Reducing Book and Magazine Clutter

I have loved books all my life and have always been an avid reader. If there is any one thing in my home which may have taken over a few areas, it would be my collection of books and magazines. I know I’m not alone in this, and even in an age where so many choose to use a tablet such as Kindle for their reading pleasure, I still see many homes with overstuffed bookshelves and piles of magazines taking up space on shelves and even on the floor.

As I pondered this morning what to talk about in this month’s newsletter, I found myself looking at my own overstuffed bookshelves; they are nice deep shelves so there’s room for two layers of books, and I use all of that space. Decision made – this is what I’m going to work on next weekend. The great majority of my books are non-fiction and therefore re-readable and able to be delved into for inspiration, which is why I hold onto them. I love fiction but I choose to get those books from the library rather than buying them. I’ve never read a novel a second time.

Here’s my plan:

– Take all of my books off the bookshelves, both from the shelves in my bedroom, and from those in my living area, and gather them all together on my dining table.

– Fortified with a cup of coffee, I’ll then pick up every book and ask myself if I will really read it again. If not, it goes on the floor to be gathered up at the end of the exercise and bagged for donation.

– I already sort my books by genre, such as business, inspirational, languages etc so they’ll go back on the shelves in this order.

– My favourites that I often pick up to re-read or browse through will go back onto the shelves in my bedroom.

– Magazines also need to be culled every now and again; chances are we’re not going to go back to magazines that are much over a couple of years old, unless they are specialised and you know you’ll have occasion to leaf through them again for a specific purpose, such as house and garden magazines and the like. The rule of thumb I use is that if a magazine is over a year old, and I’ve read it thoroughly, then it goes.

While I love to see books in every home and they do provide an interesting window into the home owner’s tastes, when books and magazines cram shelves they can begin to look cluttered and disorganised. It’s no longer possible to approach the shelves and pick out a favourite book without having to sort through various layers, and then there’s the question of where to put any new purchases if there’s no space on the shelves.

If you do decide to create some space on your bookshelves there are many places where you can pass on those books you no longer want to keep, such as charities, church fund raising events and school fairs. It’s not like you have to throw them away, I’ve never thrown away a book but I’m happy to donate them to a worthwhile cause. And you might like to go through the children’s books as well, especially those they have definitely grown out of. Again, you need to make space for new books to be added to their collection as well.

My very best wishes for a wonderful month ahead. I always enjoy feedback on my newsletters so please feel free to comment, or ask for further ideas if you’re stuck and don’t know where to begin your decluttering efforts.

In Joy!

Angella Gilbert

P: 09 410 4166
M: 027 224 8937
E: angella@gioia.net.nz
W: www.gioia.net.nz

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