn’t be too many books in that category.

But you know yourself and your time constraints. Acknowledge them.


Am I Keeping This Book on the Shelf to Say Something About Myself?

Sure, sometimes we want someone to see that we read a variety or yes I’ve read that classic novel. And more than once!

No judging, if you do that, cool. But when it comes to space, some of those you might want to rethink keeping if there are other titles that you would prefer having on your shelf. I will admit that I have several classic novels sitting on my shelves because I like that it shows that I’ve read thought-provoking novels in addition to more just-for-fun novels. But I’ve read all of them and some of them more than once. (Can’t say that I’ll get around to rereading Anna Karenina though, no matter how much I enjoyed it.)

Was This Book Part of a Phase, and Am I Still in That Phase?

I have several two several Paranormal and Urban fantasy series I started reading while in high school and loved, but once in college, couldn’t keep up. In any case, I found my reading genres and habits greatly broadening. I already donated two of these series, but will probably donate the rest since I’m not sure if I’ll ever get back into them.

Just like pants, you can outgrow a novel … You just wake up one day and realize you don’t want to name your first child Holden anymore. You’re allowed to move on, and you’re allowed to let the book find love with a new owner.

This is definitely how I will think of donating or selling books – I’m simply passing on a book or books that I once loved on to a new owner who can love those pages just as much.

Am I Saving This Book in the Hopes of Re-Gifting It?

I’ve never done this, so I don’t have a special pile of ‘maybe I’ll gift or re-gift’. But I imagine if they’ve been sitting around for a long time, it’s probably high time to simply donate the book(s).

There are a couple of other questions that the posts asks, but the ones above I think are a good start. However, BookRiot also has a post, Spring Cleaning (and organizing!) Your Bookshelves, that went a little more in depth for the process of decluttering your bookshelf.

I liked that initially you should just do a quick passover of books and see what your gut and natural reaction is to whether you keep a book or not. From there you create four piles of books: To SellTo Donate, Give Away, and To Return. I would only have three piles I have not borrowed any books that need to be returned. I also haven’t thought about giving away books besides donating them.

From this, to decide what books to keep and what books to get rid of, the post outlines some helpful starting points.

Get Rid of Books That:

  • You have read but which you don’t like.
  • You read but which you know you won’t read again.
  • You know you’ll never read.
  • That have bad memories tied to them or just make you unhappy to have around

Keep Books That:

  • You read and loved and will read again.
  • You read and liked.
  • That have special memories tied to them.
  • That are pretty and that you want for decoration.
  • You know you will want to loan out.
  • That felt like an accomplishment to read.
  • That were given to you by friends.
  • That were written by friends.
  • You just don’t want to get rid of.

The point here isn’t to clear out shelves for the sake of clearing out shelves, but to make the books you want easier to find and make room for new books.

I will definitely be taking these two articles’ advice when I’m decluttering my bookshelves. What I am afraid of is that once I have more room, I’ll buy more books and find myself in the situation that I’m in currently. Too many books and not enough space.

So what do you think of these processes?

P.S. Here is a funny post from Bustle about The 7 Emotional Stages of Cleaning Your Bookshelf

Happy Reading (& decluttering)!

XO Nicole



2 thoughts on “Bookish Thought: Shelf Cleaning Pt. 2

  1. I loved reading this post! It’s really good to think about before I start organizing, or potentially collecting more books than I can handle. I totally agree with you that more shelf space means more potential for new books, and my book hoarding is pretty serious. P.S. I think I would totally still name my first child Holden.

    Liked by 1 person

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