Marketplace, a show produced by American Public Media that runs on many National Public Radio stations, reported earlier this week that “Hardback books are still thriving.” Apparently, even though sales of electronic books have skyrocketed in the past 12 months, so have purchases of hardcover books in both the U.S. and U.K.
If you’re a hardcover book buyer, you may be finding yourself knee deep in books and looking for some organizing solutions. Here are my tips for some rules to apply to your bookshelves to keep them clutter free and organized from my book Unclutter Your Life in One Week (which, happily, is now available in paperback and on Amazon for just $8.33):
- Give away any books that you don’t plan on reading or referencing again, are in the public domain, and can be found in their entirety online.
- Keep the leather-bound copy of The Scarlet Letter that your grandmother gave you on her deathbed.
- Give away or recycle out-of-date reference books. They’re full of inaccurate data.
- Keep books that you love and books that provide you with significant utility.
- Give away books that you’ve been storing for the sole purpose of impressing your houseguests. If you’ve never read the complete works of Shakespeare, and you never plant to read the complete works of Shakespeare, get rid of the complete works of Shakespeare.
Once you have purged all of the books from your home that don’t meet these guidelines, think about organizing your books in a way that makes the greatest sense to you: Invent your own cataloging system, use the Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress method, alphabetize by author last name, or loosely cluster them by subject. Since the books that are left in your collection are ones that you have use for or derive information from, you should be able to find them on your shelves when you need them.
How do you keep your bookshelves under control and organized? Share your methods in the comments.