I’m not going to lie, Spring is never an excuse for me to clean and organise anything. Organising is therapeutic to me and I do it fairly often. I don’t believe people often think about cleaning their bookshelves. It’s not the first thing you think of when you think Spring cleaning either (except maybe to a book addict like myself). That’s why I thought I’d go over how I clean my shelves since I do it way more often than most. Here’s a quick guide to cleaning your bookshelves:
Taking everything off
First, think of how you’re going to organise your shelf. By author, title, series, colour, or something completely random? Trust me, it helps to decide on this first because as you take things off your shelf you can start piles.
Next, I go through all the books that are on my shelves and see if anything stick out at me that I know I don’t want to keep. If there’s a book I know I’m not interested in anymore or one I’ve read but didn’t really like then I’ll take those off and put them off to the side.
Now take everything off your shelves. That means books, decorations, light, etc. All of it! As you take the books off, start piles for however you’re going to organise them. For colours, have a pile for red, orange, blue, green, etc. For authors, have a pile for last names starting with A, B, C, you get the idea. Grab a rag and some cleaning spray and wash everything down. Even some soapy warm water will help depending on what kind of shelves you have. Get all the dust and any dirt off so you really are starting with a clean slate.
This would be the time where you would move your bookcases and shelves around. If you decide you want to move one to another spot then do it while it’s empty. Also I have those shelves that I can take off and move up or down. I like to flip mine over every time I clean them so that the middle doesn’t bend too much.
Adding your books back on
Now that everything is clean and moved around we get to put everything back on! This is the best part in my opinion. If you’re organising by author, title, colour or anything like that then I recommend starting from the top down. If you’re like me and you like to sort by series, favourites, or whatever else you can think of, I like starting in the middle for some reason. It’s honestly totally up to you though. Whatever works!
As you’re putting each book back on your shelf, take a moment to think if it should really be there. Is it a book you really loved? Keep it! A favourite author? Keep it! A book you know you’ll read again? Keep it! Picking the books you want to keep is much easier than picking ones you should get rid of. If there’s a book that I read years ago and it was only an ok read then why am I hanging onto it?
I know it’s hard to pick books to take off your shelves but this will make your collection a lot easier to manage. Any books you know you didn’t like and would never read again should immediately go into the no pile. Even books that you haven’t read yet that you’re no longer interested in reading should probably also go in the no pile. Worse case you can always borrow it from the library if you decided in 5 years that you read did want to read it. If you don’t cut down your collection of books then how will you make room for more?
Once you’ve got all your books back on your shelves I like to take one more look through. You’d be surprised at how many books I end up taking off at this point. Now you can put all your decorations back on and your shelves are done!
(these are new shelves so I didn’t have enough to fill them all the way)
What about that no pile?
Now to tackle that pile of books you’ve decided you don’t want. I like to split mine up. One pile for library, one for the used bookstore to build up my credit, one for books that I borrowed and need to give back, and one pile of books that are too damaged to give away (sadly these often have to get thrown up). Split you’re books into your piles and off you go! Drop some off at the library and sell some to your local used bookstore. You can even ask friends and family if they want some (this happens often for me).
I bet your shelves look much cleaner now! You’re officially done cleaning your bookshelves! Maybe there’s even some empty spots that you’ll need to fill up? There’s lots of Spring/Summer books sales everywhere so wait for those or try BookOutlet.com if you don’t want to break the bank. There’s lots of room for some new books on your shelves now!