DIY : A Book Lover’s Guide to Spring Cleaning Your Bookshelves

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<div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size:15px"><span style="font-family:merriweather,georgia,times new roman,serif">- <em>Did you love it? Do you not think you'll reread it?.</em> Gently place it in the goodbye pile.<br>
<br> - <em>Did you hate it?</em> WHY DO YOU STILL HAVE IT, THROW IT IN THAT GOODBYE PILE NOW.</span></span></div>
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The second pile is usually the harder one. This is where I start asking myself some questions, like “What does ‘eventually’ really mean?” If you’ve had a book for years and only kind of like the idea of it, and always pick up another book over that one — toss it. Something I like to do is pretend I’m moving and only have a few suitcases. Is this five-year-old copy of a book you only read the first 30 pages of really worth the overweight baggage fee?

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<div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size:15px"><span style="font-family:merriweather,georgia,times new roman,serif">- Be ruthless here, this is the moment that you will thank yourself for later when you feel calm instead of anxious when looking at your shelves.</span></span></div>
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Source: Heather Zerah Interiors
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<span style="font-size:15px"><strong><span style="font-family:merriweather sans,helvetica neue,helvetica,arial,sans-serif">On Organizing Your Books...</span></strong><br>
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<span style="font-family:merriweather,georgia,times new roman,serif">Now before we get to the painful moment of dealing with pile three, let's start getting your beloved books back on the shelves. This is the moment where you have a lot of different options: color coding, alphabetizing, organizing by genre...it's all at your disposal. What I can say is that if you have to reference your books a lot, by genre is definitely best. There are many times when I'm on the phone with a writer and want to reference a humorous memoir, but I have to do it quickly or else leave them sitting on the phone in silence. Luckily I have a whole section of memoirs, and I've even grouped the humorous ones together within the section. If I were really OCD and had a lot of time on my hands I might go alpha by author within the genre section, but that's for another day.</span></span>
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The donation pile at Hachette a few years ago. Yes, I climbed on top of it and pretended to read. © Lauren Taylor Shute Editorial

Pile Three: Don’t Toss, Donate

I know, the idea of getting rid of books just seems heartbreaking, but think of it less like “getting rid” and more like “passing it on.” Here’s where you make even more piles. Find the books that you know some of your friends would like, or your family. Maybe the book you hated is exactly the type of book your coworker loves.

Are the shelves at your local library looking a little sparse? Give your books a second life by donating them. Or, sell them, and buy some beautiful statement pieces that draw the eyes toward your newly organized shelves.

Okay, but what if you have ARCs and galleys — those definitely can’t be sold, and while some libraries take donations for summer programs and giveaways, not all of them do (it’s always good to ask, though!). Pass them on to a local school — their teachers are almost always underfunded and looking for new materials. Or, send them to a prison. Prisons are trying to implement literacy and education programs, but they don’t have much funding either. They’ll take the ARCs you never got around to reading and put them to good use. If all else fails, there are tons of charities that accept them — this article from YA Highway lists a few.

And, the most important tip? Do what feels right. You’ll know deep down which ones are keepers, and which ones you just have to say goodbye to.

Do you have your own unique way of organizing your shelves that I didn’t get to mention? Tell me about it in the comments or reach out via email, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

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