How to declutter your bookshelf

I know this will sound like blasphemy to some, but decluttering your bookshelf is a perfect way to feel lighter and more free. It also cuts down on the dusting, always a plus! I received a few books for Christmas, and I can’t wait to get to reading them.

But, I noticed my bookshelf is a little full. In all fairness I don’t have a very big bookshelf, but I still don’t need to cram it to the brim. I only want books that I actually enjoy, that I would like to read again.

I did donate loads of our books when we moved back in May 2018, but somehow there seems to be even more appearing on the regular. I’ve designed myself a system to know when I should or shouldn’t keep a book.

Declutter your bookshelf

Create piles

I like to take every single one of my books off of the shelf, have one big pile and go from there. It forces me to hold each and every one – very Kon Mari, I know – and I actually think about each book doing it this way.

To separate each book into a pile, I ask myself a few simple questions.

Do I 100% love this book?

Will I actually read it again?

If I can say with 100% certainty that I absolutely love the book, and will definitely read it again, then it goes back up on the shelf. If not, I put it to the side in a separate pile. I go through all my books in this way, until there’s nothing left in the original pile I started out with.

All the books that are then left in the second pile, go through another round of separating into piles. None of my books get thrown away, so they all need to find a home.

Do I know anyone who would like this books?

Ask friends and family if there are any they would like.

I do this first, as I’m more than happy to gift someone a book and I would prefer them to go to someone who wants them first. I have to say not very many people do take a book, simply because a lot of people have moved to e-readers and screens. I’ll never give up holding a book or the smell though!

The books that aren’t given away to friends and family are then put in a box for donating. There are a few ways to do this though, so if I’m feeling particularly productive I’ll then separate again into two piles.

Charity Shop

Here I donate any books aimed at adults rather than children. I’ll also take fiction books and so on, basically anything that schools don’t want.


Some schools will gladly accept donated books for their library. Things like the National Geographic magazine, biographies, really anything educational and that would benefit the children they’re normally quite happy to accept.

Call around your local schools and see if they accept books or educational magazines. at least one or two should accept them.


The books you have left on your shelf are now only the books that you want to read again and love 100%. Time to show them off! There are a few options of how you can organize your books, but my favourite tens to be colour coordinated or by series.

Colour coordinated

I love seeing the bookshelf organized this way. It looks especially good if you have a multitude of colourful books, and makes it a statement in the room too. It’s a lovely way of showcasing your prized books, and adding to your books only makes it more colourful – as long as you love the book and will read it again!

By author

I’ve known a few people do this, especially when they have a favourite author or two and have a lot of their books if not all. I’m not very good with names, so I never know a book if someone says “by so and so”. I will have absolutely no idea what book it is unless I know the title and the front cover. I do have to say it looks really pleasing to see the same print repeated across a whole shelf though!


Perfect if you have a bigger than average bookcase! It’s super easy to find the book you want, and easy to find where to put a new book too. Although I don’t know if you then organize all books with “The” in under T or under the letter of the next word?

By genre

Again, if you have a bookcase that is a little bigger than usual, and have a multitude of genre’s, this is a great way to organize your books. If you are one of those people who know what kind of book you want to read, rather than by a certain person, it’s easy to know exactly where to look.


Some people will love just the books on their own on their bookshelves, or only have room for the books. Others, like me, will like having an ornament or two in front of the books. It’s all a matter of taste.

I leave little ornaments or figurine’s in front of my books, or “memorabilia” from the franchise if it’s been turned into a film. For example, B has a lot of Doctor Who books, so I’ve put the Tardis and one or two of the model Sonic Screwdrivers in front of those books.

I’ve also seen people put Pop Vinyls in front of their books relating to the series, which I think looks really cute. Other’s put other, “random” objects in front of them, because they compliment the books or look good next to them.

And there you have it. If you are thinking about decluttering your bookshelf those are my tips and the process I follow to declutter my own books. Tag me on Instagram if you declutter yours!


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One thought on “How to declutter your bookshelf

  1. I have so many books that I have never been able to get rid of them, but I know I need to. These are really good ideas. I really like your blog by the way 👌

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