How to Declutter a Bookshelf Without Losing Its Personality 

You can put some of your favourite things on display on a bookshelf. However, if there are too many books, periodicals, CDs, DVDs, and other things in it, it can rapidly get cluttered – losing purpose and personality. Declutter a bookshelf to maintain its personality.  Decluttering can make you feel better. Most book lovers don’t […]

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By Manjali Khosla | Last Updated: July 27, 2023 | 12 min read

You can put some of your favourite things on display on a bookshelf. However, if there are too many books, periodicals, CDs, DVDs, and other things in it, it can rapidly get cluttered – losing purpose and personality. Declutter a bookshelf to maintain its personality. 

Decluttering can make you feel better. Most book lovers don’t realize they are wasting time and resources by keeping their library full of old books. The problem isn’t only because of space issues, but also because of the damage it does to our mental health. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed or stressed out at home due to clutter, then you know exactly why. 

Decluttering your bookshelves is easier said than done. This article gives some tips on how to get rid of unwanted items on your bookshelf without sacrificing your style. 

Remove Everything 

It is time to start organising the shelves because they are stacked with a collection of books you have never read. Start by removing everything from the shelves and putting them into stacks. The piles do not need to be organised just yet; simply remove the items and clean your shelves at this stage.  

Go through each bookshelf in turn if you have more than one. Work your way through the oldest books first before moving on. After going through each shelf, remove everything from the room and discard everything you no longer need or want. 

Discard What You do not Need 

Consider getting rid of one copy of any books you have numerous copies of. Check if your friends and family are interested in picking up a copy from you. 

It makes no sense to have several identical copies of the same book. If you do, it is likely because you have no memory of when you purchased it or awareness of its presence on your busy bookshelf! 

While duplicates are the easiest to put away, look for other books also that can be discarded. Ask yourself these three questions to identify whether a book needs to be in your study or not: 

  • Have I read this book before? 

The publishing world is evolving quickly. Though it looks straightforward, this question turns out to be quite challenging to respond to. Even while you might believe you have every book in your home under control, there is a high possibility you have lost track of a few through the years. So how can you determine if you have read a particular book before? Keep a journal or spreadsheet, or design a colour code to highlight read books.  

  • Do I Want to Read This Anymore? 

This is the second important question to ask while discarding your books. Even for book lovers, some books are received as gifts and are simply not to our taste. If you have not read them over a period of time, chances are low that you will in the future. Take the courage to give it to someone who will actually read it.  

  • Can I easily find it in the library? 

Finally, ask yourself if you want to hold on to a copy of an oft-read book if you can find it in the library or as a digital version. Many book lovers are buying fewer paperbacks and opting for e-books. Can you be one of them?  

Group Books More Thoughtfully 

Experts advise that beginning with your preferred genres and expanding from there is the best way to organise a book collection. Start with mysteries, if you prefer. Afterwards, venture into science fiction, fantasy, romance, etc. You will discover that some topics are related to one another; for example, you might adore reading historical fiction as well as science fiction. 

By organising books by theme, you may find what you are looking for more quickly and find books that you might like to read later. How books are grouped together on each shelf will help you quickly decide where to look next. Additionally, grouping books by theme can help connect them and make it easier for you to find the one you have been looking forward to reading. 

Remember these three rules when grouping your books for a library: 

  • Group like-items together 
  • Create categories based on genres or purpose 
  • Use dividers to separate different sections, especially with large collections 

Make Room for New Books 

You are now prepared to add new books to your library after it has been arranged. Where do you store them, though? According to, it is ideal to organize 60 per cent of books vertically and 40 per cent in horizontal stacks to create both balance and spontaneity. 

Instead of stacking books on top of each other, place them side by side – vertically. This allows you to see every single book while saving floor space. Organise your books by size. Smaller books tend to take up less room, so they make sense to store near larger volumes. 

Add Large Baskets to the Two Bottom Shelves 

Placing items where you use them most frequently is the greatest method to arrange items on shelves. However, sometimes it is difficult to notice what is hidden beneath the clutter on the floor. Additionally, everything is thrown into one large pile because there are no bins underneath those shelves. Finding anything becomes incredibly difficult as a result. Therefore, we advise putting big baskets on the two bottom shelves. They will make it simpler to locate items like hats, scarves, socks, and shoes. They are also useful for keeping tiny goods like toys, books, games, and other things organised. 

Also use shelving units, which are perfect for displaying smaller items such as picture frames, vases, figurines, knickknacks, etc. 

Staying organised 

On a going basis, as you buy new books, it is a good idea to have some handy boxes labelled – Keep, Sell/ Trade, Donate or Recycle. This saves you from having to search through mountains of books each time you want to find something. 

Before marking the box, keep it tidy and well-organized. Choose a category for the box, such as “Keep,” “Sell/Trade,” or something similar. Put the date when the box was first used inside after that. Finally, jot down any reminders you will need for the next time you utilise the box. You might also think about giving books to libraries or schools.  Also frequently accepting book contributions are libraries. They may offer them for free, sell them online, or host gatherings where readers could gather and debate the books. 


A bibliophile’s primary concern in life is how to organise their books, as any book lover will tell you if you ask them. There are as many kinds of book lovers as there are diverse ways to set up a library, but everyone can agree that you should arrange your books in a way that is most comfortable for you. Nobody knows your reader self better than you. We hope that the tips given above will lead you to a cleaner bookshelf! 

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