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How To Declutter Bookcases & Bookshelves

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Today's mission is to declutter bookcases and bookshelves throughout your home, of books or whatever else you have stored on them.


Organize Books Challenge
This mission is designed to be done while working on the Organize Books Challenge here on the site, which is one of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenges.

Of course, this task can be done at any time, whenever you feel it is necessary in your home.

We've been working on decluttering books here on the site for a few days, and several days of the Declutter 365 missions are devoted to this task.

Yesterday I provided you with 5 questions to ask yourself when decluttering books to help you identify which books you should keep versus those to get rid of.

You should use those questions again today when dealing with shelves and bookcases.

How to #declutter bookcases and bookshelves in your home, of both books and other items {on Home Storage Solutions 101} #Decluttering #BookOrganizationuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
Depending on the number of bookcases you've got (I know in our house we've got a lot of them!) this task will take you more than 15 minutes. That's OK!

Instead, do this task one shelf at a time, 15 minutes at a time, and keep going, stopping when necessary and restarting when you can, until you go through all your shelves.

The key is to focus on only one shelf at a time. If necessary, you can also do one pass through your bookcases and then after removing some of the books, if you still need to
get rid of more, you can do another decluttering pass through them.

Keep only the amount of books that will fit comfortably on your shelves, with a little bit of room to add or remove books easily. Don't leave stacks of books without a home, that won't fit on the shelves. Either you'll need to find a different place to store those books, or have less books total.

In addition, I'm assuming that most of the items on your bookshelves or bookcases are, in fact, books. However, I do realize that you may have decorative items, or other items you want to display.

If that's the case, make sure to spend time focusing on these items as well, deciding what you'll keep versus get rid of. Remember, these are the types of items you have to dust, a lot, so if you don't want to dust it, perhaps it's not worth you keeping!

Also, as you clear off your bookshelves, at least temporarily while working on this mission, it's a good opportunity to dust the shelves well, and perhaps the outsides of the books themselves, to keep everything in good condition.

Scroll below for some photos from readers who've already done this mission to give you some inspiration, and get you motivated to tackle this task for yourself.

Top photo in mission collage courtesy of Nina Hale, and the bottom photo courtesy of a reader, Wanda

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Before & After Of Bookshelf Decluttering Project

Before

Before

Stephanie sent in these photos of her recent book decluttering project.

She had more books than would fit on her bookshelf, and winnowed it down to a smaller number so everything fit onto the shelves and also straightened up the books.

It looks great Stephanie!

Before and after of bookshelf #decluttering project, to get rid of book clutter and other types of items from your shelves and bookcases {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101} #ClutterControl #Declutter365use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Below is another set of photos, from a reader, Thelma, who also worked on this mission. She did a great job too!

Before and after photos of decluttered bookcase {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101} #Declutter365 #ClutterControl #Declutteruse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

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Are You Ready To Get Rid Of Your Bookcase Clutter?

This mission can make a real difference in your home. Here's a couple more photos sent in by readers, to show you what they accomplished.

Decluttered and organized bookshelf shown by a reader, Kathryn {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}


The photo above is from a reader, Kathryn. She said, "Bookshelf in our family room, but our family room doubles as our home office. Not terribly beautiful and definitely not magazine material but it works for us."

I think it looks great Kathryn! You can get more ideas for organizing your home office here.

Decluttered and organized home library shown by a reader, Aileen {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}


This photo was sent in by Aileen. She said, "I have been putting off this job for months! It seemed like the shelves were overflowing (they are always overflowing) and I needed to create an office study space for my husband who had been using the guest room, so he gave me a nudge with great finality, and I did it! I gave my husband a cubicle for his stationery and moved a study table in for him to use. Books are neatened up, had to double up some rows of books to make room, but they are pretty organized by category and theme, so I feel I did a pretty good job, even if I say so myself. And it took only about an hour to do it all.

Great job Aileen! You did a wonderful job!

Want To Do More Decluttering Missions? Get Started With Declutter 365 Today!

Declutter 365 missions: 15 minute missions for your entire home

Once you declutter one type of item in your home I bet you'll want to declutter some more. After all, decluttering gives you a great reward for even a small investment of time and energy.

The Declutter 365 system is designed to help you declutter, over the course of a year, your entire house, with just 15 minutes of decluttering each day!

Hundreds of thousands of people use this proven system to get rid of their clutter, and bring peace and calm back to their homes.

Declutter 365 works to guide you to clear the clutter without overwhelm, focusing on just one small area at a time, and without making a huge mess in the process, so you see consistent forward progress without all that "messy middle" that makes it even harder to function in your home than before you started.

In addition to building a daily decluttering habit, the Declutter 365 program, along with the accompanying 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, teaches you the skills, habits, routines, and mindsets necessary to maintain the clutter free and organized state of your home from now on, so it'll never be as messy and cluttered as it is right now, ever again.

If you haven't already, make sure to get your copy of this year's Declutter 365 annual calendar here (it's FREE!), find today's date, and do 15 minutes of decluttering on the day's mission. Then, repeat again tomorrow, and again and again. Over the course of the next year, if you do this 15 minutes per day, you'll declutter your whole house!


Click here to take me to this year's Declutter 365 calendar



Related Pages You May Enjoy

Getting Clutter Free 15 Minutes At A Time Hall Of Fame

Getting Rid Of Media & Entertainment Clutter Hall Of Fame

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Comments for Are You Ready To Get Rid Of Your Bookcase Clutter?

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What to do with them?
by: June

I am downsizing and need to get rid of books collected from deceased relatives, etc. Some of them are antique. It is easy to say get rid of them but how? I don't want to throw good books away. Many thrift shops will not take them. They do not sell well at garage sales, etc.

Response to June re what to do with them
by: Taylor

Hi June, that's a great question. I've got more information on the site with ideas of what to do with the books you've decided to part with. This includes ideas for places to sell used books and places to donate used books.

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