Eeek! How is everyone feeling this week? It is going to be an amazing journey to declutter some of these things that are literally weighing use down and today, is all about that.
Before starting the decluttering:
I want you to recognize that this might bring up some emotions for you and it is always important to work through those, whatever they happen to be. Some reasons you might get frustrated, mad, depressed are:
Money/Investment: books new can be costly. It is hard to acknowledge that they won't be used/read and you need to part with that and the money you spent on them. However, know that holding on to them, moving or shipping them will cost you even more. So it is better to cut those ties now
Shame/embarrassment/guilt: You might have really wanted to read something and you never got to it. That's okay! Recognize your attempt and move on to the next thing.
"But one day....": Nah, I'll be the bad guy here. That one day won't come my friends. If it does, great! Go get that book again on digital format or at a used bookstore/library. But for now, if you didn't find the time during COVID, chances are, you won't find that time coming out of it either.
Books with messages: This is one of the harder ones to deal with. Books that someone important left you a message in will be harder to part with. But don't let that stop you. If this person is no longer in your life, look around and see if you have something that is MORE valuable to you that they gave you. If so, that book can go.
My biggest tip for decluttering books: allow this journey to be multi-phase if it needs to be. If you are so overwhelmed with the amount of books or emotions coming up, take the time to do this in bits. Letting go of the past can be challenging but is worth it!
Steps to decluttering books and STAYING declutter
Like most first steps in the decluttering process, we need to prep your space. So what do you need? Well we can't pull out all those books without first having a spot to put them. Make sure you have enough room to spread out and let your mind work through all the things that will be coming up. Also good to have sticky notes and sharpies!
Sort each item into 2 categories: 1) books you have read and 2) books you think you should keep
For books you have read ask yourself these questions to see if you should keep them:
Would I recommend it?
Did I enjoy it?
Is it something I would read again?
And for books you think you should keep:
Why? One of the hardest questions to ask and get an honest answer out of. Why do you think you need this book?
Is it something you want to read?
Does it make you feel happy? Accomplished? Status symbol?
Is it a signed or first edition?
Some Easy Wins!
Why make this hard? Grab that low-hanging fruit to help you push ahead to the harder ones.
Multiple copies: This one is easy. If you have duplicates, move out the ones you no longer need
No interest in: Those books you picked up, were gifted, or somehow found their way into your procession that you have absolutely no intention of reading can be one of the first to go!
Books from the past: These are all the ones you needed for a past hobby, career, passion that you have outgrown or moved on from.
What to do with the unwanted ones?
Now that you have done amazing work to declutter, what to do with all those books?! Your first impression might be to sell them. This is a great option for anyone who is not under a time crunch.
The sad reality is that unless those books are a first edition, signed by the author or are really old, there just isn't much value in them and you probably won't get the money out of them that you put into it.
Connect with your local library to see if they accept donations or partner with an organization that does.
Give to friends/family if you know they will enjoy them. Be careful not to saddle them with the mountain of books you didn't want to deal with!
Get Set For Success:
The only way to stay organized in the future is to set up boundaries. It really is as simple as that!
Define your space! That means if you cleared off a shelf, define what goes back onto that shelf? We are vacuums and will fill empty spaces if left unattended.
Go digital. A potential hurdle but one that you will find is so worth it. Either digital e-books or audiobooks, these will allow you to have so much FREEDOM moving forward. It is a hard plunge to take but will pay off in the end
Journaling it out. For those books that you read and want to refer back to. Keep a journal (digital one is even better!) with all the notes, ideas and takeaways from books so you don't feel tied to them after you finished.
Just remember that all the decluttering is going to give you a few things:
Less weight you carry around (literally!)
Decluttering the books will bring new opportunities into your life to enjoy new topics, new books, new authors and new ideas. The only way up, is to release the things of the past!
Happy Decluttering! Caitlin
P.S. If you want to take this further, here’s where you can sign up for a private consultation