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January Home Reset: Books Edititon

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What I don’t love about January is the pervasive gray that lurks outside of all the windows in our house, it’s not a very inspiring backdrop. What I love about January is how clear and clean the house feels since we’ve put Christmas away – it’s like a blank slate, analogous to the fresh start of a new year. January is a great time to do a little reset in your home, once it has been stripped of its holiday finery. Doing some light decluttering can set you up for productive winter months and make hunkering down more enjoyable.

This month I’m covering categories to declutter and ideas to store what’s left in a way that keeps future clutter at bay. When I’m doing some good decluttering I’m thinking less about the gray outside and more about how much I love my home.

Books are a smart category to declutter on a semi-regular basis because they are heavy and when you have a lot to declutter it can be a pretty physically demanding job.It’s highly likely that some new books came into your possession over the holidays – it’s the perfect opportunity to do a quick reset of your collection.

I keep the books I reference all the time in my office
I keep the books I reference all the time in my office

It’s a good idea to spend some time ahead of your decluttering thinking about how you currently consume books (device? audio? physical book?) and where is the best place to keep them. I’ll use my own household as an example.

Jay and I are both readers, but very different in how we consume books. I consume them primarily on my iPad and via Audio (Audible Plus is my go to membership as I consume a fair amount and they have literally everything I could ever want to read.) There are 2 scenarios in which I read a physical book these days: on vacation when sunbathing is not conducive to screen-reading and when I want to have a physical copy of a book so I can reference it. Jay prefers to read physical books. He reads both for pleasure and for work and is a somewhat slow reader so they tend to pile up at times (post-Christmas is one of those times!)

As far as where to keep the book I am a firm believer in keeping them accessible and close to the place where you read them. In our home we have 3  places where we store books (4 if you count cookbooks, which should absolutely be in/near the kitchen!) The first is in our primary bedroom. The bedroom books are mostly Jay’s – our small book tower serves as his queue, when it begins to overflow onto his nightstand I know it’s time to declutter. The second is my office. This is where I keep most of my ‘reference’ books – the ones I come back to all the time and need to look up something specific. I do most of my writing in my office and like to have these books close by in case I need them. (In case you are interested, here is the list of the Books that Changed Me, they are all in my office!) The third place is our downstairs family room. This is where the ‘old favorites’ live, the novels I’ve had since high school that I read a million times. Also living here are several Books for Dummies (Gardening, Puppy Training, etc.) and travel books (including my well-worn copies of the BEST Hawaii Guide Books!) 

So now take a pass at your own home. What are your current reading habits? Where do you keep books today?  Is that working for you?  Why do you keep the books you keep? Do you need to keep all of them?

Answering these questions will help put you on a decluttering and organizing path. When you’re ready, here are the next steps to declutter your books.

  • Pull all of the books out and categorize them (haven’t read yet, read & done, read & keep.)
  • Use boxes left from the holiday crazy for donations, load them up with the books you don’t need anymore.
  • Decide on centralizing or localizing as the best storage strategy for your home & habits.
  • Consider using vertical space to store your books, either wall-mounted or tower-style will have a much smaller visible footprint and make your rooms feel bigger and more fun to read in! I have curated some great options on Amazon, check it out here.

Back to my house! The books in the family room and the books in our bedroom are ripe for decluttering. Some of the books Jay has already read but wants to keep will move downstairs & some will get donated. I’m going to take a pass at my downstairs books as well because there are definitely some I don’t need anymore. I will grab some boxes and load our donations into the back of my car the same day we declutter. That’s the way I like it – get them out fast!

I hope you got some fantastic books for Christmas & Hanukkah, why not make space for them by doing a little Book Reset? Happy January Decluttering!

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