Whether you have just a few books or your collection rivals the Library of Congress organizing and taking care of your books is important so they are easy to find and easy to use. First take inventory of your collection. Only keep your favorites or books you have yet to read. If you don’t enjoy reading or do not make time to read then maybe you can reduce your collection significantly. Space in most homes is limited so only make room for the items you love and need. Arrange books in logical groupings that work for you and your family – color, theme, title, audience, etc. Keep children’s books at their eye level and they will be more likely to read.
Remove any bookmarks, paperclips, etc from the inside of the books before placing the books on a shelf or a box/bin for storage. Storing books with paper clips, for example, can damage the pages and the integrity of the spine. Neatly write or use a label maker to label the inside covers of each book with your name. This way if you loan the book to a friend you will be more likely to get it back. Dust books regularly with a dry, clean cloth – never use a wet or damp rag to clean books.
To recycle books that are in poor condition remove the hardcover spines first. There are many resources to sell or donate used books. Here are a few:
- Books For Soldiers
- International Book Project
- Local school district/daycare/etc.
- Local Library – call or visit your local library to learn what their donation guidelines are. Some libraries will accept any books, regardless of the condition because they earn money for recycling the books they don’t use or can’t sell. This is a great way the libraries earn financial support! Other libraries are not a part of such programs and have strict donation guidelines. If your library does not accept donations – call a nearby county/town and you may have luck. That’s what I did in Maryland – I drove 15 minutes further but the books were no longer clutter collecting dust and instead they became a resource at the library!
- Used bookstore – this is a great option if you don’t want to resell your books online
- Half.com by eBay
If you don’t love the book, don’t plan to read or the book is in bad shape then let it go. Recycle it, donate it or sell it. Keep the books you love and make time to enjoy them! Happy organizing and happy reading!