A Bookworm’s Guide to Downsizing A Book Collection

If you’re anything like me, you understand that books aren’t just inanimate objects: they are cherished companions on life’s journey. The classics of childhood evoke memories of days gone by, and the sight of a particular volume can transport you to the very places where you first enjoyed their pages, whether it was in a cozy mountain cabin or a sun-soaked beach. Perhaps you even possess valuable or rare books, or books signed by your favorite authors, with your name etched within.

There’s no denying that books are one of the most difficult things to downsize. They even earn their own chapter in Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. But if you’re moving from a spacious abode with a dozen bookshelves to a more compact and cozy space, decisions must be made. After all, books are heavy, and they take up space. If you have a sizable collection, you could end up with boxes stacked to the ceiling, creating a safety hazard.

Marie Kondo has several good tips for dealing with a book collection:

1. Take an inventory: Start by gathering all your books from shelves, bookcases, and storage areas and placing them in one central location. This allows you to see the full extent of your book collection.

2. Consider your connection: Pick up each book and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, it might be time to let it go.

3. Discard with gratitude: If you decide to part with a book, thank it for the knowledge or enjoyment it brought you and then let it go. You can sell or give away books that no longer spark joy. If you’re working with The Move Makers or a professional organizer, they can help you find a new home for your books.

4. Organize the books you keep: Once you’ve decided which books to keep, it’s important to organize them in a way that’s functional and aesthetically pleasing. Marie Kondo recommends arranging books vertically rather than horizontally, as it’s easier to see and access them.

5. Create a designated home: Give your books a dedicated space where they belong. This could be on bookshelves, in a specific room, or another location that makes sense for you and your living space.

6. Maintain order: Regularly review your book collection to ensure it continues to spark joy and to prevent clutter from building up over time.

If you decide to part with a book, you can take a photograph of it or enter it into a spreadsheet. That way, if you have an urge to read it again, you can always pick up a copy from the library. Whatever your decisions, here’s wishing you many more years of happy reading, with a curated book collection which brings you satisfaction and joy.