Project Organize :: Organizing Your Books.

by KATIE JOHNSON of Crossing Georgia

I used to keep every book I’d ever owned. I loved displaying them all on bookshelves throughout my house. What I didn’t love was moving and storing them. I never had enough bookshelves and there were always books in boxes somewhere in my house. Usually when I was looking for a book, it would end up being in a box somewhere. Then, one of my friends brought over a couple of books and asked if I wanted them. I said, “You mean to borrow?” “No,” she said, “I don’t keep books; I just read them and pass them on.” I was blown away. But over the next couple days I starting thinking about how all my books had really become more of a stress than a joy in my life, and I realized that she was on to something. I did a major overhaul and got rid about half of my books and it feels great! Most of the books I got rid of had not had a second look once they were initially shelved. I love the idea of passing books on for others to enjoy instead of hording them to collect dust in my house.

Carlee gives these great tips on how to decide whether or not to keep a book:

Carefully go through your books. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Is this a book I will ever read again?
2. Do I love this book?
3. Is this a book I want to pass on to a friend?
4. Do I have the room for this book?
5. What do I benefit from keeping this book?
6. Is this a book I can get from the Library if I want to read it again?
7. If this is a type of reference book, is the same information available on the internet?

If you have a large amount of books, you can check your local charities, libraries {so many libraries right now have budget cuts, it's a good place to start}, schools, etc. to donate. Here are a few more places to start:


After you've done that, make your piles: The books you want to keep; the books you want to pass on; and the books you will donate.

Once you have purged your bookshelves, Caitlin Wilson, author of design blog Style Files, gives this tip:

“Display essentials in a stylish way. Face it, bookshelves are supposed to be functional (I have to remind myself of this) so display books and other items in a creative way. Coordinate your books by color, cover them with pretty papers or fabrics, or even turn them backwards so you can see the pages! Put your pens or colored pencils in a clear glass vase, stack your bowls next to some books, and use frames and fun accessories as bookends. Even necessities can look good!”

I love this bookshelf. Not only did they make it interesting and beautiful with the picture frames and accessories, the wall behind the shelves is painted yellow, which gives it a great pop of color!


  1. I used to cling to all my books too. Recently, I did what you just did and organized into keep, give to friends, and donate piles. I sent out an email to my group of friends the day before a party I knew they'd all be attending, listing all the books i was giving out. They each signed up for a book, and I brought the big bag over to the party. They loved it and I cleared off my shelves!

  2. This is just what I needed to read. Tomorrow I'm going to tackle all of my books. I have no more room and yet I love to read.


  3. I think these are great ideas, but they are ones I will probably never use. I, too, love books, and I love them as decoration almost as much as I love to read them. I grew up in a house that had a large bookshelf in every bedroom, in the living room, the playroom, and a couple in the den. I hope to have a library myself one day, and I'm off to a pretty good start--the living room of our one-bedroom apt is graced with two large, full bookshelves. I love it.

    I think it is a good idea to get rid of books you didn't like or don't want your kids to read, though.

  4. I love the bookshelf with the bit of yellow peeking out from behind the books! I usually keep all of my books, too... I'll have to think about this one!


Thank you for reading! I love hearing what you have to say and appreciate your comments.