Part 2 – A De-cluttered Library

The weekend has rolled around and it’s cleaning time for me. So after my cuppa coffee was enjoyed, the micro-fibre rags and the wool duster made their appearance. As I tackled the book shelves (always first for some reason), I was reminded of the Good Housekeeping January 2013 magazine’s de-cluttering advice for “ardent book keepers” (I definitely fit this description).

They gave four tips for de-cluttering  the ‘shelves” in your home. Again I will use their headings and include my own experience / advice…

  1. Rule of Three –  Their advice: “Restrict non-book items to a maximum of three per shelf. Their sizes and shapes can vary, but relate the pieces by color or theme – say ceramic vases in shades of cream.” I agree with the concept of relating items by theme, but don’t think you have to stick with three. It depends on size, amount of non-book space on the shelf, and the theme. I often cluster glass vases (and usually more than three) but would rarely mix glass and ceramic. Quantity is not the issue but having a visual connection is more important. Too many unrelated items together just looks like you are a hoarder and couldn’t find space for everything. Even an eclectic collection of art or artifacts should have a visual centre or attraction – like the main person speaking on a stage. The rest are “supporting pieces” in the arrangement. Too many of a same color or monochromatic themes can also be boring unless the eye is drawn to a particular piece. Don’t disseminate or spread things around on shelves. Always group them. (It makes the dusting easier too.)
  2. Lighten Your Library – They are asking me to selective with this advice: “You don’t want to hang on to every tome you have ever read, just those that had an impact on your life.” Then they suggest that I can discard some or get them on an e-reader. Sacrilege! Some of my books have travelled across Canada and to Australia and back with me. They have not only impacted on my life – they ARE my life. To discard is not in the equation. They can go to the used book store when I can no longer read or pick them up and reminisce. I have learned instead the art of creative piling and double-shelving so that my book shelves feel like an expression of my creativity instead of a mess. I do as they suggest however try to leave about 10% shelf space book-free – to break up the uniformity. And I do try to cull instead of buying more shelves. Occasionally however a small pile adds creativity to my floor space – without looking too cluttered of course. Guess I just don’t consider books to be “clutter” – no matter where they are located. Other stuff maybe – but not “books”!
  3. AutoFocus – “For a cohesive look, display groups of photos in similar frames – match the hues or the materials.” I am glad that I agree with this sentiment 100%. We didn’t need another tirade like the one on books ;o)
  4. Toy Story – “To encourage neatness – keep kids’ playthings in lightweight bins on alow shelf – and point out to tykes how easy it is to tuck them away without any aid from adults.” This is a great idea for anyone who has children. It also works for collectors or hobbyists who like to leave their belongings or crafts lying around. While baskets work great because they are decorative, one of my favorite choices for bins was at a friend`s home where they used wooden wine boxes to organize the kids toys. It was also a decorative statement.

Well back to the dusting. The wool duster will get a work-out on all of my books (which are not clutter

How do you handle your books. How do you feel about your books.

Tell us how you group items on your shelves.



About Judi B

Writer & Photographer
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3 Responses to Part 2 – A De-cluttered Library

  1. For amusement lately I counted all the books in my house and there were almost 1800. Definitely not clutter 🙂

    • Thanx for sharing that number with us. It caused me to rush off and count mine since I take so much grief about my books which I love to call “my research”. I only have 458 at present but I know that throughout the years there have been many more. These are the ones that have “survived” a move to Australia and back, and also a few years in storage while I lived full-time travelling in an RV. So I still consider them “essential” to my life and hardly the subject of de-cluttering.
      So I am very happy that you do not consider your 1800 books in the category of “clutter” either.

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