Overflowing Bookshelves

Goodmorfterevening, kind bookworms!

Books are beginning to pile up on the floor. You open a drawer and find a couple of paperbacks. Oh god, there’s one under the couch. We have all had that overwhelming problem of the overflowing bookshelves. Here are a few creative ideas that might help you with this problem:

  1. Donate: I think this is the best, but the hardest solution, to holding on to too many books. I moved into a smaller space and thought I could hold on to all my books, only to realize 1) I had no room, and 2) I hadn’t touched most of the books since I finished reading them. This led me to beginning my “book cleanse.” I separated my books into three piles: donations, gifting, and keeping. I’m of the opinion that a hoarded book, without further use, is a wasted book- If I’m no longer going to learn or feel from whatever I’m reading, then it’s my duty to ensure the book gets carried on for other readers to have their own journeys with. I donated the ones I knew I would never read again and that I felt no emotional attachment to. I gifted the books I felt had impacted me in a particular way and maybe I felt someone else could use that comfort, as well. I kept the books where, even if I felt I might not read them again, I knew that I would pick them up from time to time and be brought back to a memory or feeling I might need to be reacquainted with. After this cleanse I was still left with four long shelves of books and one short shelf of manga and comic books.
  2. Creating furniture from old books: Now, this isn’t a project I have ever taken on myself, and although it looks easy enough that you don’t necessarily have to be handyman, I think it’s important to note that unless you already have materials available, it can be a bit difficult or require some cost. The project I have in mind is this reading table book video where the book spines are inserted into the surface and covered with a clear resin to complete the table. I think this is a really beautiful idea for books that have been too handled and are falling apart. And I like that the video inspires different, similar ideas, like placing book covers in shadow boxes, or paper mache pages on a nightstand where the paint might be peeling. Recycling books can allow for numerous creative projects.
  3. Gifting: Of the books I did care for, but I knew they would likely collect dust on my shelves, I made sure to gift them. This is a great way to save money and show someone else that you’ve been thinking of them. I tried to tailor my book gifting to people who I thought would really benefit from the specific stories. You can tie a ribbon around the book or wrap it in kraft paper for a rustic look. What I’ve also done is placed a small flower within the pages of old books so when the recipient opens them the beautiful scent lingers and the dried petals are angelic to look at.
  4. Placing a limit on yourself: Like I mentioned above, I have four long bookshelves and one shorter shelf. In addition to that I have a small knapsack I keep next to my bed with my personal planner and my current read, for easy access. Within my kitchen I have one bookshelf dedicated to cookbooks and one bookshelf in the living room, because I strongly believe that books in a living space help bring a room to life, and also because I love to be surrounded by books in all of my spaces- it can give guests an idea of your interests, too. But, that’s it. I have limited myself to these bookshelves and if I ever exceed this limit I must re-evaluate my books and take the above steps to make room for new ones.
  5. Piling books vertically: You’ve done all of the above, you take a look around, and… there are still some books that don’t fit within your self-imposed limit. Well, I’ve got one potential loophole for you. One of my bookshelves was getting to be just too much, but I couldn’t think of any I wanted to part with. So, within the bookshelf, instead of lining the books along horizontally, I piled them vertically on each other to make use of that empty space between the shelves. This really only works if you have a large amount of space between one shelf to the next, that will allow you to pile at least four on each other. Personally, I was able to keep my books and make room for a couple more.

Being a kind bookworm doesn’t just mean reading a book and moving along to the next, it means being thoughtful about how we could make the best use of them after we’re done reading. By donating, gifting, and developing creative projects, we ensure that our favorite reads can continue serving their purpose of serving the reader and bringing comfort wherever they go.

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