How to Declutter Books & Magazines {The KonMari Way}

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Great advice on how to declutter books and magazines using the KonMari Method of decluttering and organizing!

Let’s talk books. As a former school librarian, I adore them. They also make for gorgeous home decor so I tend to collect them. I view each one of my children’s books as personal friends. They are like treasures. Which can make decluttering and organizing books challenging to say the least. Since we’re following the lifechanging Marie Kondo (KonMari) Method of tidying, I wanted to share how I cut the cord on my book collection and encourage you to do the same!

——–> Don’t forget to print out your FREE KonMari Decluttering Checklist!Β  <———–

Great advice on how to declutter books and magazines using the KonMari Method of decluttering and organizing!

First, gather all your books in a huge pile. ALL. OF. THEM. (Note that if you have kids, you have my permission to tackle those AFTER you do the bulk of your books because that is a whole different ballgame– see below for that one!)

Don’t forget about the following categories:

  • guidebooks & how-to manuals
  • cookbooks
  • books you use as decor
  • textbooks

Go through and touch each one. The number one question to ask is: Does it spark joy?

If not, out it goes! If yes, here’s some more hard questions to ask:

  • Have you read it? If not, how long have you had it? Will you really read it? If you’ve already read it, will you REALLY read it again?
  • Do you still refer to it or cook recipes from it on a continual basis?
  • Why are you holding onto it? CanΒ  you honor it in some other way?

I’m pretty good about weeding my personal book collection, but there were still many in there I was keeping for the wrong reasons. Some I hoped to read, but still hadn’t read 5 years later. Others were once I enjoyed the first time and *hoped* to read again but hadn’t. Others were autographed by the author. Some were simply decorative. There were cookbooks I hadn’t cracked open in years. All of those had to go– they are weighing me down. So out they went to the thrift store!

The AFTER feels ohhhhhh sooooo goooood!

Great advice on how to declutter books and magazines using the KonMari Method of decluttering and organizing!

Once they were gone, an incredible sense of breathing room came back into my life. No longer did I look at the books and blame myself for not reading them yet, or cooking their recipes. It was like an invisible weight was cut from mind.

Sorting Through Your Cookbooks & Recipes

THE BEFORE:

how to declutter books and magazines using the KonMari Method-- I'm totally going to do this!

When it comes down to it, I rarely use more than 5 of my cookbooks. Most of them I’ve kept because I aspire to cook from them; however, due to time or reality I rarely crack them open. Plus, so many recipes are now available online having massive amounts of cookbooks doesn’t make much sense.

After brutally evaluating how much I actually use each one, I kept only a handful of favorites:

  • The Joy of Cooking— a classic to be handed down to my kids. The Salmon Spice Rub is a favorite.
  • The Whole30— my food bible, I do a Whole30 cycle 4 times a year and LOVE the simply yet tasty recipes and advice this book offers.
  • The Complete Book of Greek Cooking— this one automatically opens to the Chicken Souvlakia page each time, and the Tzatziki sauce recipe page is a close second. This cookbook tastes like childhood.
  • Mrs. Fields Cookie Book— holds all our Christmas cookie recipes and more. True classic.
  • The Skinnytaste Cookbook— my mom got this for me for my birthday and I already love it!
  • Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cookbook— throwback from my childhood, the recipe for french fries is literally ‘Open a bag of frozen french fries. Add to cookie sheet. Bake. Sprinkle with salt.’ It’s a total classic and my daughter loves to make the easy recipes (most of which are a little more complex than the french fries).

how to declutter books and magazines using the KonMari Method-- I'm totally going to do this!

How to Get a Handle on Magazine Overload

how to declutter books and magazines using the KonMari Method-- I'm totally going to do this!

Magazines are a favorite of mine. I’ve whittled down our subscriptions to just a few, but currently we have House Beautiful, Consumer Reports, and Click for Kids coming into our home monthly (but let’s be honest, also a ton of catalogs). Historically, I’ve collected them in a basket until they overflow and then get fed up and go through all of them at once. After this massive decluttering spree, I’ve now managed to get rid of the basket and follow this simple system instead:

1. Read the magazine and pull out articles/recipes/ inspiration photos as I go

2. Recycle the magazine

3. Pin the recipes or inspiration photos if available online, if not, pin to my DIY bulletin board

Here’s my stash of pulled out pages, ready to be pinned!

how to declutter books and magazines using the KonMari Method-- I'm totally going to do this!

Decluttering & Organizing Children’s Books

Now about my children’s books. Sigh.

Great advice on how to declutter books and magazines using the KonMari Method of decluttering and organizing!

Since we have a massive kid’s book collection (and my kids are still very young and truly adore each and ever book– my daughter reads about 20 a day and that’s not an exaggeration) I did theirs separately. This was painful. I actually go through it about once a month and weed out any books that fit a niche they no longer love– a certain princess or movie, for example. Here’s the criteria I used for our most recent weeding:

  • does it spark joy?
  • is the topic/ theme outdated (books about movies or characters or toys they no longer like?)
  • are they past that particular stage (ie, board books, though my kids still love most of their board books!)

