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A bibliophile’s guide on how to Marie Kondo your bookshelf

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A bibliophile’s guide on how to Marie Kondo your bookshelf

Already a best-seller list mainstay, Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up revived new interest in conscious cleaning via Netflix this spring. But book enthusiasts riled against the KonMari method—the official name rather than the author’s name becoming a verb—that recommends only keeping around 30 books in the home, a range too minuscule for people who actually read.

If the number of books don’t matter yet your bookshelf looks disheveled, these tricks should help you declutter.

Donate books you are never going to read

You really wanted a book and bought it only for it to still be on your bookshelf five years later—unread. The book industry is lit right now, therefore the book you wanted to read five years ago may be stomped by another book released this year. Adding both would be contributing to clutter, so reconsider books that you’ve bought in the past that have been left unread. If you feel you can read it the next few months, then keep it, but when you read the synopsis on the back and you don’t get the warm feeling inside anymore, throw it in the donation heap.

Donate books you don’t absolutely love

Sometimes, we get into what society thinks about a book. You might have a book on your shelf that you did read but admittedly didn’t get why it won all those awards or spent all those weeks on the best-seller list. Unless you feel it might come in handy in some way like you refer to it for guidance, then to the donation heap it goes.

Books autographed by the author that you paid full hardcover price and attended the book launch are difficult choices: should they stay or go? Your name is penned inside with a note from the author, and depending on how you connected with the author, it might be a personal note. How to deal with those books may be a future post. What do you do with those books?

Donate books you know others need

The Free Black Women’s Library recently launched in Los Angeles, looking for gently used books written by black women. That’s one example of a charitable group looking for specific books. If you have a book like a children’s book that doesn’t hold as much meaning anymore, maybe a children’s hospital would appreciate it. Book donations can carry more meaning when it benefits a mission-oriented nonprofit if you’re not feeling the corporate Goodwill donation route. And donations could mean giving a book to a friend or a family member as long as it’s not taking unnecessary space on your bookshelf.

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