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How to Declutter Books (Tips + Before & After) | Minimalist Home



If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I decluttered and organized my bookshelves a bit this week, so today I decided to share my top tips for paring down book collections.

Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vestedinterestsig/

(I show a before and after picture towards the beginning of this video, so if you’re scanning through and you missed it, look at the beginning. I also posted a similar one on Instagram.)

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31 comments

  1. Nice jacket it does make you look like so nice 🙂 thanks for the helpful vids

  2. I love books, but have realised that I don't need to own my favourite books. I borrow everything I want to read from the library, including favourite books that I re-read regularly. I have even given my Harry Potter books away! I know I will read them many more times, but I'm happy to borrow them rather than own them.

  3. Good fresh ideas, cute cat, thumbs up.

  4. It's a great idea to read ebooks and then only buy the physical book if you really love it and know you will read it again! I'm trying to do this now after getting rid of several physical hundred books from my collection 🙂 I am an avid reader and a writer myself so I like to keep my favourites to make my home feel like home, but I don't need excess books that I don't truly love.

  5. I love all of these tips! However since books hold a great deal of emotional and sentimental value I find it really really difficult to part with them even though, logically, I understand everything you talk about. Giving away a book I read and liked would feel like giving away a friend. I thinks books and plants are the only two areas in my home in which I will never be able to be a minimalist. My ultimate goal for my home is to look like a library in a jungle 😀 I recently did manage to get rid of 20 or so books which is huge for me. My shelves are still overflowing. I still have to read around 50 books I already own. But seeing how many are unread does help to shop less.

  6. Lucia luvsdogs&cats

    Ebooks, for those of us with aging eyes, are easier to read since we can increase the font size that best suits us.

  7. One more advantage with e-books, especially if you are an avid book reader; you can always carry an entire liberary around in your pocket! 🙂

  8. I like to try and find ebook versions of my physical books. I work at a library, so I usually donate there where I know others can enjoy them. A lot of my books have been cycling through the checkout process.

  9. lovely kid JAPAN

    I love books, my whole family loves books. I've got some foreign books from my homecountry, I don't think in Japan I can sell it here. You just gave me idea to send it to my friends…and going for ebooks. Thank you✌️

  10. your hair <3

  11. Great video with some awesome tips; however, not everything is on the internet. It seems to me that a lot of internet content is all the latest and greatest and so gummed up with advertising it makes finding information difficult, so some references books are handy.

  12. Did you declutter Neil Gaiman (on the shelf beside you) or keep him? His ‘View from the cheap seats’ helped me immensely to get back in touch with my reading self and getting rid of snobbish aspirations. Reading what I want (I started with the entire LOTR 😃 and went on with old SF) was a mental decluttering that helped the physical decluttering. I also did the % open space rule. But my work related books are growing and I don’t have an office space for them 🙁. Also: not all books are easy to find again, especially older ones. The same goes for DVD’s. My favorites are scattered over different services which can become expensive and I don’t want to be at Netflix’s etc mercy for them. Did a 80% declutter, though.

  13. Preface this with I am a physical book kind of girl. I love the feel and smell and sensuality of paper. I doubt I'd ever be happy with an e-reader.

    I started a list this year of all the books I read. I want to see if I read as much as I believe I do and also how many books I reread versus how many I am reading for the first time.

    I admit I regret getting rid of probably 80% of the books I've ever had to cull, whether it was due to downsizing or moving. I love books, probably more than many of my other possessions. Since my intent is to stay in the home I'm in for the next 40 odd years, while I am conscious I cannot possibly acquire or afford every book I want, I am also not too concerned–at least at this point–about outgrowing the space I plan to store those books.

  14. This is very timely, as our local annual book fair is in April and it is once again time to declutter my books. I got rid of six boxes of books about four years ago and now it is time to donate some more now that I have discovered minimalism. My big issue is unread books. I buy a lot of books in the areas of alternative health/spirituality and keep buying new books before I'm done with the ones I already have, which leads to a lot of unread books! I'm going to have to get tough on this go-round and be realistic about whether I'm ever going to read that book and if not, out it goes! Then, no swinging by the bookshelf when I go to the local health food store, which was a cause of a lot of my temptation! 🙂

  15. You could also download books on with website called 4shared.com. You could download them for free 100% but I can understand a person's reserves to do that though.