As my kids get older I know I’ll be more brutal with the weeding, but at 5 and 7, I can’t seem to cut the cord. They still bring all of us LOTS of joy. So they stay.

I’m not gonna lie, this is the AFTER. She reads each and every one of these!

Great advice on how to declutter books and magazines using the KonMari Method of decluttering and organizing!

How To Discard Books

With books, there are many places to either donate or sell them. Personally, I like to pass them on to my school library. Many are underfunded and outdated, so it’s a good place to start. There are many charities looking for used kids’ books so if you wish to donate them I know they will be appreciated. If you wish to sell them, here’s a few places to try:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Facebook yard sale groups
  • Used Book Stores
  • Kids’ Consignment Sales (for kids books)

Since I’m such a rapid consumer of them, I rarely buy books anymore. Mostly I put them on reserve at the library. That way they’re free and there’s no clutter! The ones I do buy get passed along to friends. Using this system keeps clutter OUT of your home and brings gifts to others as well.

Your assignment: relentlessly weed your books this week and report back to me in the comments or on our Facebook page. πŸ™‚

Start our KonMari Method Decluttering series from the beginning!

  1. How This Little Book will Change Your Life (Plus a KonMari Method Cheat Sheet)
  2. Free Printable KonMari Decluttering Checklist
  3. 10 Steps to Declutter Your Clothing Once and For All
  4. How to Organize Your Underwear Drawer
  5. How to Declutter Books and Magazines (you are here)

next: Take Control of the Paper Monster (How to Declutter & Organize Papers)

Great advice on how to declutter books and magazines using the KonMari Method of decluttering and organizing!
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8 Comments

  1. Oh you inspire me!!! Must. Find. Time!!! I can only imagine how hard it is for your librarian soul to rid books. πŸ˜‰
    Great info, thanks!!!

  2. Carrie, I can do the magazines, I think, but my books? Also, I have transferred my obsession of books and recipes to downloading them and/or printing them and even pinning them on Pinterest to make sure I do not “loose” them. Now I have hundreds of printout to contend with. I have to declutter my home so as to bring in a lady boarder to assist me financially. I am procrastinating to the point that both my family and my Church may give up on helping me. I read that this is a psychosomatic illness that we suffer from. My books are like the children to me that I have never had. I have recently sold off most of my vinal playing records which I thought would totally destroy me but it did not. Time is of the essence so I need to do something drastic, soon. Instead I land up making Peppadew Relish and have now bought approximately 80 Jalapeno chilies to pickle and then what, sell them, give them away? I live alone and that is why I am able to “hide” my transgressions so well in the area of clutter.
    Regards, The Professional Procrastinator, Fran

    1. I hear you! I have kids, and my books are like OTHER kids that I MIGHT have had. I had to pry them out of my own hands, but when I did… bliss. πŸ˜‰ Your Peppadew Relish had me smiling though, that’s what I do with brussels sprouts– I buy a million and make them 6 ways to Sunday when I’m stressed. Think about how great you felt when you got rid of your vinyl records. Remember that feeling of being able to breathe, and the air & space you created to visually land your eyes. Hold onto that feeling, and then go for the books. Do as brutal of a cleanout as you can. Look at your results and it’s going to feel so good, you’ll want to do it again. So then do it again, right now. And again, as needed. Soon you will have JUST the core books that *truly* spark joy.

      As for the recipes, be brutally honest– will you really cook them? It will fee great just to toss the whole pile into the trash. If you really can’t bring yourself to do that, pull 10 recipes and give yourself a week to make them. If you don’t, into the trash they go. But I guarantee that tossing the entire pile in one go will help you feel like a huge weight is lifted.

      Good luck with it all!!!

  3. Even though I did this last year, it’s time to do it again — because my bedroom bookshelf looks like your “before.” :/ It doesn’t help that, now that we have our own house, mom decided to declutter HER house by giving me back all of my stuff — included 4 bags of photo albums!

    I noticed such an unburdening when I decluttered my closet — no more guilt about clothes I can’t wear — so I imagine it will feel the same with the books. Now I can’t wait to do it!

  4. My latest thing with cookbooks is to use my iPad to take a photo of recipes I would like to keep, and then store them digitally. I’m working through my books, and after capturing the pages I actually would try to cook, I take the book to a charity store.

  5. What happened to the next sections of the konmari method? How to Declutter & Organize Papers and so on? You’ve really inspired me to declarer my home and I thought reading your posts helped me in the process. I’m about to get to the paper clutter stage and really think your posts would help me keep focused and motivated…:)

    1. They are coming! We ended up selling our house, moving to a different state and building a new home so we fast-forwarded the KonMari method to declutter everything in just a few months and it was crazy (and SO worth it!) The paper decluttering is HUGE though, so we’re going to get back into it again. Sign up to get posts delivered by email so that when we start you’ll be among the first to know, I expect it to pick up again in the next few weeks after we move into our new house. πŸ™‚

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