How to Declutter Books the KonMari Way

All the book nerds in the world cringe at the advice that you should keep no more than 30 books when tidying up with the KonMari method. The fact is, books spark an immense amount of joy. They aren’t just stories. Books contain some of our best friends, amazing adventures, and worlds of exploration. Find out how to declutter books the KonMari way from a fellow bibliophile.

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Collage of Stacks of books with text overlay - How to Declutter Books the KonMari Way when You Love Books


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This is the part of the journey that I dreaded the most. I seriously love my books. None of them seemed dispensable. I’m committed to the process, however, so I gave it my level best.

As with all of the other areas of decluttering, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up tells you to find all of your books and place them in a pile. That’s what I did and it took up half of my living room. The only exception to the piled up books were the kids books. Each child made their own piles of the books that belonged to them and we went through those individually.

Admittedly, I learned that even decluttering the kids books was difficult for me. It’s so hard to see them go. These are the stories that they begged for night after night. They illicit memories of snuggling in their beds and taking them on an adventure. We persevered and got through it.


Stacks of Books next to Fireplace


Decluttering Kids Books

I believe it’s important to include your kids in this process as much as possible. For that reason, I didn’t feel comfortable going through their books and deciding for them. Instead, each child went through the house and collected all of their books. Then we put them in separate piles. Here are my tips to make it easier:

  1. Mom or Dad should sit with them to help guide them as they declutter.
  2. As with the clothes, pull out a toy or other treasure that brings your child joy. When they are having trouble deciding, let them give it a squeeze and remember the feeling.
  3. Define an area beforehand that will store the books. Let your kiddos know that everything they keep has to fit in the pre-designated spot.


Stack of Cookbooks with Fruit on top

Decluttering Cookbooks

Decluttering cookbooks was super easy for me because I use so many online recipes now. When you pile them all up, it’s easy to see the cookbooks that I bought with high hopes of trying new recipes but never got around to it. Let’s be fair, it’s so much easier to pull out my phone and look up a recipe on Pinterest than to dig through cookbooks.

When you go through yours, think about how often you actually pull out the book instead of looking up the recipe on your phone or tablet.

Some cookbooks only get used seasonally and that’s totally okay. For example, I have a cookbook that I pull out during the holidays to make all of our Christmas treats. Although I don’t really use it the rest of the year, it gets more than enough use in the months of November and December. Keep those cookbooks guilt-free.

Decluttering Manuals and Textbooks

If your husband is in a field that requires continued education, you likely have more than one textbook laying around. We even had some of my old college textbooks from 10+ years ago… for courses I completed… and got a degree. Why hold onto those items? I held onto literature anthologies, formatting handbooks, and psych textbooks for reference.

Other than my MLA formatting handbooks (which are no doubt out-of-date at this point) I’ve never looked at these since class. The same goes for a lot of my husband’s medical textbooks. He has a medical textbook for ski patrol from 6 years ago. Even he did start volunteering again, he would have to get an updated textbook to learn the most up-to-date treatments and procedures.

If this sounds familiar, these tips will help:


Role Playing Game Core Rulebook

Decluttering Game Books

We are super nerds so we also have a collection of game books. These include video game guides, role-playing game (RPG) core rule books or additions, and even card game books.

When decluttering these, automatically get rid of any game guides for games you don’t play anymore. For example, I still had the entire set of Sims 3 game guides but I only play Sims 4 now. These were an automatic toss for me.

The same goes for RPG books of games we no longer play. Sometimes you get one to try out and it doesn’t fit your style or you simply lose interest. Whatever the case, get rid of these ones.


Stacks and Stacks of Books

Piles of Books next to DVDs

Decluttering Remaining Books

This was soooo hard for me. We put all of our books on the floor and I sat down next to them and started sorting. At the end of it, I was trapped between towers of books and was attacked by a stack once but I came out alive. Luckily, I have some tips to help out all of the book lovers like me.

  1. Don’t make a decision on series until you have them all together. This is especially important if you have similar books tastes to your husband. We had multiples of the Harry Potter series because both my husband and I collected them before getting married.
  2. As with your clothes, don’t feel bad about having a maybe pile. As you go through your books it gets easier so coming back to a maybe pile is actually helpful.
  3. Always remember to think about the local library. For example, I had collected a ton of Janet Evanovich books and have still only read 1 of them. Clearly, I’m not invested in the series and it is popular enough that I can always borrow them from the library when I want to read them.
  4. Limit books that you are keeping for emotional reasons. For example, I have my grandfather’s old Purdue textbooks because they remind me of him. Instead of keeping the entire set, I chose 1 Pose and Poetry textbook with his name and note written inside. The rest, I don’t need to hold on to.


Stack of books with text overlay - How to Declutter Books the KonMari Way when You Love Books

It’s not easy to give up books when you absolutely love your books… okay, let’s be fair: You love all books. Learn how to declutter books the KonMari way even when you’re a book love with these tips. If this bibliophile can do it then you definitely can!

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