Here is the before picture of my bookshelf. When I looked at my shelf, I felt mentally heavy and unhappy. The quality of the content on the shelf was not enough to keep me satisfied. So I reorganized. This led to a few different arrangements: rainbow, alphabetical, and genre (in a different order than before). It was too exhausting to keep taking the books down and putting them back up. After numerous meltdowns, I was ready for a change.
I recently did a heavy cull on the books I wanted to get rid of. When I first got back into reading in 2015, I was buying more books than I could read. The four main suppliers of books I used were Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Half-Price Books, and Goodwill. I bought as many books as I could without any real intention to read them. I would go to my local Goodwill and buy books in massive quantities at 99 cents each and shop in the clearance section of Barnes and Noble to get books at $5-$7 a pop. I just wanted to fill my bookshelves as fast as possible.
I took a hard look at my shelf and decided it was time to let some books go. I was content with the amount I had, just not the books themselves. I got rid of all the classics that I only bought with the intention of hopefully learning something from them. I got rid of the shitty series that I wanted to read in junior high school and still never had the urge to read as I got older and my tastes changed. I even got rid of all of the Stephen King books that I bought when I was on a horror kick even though I was too much of a p**** to actually read them; I barely made it 12 pages into IT. The only ones I kept were The Shining, Carrie, The Stand, and Nightmares and Dreamscapes.
This process has made me appreciate the books I have even more. If I love a book, I will re-read it over and over. I am all for decluttering and being appreciative of the material possessions I own. When adding books, I look at if I will re-read it or not. If the answer is no, it’s gone.
Some of the books I have had for years and FINALLY unhauled:
- Beautiful Creatures series (never read)
- Beastly (not my favorite)
- End of Watch, Finder’s Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (stupidly read the last book in the series first so I knew what happened)
- A massive collection of classics from Edgar Allen Poe’s collected works to Sleepy Hollow and other stories ( don’t get me wrong, they are really interesting to me and I plan on reading them in the future, but I only wanted the specific stories, NOT the other collected works that were put in the books with the purpose of making them look larger.)
- The Da Vinci Code series (I liked the movies so I assumed I would want to read the books—wrong)
- Sarah Dessen novels (bought for 99 cents at Goodwill only because I had heard of the author—note: I don’t care for most contemporary)
- Textbooks (self-explanatory)
and the list goes on…
Now, I am replenishing my supply with books I already love. I have read all of R.S. Grey’s books on e-book, and I want to add the physical copies to my collection. Some of my favorite series are in a bunch of different formats and editions—it irritates me to no end. I am buying different copies of those books and donating the old ones. My copies of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series are a hot mess.
After culling my collection and keeping only the books I actually love or want to read, I now feel like I can buy the books I have been anticipating reading. I enjoyed the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber and the final book is coming in May. I read The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon and her new book The Priory of the Orange Tree is scheduled to release at the end of this month. I now have the space on my shelf to buy these new books that I already know I will love.
This is the current state of my shelf and I don’t hate it. It is loosely organized by genre. I’m not entirely happy with it, but this is only because I know there are still holes in some of the series. I feel lighter and more balanced than I did before. I highly recommend a book cull/declutter if you feel like you are stuck in a rut with your bookshelf organization or have trouble deciding what to read. It’s easier to figure out what to read next now that my shelves only have books I want to read.
Let me know if you would like to see anything else about my shelves, be it a book tour or how I organize my books specifically.