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Finding Literary Zen:

the Joy of Book Decluttering and Organizing

Written by : Florena Davies

Whether you're an avid reader or not, you know that books tend to accumulate, filling shelves, tabletops, and every nook and cranny of our living spaces. While the love for books is undeniable, it's all too easy for our collections to become overwhelming and chaotic. In this blog, we will explore the art of book decluttering and organizing, uncovering the secrets to creating a serene and functional book-filled environment. Whether you're a bibliophile looking to regain control over your beloved books or someone seeking inspiration to transform your reading space, this is the place for you. Get ready to embark on a journey of decluttering, reimagining, and finding true literary zen.

Let’s first talk about why books pile up. Some of us have high aspirations to read an interesting subject or story. We buy a book and then it sits on a nightstand or end table in our home and eventually you read a few pages and then it sits some more and then goes to the bookshelf. Does this sound like you? Or maybe you buy a book, read it cover to cover and then it goes to the bookshelf, and it never gets read or touched again. What is the point to books taking up valuable space in our home and mind and going untouched for months or even years?

None of us buy a book with the thought of letting it go after reading it, or not reading, which is part of the reason why books have so much emotional and mental attachment. When we bring a book into our lives, it becomes more than just words on pages bound together. A portal to new worlds, a vessel for knowledge, a treasured companion, each book holds the promise of adventure, enlightenment, or pure escapism. We form a personal connection with the stories and characters, and sometimes with the physical object itself. Books become intertwined with our memories and emotions, serving as a comforting presence on our bookshelves, reminding us of the journeys we have embarked upon and the growth we have experienced. This attachment is deeply rooted in our longing for connection, knowledge, and the transformative power of storytelling.

Whatever the reason for you having shelves of books in your space, its time to take charge, let the guilt go and start sorting and decluttering your books. Karen Kingston, author of ‘Clear the clutter with Feng Shui’ says “excessive books can create a stagnant energy and hinder the flow of fresh ideas and possibilities”. Its time to take back your space and allow your energy flow freely again!

Let’s talk about how we can decide let books go or keep them. Gather as many together into a pile as you can handle going through in one sitting. If you find yourself more emotionally attached start off smaller. Don’t overwhelm yourself with high aspirations to get it all done if you struggle with books, the goal is for you to be able to get through the pile and not walk away never to return. As you pick up each book ask yourself “am I really going to read this book” Be honest with yourself.

Remember, having it sit there is taking up space for new creativity and opportunities to come into your life. If the answer is “yes, ill read it” check your local library to see if you could borrow the book instead. Having the book not take up physical and mental space in your home is ideal. Another question to ask yourself is “do I truly need this” some books might not spark joy, but you might reference it for work or personal reasons. Again, if you can own it on a device rather than it is taking up physical space in your home that would be a better route. I also sometimes take pictures of pages I need i.e., a special passage in a book or a recipe I may need and then save the photo to file in my phone or computer. Consider donating the books you choose to let go of to your local library, then if you find you miss one you can loan it easily.

Once you have mindfully chosen which books to keep arrange them back onto the shelf mindfully.

You can’t arrange them via genre, color, or even height. I personally prefer height. Some people even place the books backwards as it is very aesthetically pleasing, however its not quite as logical as then you cant tell which book is which. Whichever way you choose, please do whichever way inspires you the most in your literary journey.

Going forward be very mindful before purchasing books. Ask yourself “is this a book I truly need the physical copy of in my home”. If you can borrow them from the library or friend that is ideal, however Even purchasing book on a kindle or borrowing them on a library app would be preferable to purchasing the physical copies.

Whatever you do, find a balance in your book collection. Only keep the few you truly need and love and spark joy in your world. Happy organizing!

Florena Davies is a Professional Organizer and Owner of Organize by Flo. She helps individuals and families of all kinds achieve their organizational goals and create spaces that reflect their unique needs and lifestyles. Check out her website at and on instagram @organizebyflo.

Melanie McConnell is a Professional Organizer and the owner of Mello Spaces. A former elementary school teacher and a mom of 2 under 2 she helps families get organized. Check out her website and follow her on Instagram: @mellospaces


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