Some people keep a big collection of books, are you one of them? Chances are a few are from your university days. Part are reference books gather through your professional life. Some others are a reflection of your interests or hobbies, or those of your family. Do you know how to avoid clutter? How can you keep them organized? One option is to use 5S.
How do you start to organize your books?
Let’s start by taking a look at all you have. If you have them in different locations, go and find them all and put them in one place. You want to take a look at them in the same place. Why? Because you need to visualize what you have to sort what you need or want to keep.
Before you start, think about how you want to organize the books. There are different ways to set up the library. You can organize to be functional by subject, author or alphabetically. If you want a clean look and don’t care about function, you can organize by color, size, or cover type (hardcover/paperback).
Sorting your books
Sort the books grouping them following your selection. While sorting remove those that you don’t need anymore. In everyday words, you are going to declutter. I understand how attached we can be with our books. They are sources of knowledge, friends in moments of solitude, and a way to travel in our imagination. Don’t feel bad, let them go, maybe somebody needs them more than you do. Giving books away to the local school library or a friend is a gift of love. Also, remember that you need to make room for the new. Here are some reasons to remove books from your collection.
- Outdated reference books – encyclopedia, old programming language
- Not relevant anymore – you don’t like zombies stories anymore
- Condition – water damage, broken
- Not going to read it again – it was ok, but not great.
- Duplicates – different editions of the same book, bought a new one because you could not find where the old one was.
What is next?
After sorting, it is time to find a home for your collection. The perfect location is the one that works for you. If you have space and want to do it, you can keep all the books in a home library. If you don’t have space to keep all together, have small spaces throughout the house. It is always a good idea to keep things close to where you use them, for example, cookbooks in the kitchen, gardening books in the garden shack, and your favorite bedtime readings in the bedroom.
Dust the shelves and all the books before putting them in place. Use labels or marks to indicate location. For example, if you decided to organize your books by genre, you can label the area for each to make sure that all the family sees where each they go. Think about those marks on the libraries aisles.
Make a habit of checking from time to time if everything is in order. If something is not, communicate your findings to the family. Cleaning and organizing is a family activity. Also, schedule to sort through your books at least once a year. This way, you will avoid clutter.
With all your books organized, the entire family can see what they have available. The hassle of looking for the specific book needed to complete a project or a school assignment is gone.