Got extra time on your hands? Decide it's time to tackle that decluttering-the-book-mountain project? Here are some things to keep in mind as you get your home library tidied up!
10. Keep books out of direct sunlight.
Sunshine is normally great, but for a home library, it can bleach the covers and cause premature aging to your collection. Opt instead to place your shelves against the wall next to a window where they'll have shading from direct rays, or for an inside corner completely away from the sun.
9. Avoid moisture.
Mildew does not appreciate good literature. Make sure to keep your home library away from places that are likely to acquire moisture like the kitchen or near the bathroom. Basements should be completely dry before you ever leave books there.
8. Keep pests in mind.
Moths and weevils and mice...what's a book lover to do? First, make sure to never leave food, plates, or utensils wherever your books live. If you notice an infestation of pests, you might try an easy-to-vacuum remedy like sprinkling Borax or diatomaceous earth wherever you find bugs, or consider a more hefty approach if your pests are...heftier.
7. Remove "stuff" from the covers.
Yes, you may enjoy the sight of those dried flowers or clovers you pressed between the pages of Little Women, but it's best to remove all papers, bookmarks, pens (PLEASE!) or other objects out from between your books' pages. Your spines will thank you.
6. List your books.
No, you don't need a degree in library science to make a simple spreadsheet and catalog the books you own. It's a great way to keep track of them, especially if you're a loaner. You can also list other books on your wish list for easy reference when you're forgetful and someone asks for a gift idea.
5. Sort books by YOUR preference.
No, dear, the Dewey decimal police will not haul you away if you fail to follow it to the digit. It's your library. You get to choose whether you sort your books by author, topic, size, date acquired, or even color! It's up to you, so choose a method you believe you can keep, and stick with it.
4. Embrace creativity.
You do not have to have every single book facing forward like dusty little soldiers (more about dust next).
Of course, if you're the front-and-center type, feel free.
But there's a lot to be said for displaying the fronts of your coffee table books...
Or stacking them vertically for better fits for those giant books...
Or making a pattern sculpture out of your books. Just so you can find what you're itching for.
On second thought, maybe let's stick to normal.
3. Dust your books.
Books are the ultimate dustcatchers. Even though we love them, we owe it to them to keep them clean. A simple ostrich-feather duster is perfect for keeping them neat weekly without the task becoming a huge ordeal.
2. Decide when the time has come to part.
Yes, it can be excruciating to let go of books, but it's necessary unless you aspire to star in an episode of Hoarders. Did you go hunting for this specific book, read it and want to read it again? Keep it, by all means. Have you never gotten around to reading it, or do you wish you hadn't? You can get rid of it without being a horrible person. Pass it on to a friend. Take it to the library for the free table. Sell it on eBay. Make a craft with it. There are plenty of conscience-salving ways to trim your library without feeling like a book burner.
1 - READ YOUR BOOKS!
It's a given, but take this as permission. Grab an old favorite once your library is in order, kick your feet up and enjoy being the owner of a tidy library. The authors of your books thank you, I'm sure.
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