You’re here because you love to read, and you probably have the books to prove it. If you’re lucky enough to have a nicely appointed library area as part of your décor, great; but if your kitchen table, counters, and coffee table are regularly piled with books, you’re probably dying to get your thirst for knowledge in order. Reading materials take up a lot of physical and mental square footage. Piles of publications become a hindrance rather than a pastime. Don’t let books take over your world—be a bookworm boss!
What would your perfect reading nook look like? Maybe it’s a comfy chair next to a bookshelf, or a small selection of favorite works on the nightstand. With that in mind, begin a literary detoxification process. Choose what you want to read; don’t read out of obligation. If you don’t like a book, don’t finish it, no matter who wants you to read it! Be honest with your word-consuming self, and organize your reading collection to free up your space, time, and mind while saving money at the same time.
“But there are so many books I want to read,” you say? Then make a list of books you want to get to. Those pages of pleasure may look intriguing on the New York Times bestseller list, but curb the impulse to buy right away. Making a list gives you a chance to consider if it’s something you’re really interested in reading now, or if you are just buying it because it’s today’s bestseller. Other ways to downsize and maintain a compact compilation of selective reading materials include:
By going through your books, only keeping perennial favorites (the ones you love to read or lend over and over) and being a conscientious book buyer moving forward, you’ll be able to get through all your unread books, share knowledge with the local community, and be in charge of your storyline—and your athenaeum (look it up!).
- Gather your books. Clear a space on your bed, dining room table, or floor. Bring all books to an unobstructed surface.
- Categorize. Group your books by coffee table, fiction, non-fiction, textbooks, cookbooks, business, etc. Review each book and ask yourself, “Am I going to read, reread, or reference this?” Create a pile of “no’s” and donate them to a local school, library, or thrift store.
- Make space. With the books you have left, pick an easy-to-access location such as a bookcase, and shelve the books vertically, by category, from tall to short. If you want to make a more chic library, pile a few books on top of each other (wedding cake style) from large on bottom to small on top, and place a beloved knickknack on top (knickknacks also act as great bookends). Take time to ensure adequate seating and lighting if you are creating a dedicated reading area.