Hi everyone and welcome to the next addition of my Think Spring guest bloggers series brought to you by Christie from Christie Adams Writer. When we are thinking spring, one not so fun thing that inevitably comes to mind is cleaning! Spring cleaning to many is a must, though, so this post from Christie will teach you how to incorporate your book (or CD and movie) shelves into your cleaning to do list. Take a look:
How You Can Include Your Bookcase In Your Spring Cleaning Regime (your excuse to buy more books)
Spring is on its way. Well OK, I admit winter is still hanging around, it seems to get later every year doesn’t it? Anyway, a bit of forward planning never hurt anyone. Spring cleaning your home, cleaning the car, yep, ticked that box? How about reinvigorating your bookcases? I’m not talking a quick whizz over with a feather duster, I’m talking a proper spring clean. If your book collection is a library you may need to break this up a bit, but it’s do-able, honest.
- Take a good long look at what you have, then take the books off the shelves:
A good way to ‘see’ things clearly, is to take a photograph or two and put them on one side. You’ll need them later. Taking out the books will probably surprise you. You will find ones you never knew you had. Those beloved sneaky books that have hidden amongst much read favorites. To make it easier and less stressful later on, sort them into two piles:
- Maybe I could let these go
Don’t know where to start? I try to live by William Morris’
‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’.
The focus will be to cut at least 10%, if not more. You may at this stage also find the odd one you really don’t like. It may have been a gift or a bargain bucket buy. If so, create a third pile somewhere out of sight. You can bring them back into the room when you get to stage 3.
WARNING – DO NOT start flicking through the pages, if you do, you are doomed and will never finish the task in hand!
- Clean the shelves and fix any loose or broken bits:
Think serious Health & Safety here. Books are HEAVY. If your bookshelves are not safe and securely fastened it could really hurt someone, or worse. Yes, sadly, people have been crushed beneath falling furniture.
Once they’re safe, fixed, and empty, you need to assess if they are what you want. This is the time to get reinspired. Remember those photographs I told you to put on one side? Now get them out and take a good close look. Be critical, be detached. If you saw those shelves in someone else’s house, would you love them? Aspire to own them? Want to embrace them in a big hug? OK, a bit difficult to imagine but you should understand the sentiment.
This is the time to repaint, rebuild, extend, downsize. You could go truly minimalist/tiny house and choose to let go of it all and move to a fully electronic reading habit. If so, jump ahead to stage 3 in this post.
Happy? All done? Fantastic, now on to the hard work.
(You could swap stages 2 and 3 if it suits you to focus on your collection, rather than your space or furniture.)
- Create a collection of loved literature and beloved battered books:
Now this can be a difficult bit, because it’s time to sort out what you want to keep and what you can let go. Go back to your books in those tidy piles (you did leave them tidy didn’t you?) and begin the process according to these guidelines:
Keep – you can look lovingly at this one, smile, then move on to the second pile.
Maybe I could let these go – you need to sort through these and divide them again into three piles:.
- Sell – if you have rare books, first editions, signed copies, then do your research. Contact an expert. If you’re lucky you could pay for a new book, a holiday, or your house! Otherwise, garage sales or online auction sites are your friend.
- Donate to charity or friends – do you love a book but know you’ll never re-read it? Why not write a hand written ‘no spoiler’ review note and place it in the book before you donate it?
- Reuse – note, there is not a ‘bin’ pile. If you do have any books that are truly falling to pieces why not create some book art (get on Pinterest people, it’s amazing what you can do with the pages of an old book). Your local school or art college may take them off your hands. Final option? Recycling center.
If you find it difficult, recruit a book buddy or cleaning companion, offer them a brew and get cracking.
If you have an electronic ebook/audio book copy, do you need the paperback? Do you have books about garden design but now live in a small apartment? Will you ever learn to play the guitar? No? Then sideline the ‘how to’ book.
Fashions change. Technology moves on. Maps and text books get out of date. Learn to let go people! This cleansing can take as long as you need but once you start you’ll be surprised by how easy it is. Make sure it doesn’t drag on, be decisive, and reach or pass that 10% target.
- Decide on how you will arrange your ‘new’ beautiful bookcase and beloved book collection:
Now, you’ve done the hard bit. You should have a (slightly?) smaller collection. It’s time to decide how you’ll show them off and care for them. Will you go ‘library style’ and sort by genre then alphabetical? How about color, blue next to purple, red next to pink etc? It can look awesome if you embrace the idea fully.
Do you have truly gorgeous bound books, how about those being at eye level so you truly enjoy the sight of them every day? Kids books? They need to be accessible to little hands. On the alternate side, you need to put ‘valuable’ (I know they all are, but stay with me here) books away from direct sunlight and away from little hands.
Libraries put books on end for a reason, it preserves them and protects them. Make room for them all stood up, not lying flat. You can be as innovative or traditionalist as you like. You can scribble down ideas, draw out detailed plans, or just move books into yet more piles so you can keep track. I’ve got a small section of ‘will read then let go’ books, too.
- Fill The Gaps! Now is the time to celebrate the space you’ve created, by filling the spaces with new books:
Yes, you’ve done it! Your new clean and empty shelves are calling out to be filled. Dust off your books and put them back in their newly well planned home. I start with the big books, which may only fit on one of many shelves. Also, that’s often the safest. You recall I told you to fasten the shelves securely, this is important. If the shelves are not secured (WHY NOT!!) always start at the bottom when refilling. DO NOT make them top heavy by starting at the top.
Just remember your home should be somewhere that you love. Somewhere you’re proud of. Somewhere you feel at home in. I’d love to see how you got on, and how you display your books. When you’ve finished take a picture and share it with me on social media.
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Get in touch with me from your next coffee shop or library:
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^^^ Thank you so much again to Christie for such a helpful and well thought out post! Again, please be sure to check out her blog and give her page some love! What is on your spring cleaning check list? How many books do you have in your collection? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah
PS: Be sure to tune in tomorrow for a gorgeous OOTD from K.M. at Ankhor You!