How To Get Rid Of Book Clutter

For all the bibliophiles out there, their collection of books or their mini library has to be their most prized possession but with the ever-increasing book collection, you just might be due for some decluttering.

It’s important to be objective with the decluttering process and make judgment-calls wherever needed. A book you might not need may well be life-changing for another person. Further, keep in mind the space that is readily available to you to store your books and then decide on whether or not you can keep a book.

Depending upon the size of your collection, divide the decluttering process into small portions. You can either a chunk of decluttering every day or during your weekends.

For those of you who have dust, allergies are advised to get the assistance of someone to do the cleaning up or use a good quality mask to cover your nose and mouth during the cleaning process.

Step 1

Lay out your books, whether from a shelf or boxes. Dust of all of them and make sure no important papers are stashed inside of them.

You may across some books which you might have borrowed, make a separate pile of them to be returned to their owners.

Make sure the shelf or boxes you are keeping your books in are dusted off well too, check for any pest infestation or termites and cobwebs.

Step 2

Organizing the books according to different categories can make accessing them easier and help keep your library organised. Brainstorm some broad categories which can encompass your books.

Example: Fiction, Non-fiction, Academic

You can decide upon any category in which you have an abundance of books.

You may want to create a category which includes books you are yet to read, this category can absorb any new books you buy too. Once read, these books can be sorted into their respective categories.

Step 3

Sort all your books according to the categories you have decided. Make a different pile for each category.

Step 4

Once you have sorted all the books, go through each category one by one, check for books you do not require, be objective while making the decision, books you do not require just hog up space and deprive future additions of space, make a different pile for the books you don’t need which you can donate to someone in need.

Step 5

Using sticky notes or hand made label you can make your categorisation clearer. You can stick the labels on your shelf and place each pile of a category with the corresponding label. This will aid you in tracking and finding a certain book

Arrange the books so that the spine of the book is visible, so you can find and take out books with convenience and the arrangement is not cluttered again.

Another way to up the organisation level is to arrange the books in alphabetical order in each category. Go through each category individually and do the same. You can alphabetize either the author’s name or the title of the book.

Step 6

Now that you have arranged your collection meticulously, whenever you buy new books next, make sure to add it to one of the categories you have chosen for your personal library.

Even after your first round of decluttering if you still have too many books to fit in your limited space, you need to go through the process again. While parting with these precious possessions can be painful, you can consider options such as acquiring a digital copy of the book or getting membership of your local libraries to still have access to the books whenever you feel like reading it again.


Cataloguing is an interesting tool to help you keep track of your books, what it means is you keep a dedicated notebook or even a data-sheet in your computer solely for the purpose of keeping a track of your books. There are even some interesting mobile applications to do the same. Cataloguing essentially is preparing a list of the books you have, either organised alphabetically or according to different categories with a column mentioning the status of the book which could either be in your possession or borrowed by a friend.


S.No Name of Book Author Genre/Category Status
1 The God of Small Things Arundathi Roy Fiction In Possession
2 The Room on the Roof Ruskin Bond Fiction Lent to Max

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