  16. Freefalling into grace

    Thanks again for another great video. Your hair looks divine! New hair product you can share with all of us curly heads? Thanks, and have a great week!

  17. Great advice!! The idea of asking for ebooks from your library is a good one – I'm an academic librarian and the same is true for academic libraries as well as public ones. And I'm in a humanities discipline that's very old school and I got rid of most of my paper books and now read for fun only on an ebook. It's simply faster and less space-consuming at home.

  18. Caroline Bennett

    I love the look of books and also keep them to some extent as decoration. I will try some of these tips as I’m curious to know how it would feel to have the space rather than the books.

  19. Great video! And I agree about finding new homes for books that you may only re-read 'someday' due to that book probably being accessible in a library or used book shop. Although, unfortunately, we had a traumatic bed bug event due to old books with loose spines from the library that brought the bugs into our home three years ago. We hadn't traveled in over a year and didn't bring anything used into our house and the only things 'used' and newly introduced were the library books. Now we no longer feel comfortable borrowing books from the library nor buying a used book – which is sad because we both love to read! So some of our older books we've held on to knowing that it's basically irreplaceable for us. Thanks so much!

  20. Books have been such a huge crutch for me since childhood. I've always had stacks and shelves filled to their limits with books of every genre. We were flooded a few years back and that in itself "cleansed" an embarrassing amount of books from my collection, and I'll be honest…I think I may have missed maybe one of those since then. It was a rather eye opening experience, for sure. After a lot of thought and purging, I'm down to two shelving units and a stack of 'to reads' on my nightstand (we won't mention the three e reader devices). One unit is in my office and filled with all of the art/architecture/photography books from college…and those…those are my nemesis. They mock me daily. I can feel the side eye and disapproval radiating from that corner whenever I enter the room. The investment alone makes me cringe at the thought of parting with them. Not to mention they are just plain beautiful. But, I haven't opened most of them since the initial reading. So, I'm hoping these tips will help me deal with that portion of the collection…thank you!

  21. Feed that hangry kitten, lol! Great tips on decluttering books, thanks!

  22. Even after my first round of Konmari-ing my room I still had a lot of trouble letting go of books, and only managed to sort out a few that I once picked up just because they were cheap and on special offer. Watching your video now it actually gave me a better understanding of why I still couldn't really let go of so many other books, and I will definitely take your words to heart and remind myself of them when I do the next round of decluttering! 🙂 I really like GoodReads as well, it is a great way to keep track of what you might want to read in the future without buying it instantly just so you won't forget about it!

    I really enjoy your content (and sense of humor), and I love the style of your videos! I'm already looking forward to the next one!

  23. HeadingForTomorrow

    I was looking for these kinds of tips. Thank you 😀

  24. I read about 100 books per year, mostly thanks to ebooks and audiobooks on Overdrive. I have a small shelf in my closet of my favorites—the ones I have to reread every one to two years. I keep them in my closet on a high shelf so I don’t compulsively read the titles over and over—having titles in my face makes me crazy, even if they’re favorites.

    I’ve decluttered over 500 books because most of them lent to my fantasy self: “Surely I am the type of person to assimilate this type of material.” Once I realized how little I actually was likely to read that stuff, I got rid of it. It’s like I crossed 500 things off my to do list!

  25. 🖐🏼🙃

  26. As a book lover, the struggle is real. E books are an amazing solution for those books that you don't yet know if you would like to re read or have on your shelf, you can always buy a copy later and keep it.

    Great video, very helpful. Thank you 😀

  27. Bernardita-Caputo

    Omg just what I needed thank you so much!

  28. I have a bit of a book buying (or shall I say hoarding?) problem, so this was very useful. Thanks for sharing!

  29. Solid video! I definitely think there's an element of denial in most people's "need" to buy a huge stack of books every time they're in a bookstore. (I used to be this person lol.) I've sold the bulk of my books I've collected over time and the free space I now have is so satisfying. Now all my reading is done through libraries, including the occasional ebook. Now I basically just need space for the books I've checked out, and even if I end up with a big backlog I know I'll be returning them within a month anyway. It was totally worth the change.

  30. I used to think I was emotionally attached to my books but I was able to get rid of 200 in the past two years. I realised I was only keeping them to ‘convince’ people that I was smart enough to read them. I can still start a conversation about books without needing to have them and my school library works just as well

  31. Great job !